The Cornish House
By Liz Fenwick
I’ve been looking forward to reading this book for ages, partly because I know Liz, and hearing her talk about the book is inspirational, and partly because it’s such a fantastic story.
‘The Cornish House’ follows the story of Maddie as, following the death of her husband, she moves to Cornwall with her stepdaughter, Hannah, and tries to rebuild her life.
It’s a fabulous book for a number of reasons. Firstly, the characters all feel like old friends as soon as you meet them. The story revolves around Maddie and Hannah, but all the personalities that surround them are equally engaging. I particularly liked Tom, the elderly man who becomes very important to Hannah.
Secondly, as well as the human characters, there are two other important stars of the novel. One is the Cornish house itself – Trevenen. Central to the story, the house casts its spell over both Maddie and Hannah and is instrumental in everything that happens. The other is the Cornish setting. Liz Fenwick’s love of Cornwall comes through really strongly in the story giving it a strong sense of place and also of history.
The story is told partly through Maddie’s eyes and partly through Hannah’s. This device works well and allows the reader to empathise fully with both characters, even when they are at loggerheads with each other.
This is a great novel and I found that my desire to know what happened to Maddie and Hannah kept me turning the pages long after I should have gone to sleep each night.
It’s a touching story, sensitively told and ultimately leaves the reader with a feeling of having followed the characters through a life-changing time, and experienced with them all the highs and lows tied up with that. A brilliant read, and I can’t wait to read Liz’s next book.
Reviewed by Helen M Hunt