June 20, 2018

Under A Cornish Sky By Liz Fenwick

Locations: London and Falmouth

My Mum passed “Under A Cornish Sky” onto me a few weeks ago, saying how it was a really good Sunday afternoon read.

I’ll be honest, not all books my Mum passes on to me are my cup of tea. I was prepared not to get on with it. She does tend to go for historical bodice rippers and Jilly Cooper. But actually I really did enjoy it. I enjoyed it in an easy read type of way. In fact, I read a lot of it in one go, wallowing in the bath with a glass of wine. It is that type of book.

It is the story of a twenty-something girl called Demelza (Demi), who, rather irritatingly, is tiny, big boobed and beautiful. Her Mum has just died, she has just lost out on a job she wanted, and her boyfriend has turned out to be a bit of a sleazeball. She makes a run for it from London to Cornwall. Her Grandfather lives in Falmouth and takes her in. From him, she finds out that her Father isn’t dead (which she had believed all her life) and was in fact living nearby.

The story then turns into a bit of an unbelievable rags to riches story which did begin to annoy me. Everyone in it was either incredibly beautiful, and/or incredibly wealthy. I’m talking millions! There was no frumpy, middle aged Mum shopping in Lidl for fish fingers. Even the token nod to frumpyness, in the form of a best friend and mother of 4, had a husband who was a top neurologist and lived in a well appointed house in Fulham.

However, behind the verging on the impossible storyline, the Liz Fenwick paints a beautiful picture of Cornwall. Okay, lots of it, including the weather (blisteringly hot, long Summers in Cornwall?) is idealised. But her descriptions of the woods, the gardens, the coastline. Parties on a beach. Skinny dipping in the river. Stunning Agapanthus. And the weirdness of the old Cornish standing stones. It made it for a very atmospheric, readable book. It conjured up rose-tinted memories of Summer holidays spent in Cornwall when I was younger.

I did enjoy lots about the character Victoria, the villian protagonist in the story. I liked her edgy, spikyness and her obsession with the house and gardens. It was really refreshing to have a woman in her 60s portrayed as beautiful and sexy, even if it was a little bit creepy the way she hit on much younger men. However, I didn’t feel the way things panned out with her and Demi rang true. It was too much of a personality switch to be believable.

The ending in general I felt was a of a rush to tie up loose ends. Everything suddenly came good in an abundance of cliches. Love blossomed left, right and centre, the evil Victoria softened and became kind and compassionate. Even the previously borderline abusive ex-boyfriend just agreed to go away and leave Demi alone.

I read the whole book in a couple of evenings. It was the sort of book that really relaxes you. It was easy to keep falling back into their world and let their wealth, beauty and the Cornish landscape in bright sunshine wash over me.

This was the first book I’ve read by Liz Fenwick. It has certainly made me want to read more. I hope some of her other books are a bit more realistic though, especially in terms of her character’s beauty and riches! More average Joe’s please, we can be found living interesting lives, rambling along the beautiful Cornish coast!

Under A Cornish Sky costs £7.99 from Amazon.

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