Friday, January 15, 2021

Review: Beneath Cornish Skies

Title: Beneath Cornish Skies
Author: Kate Ryder

Publisher: 7th January 2021 by Aria & Aries

Pages: 416 pages

How I Read It: ARC book

Genre: women’s fiction, contemporary, romance

My Rating: 3 cups


To an outsider, Cassandra Shaw's life looks perfect. She lives in a beautiful, luxurious house in the English countryside, with a handsome, wealthy boyfriend who insists she needn't do a days' work in her life. But Cassie knows that something is not right. Her boyfriend has grown colder, treating her more like a housekeeper than a future wife. And her time feels empty and purposeless.

Cassandra has always been riddled with insecurities and self-doubt, but, just for once, she decides to take a chance on a new beginning. She answers an advert for a live-in nanny, dogwalker, cook and all-round 'Superhuman' for a family living in a rambling manor house on the rugged North Cornish coast. The work is hard and tiring, but Cassie has never felt so fulfilled.

As Cassie learns to connect with the natural beauty unfolding around her, Cornwall starts to offer up its secrets. Soon, Cassie starts wondering if she was drawn to this isolated part of the coast for a reason. Why was she guided to Foxcombe Manor? What are the flashes of light she sees in the valley? Is it her imagination or does someone brush past her? And who is the mysterious man living deep in the woods?

A beautiful romance with a hint of ghostliness, Beneath Cornish Skies is for anyone who has ever longed to start their lives again.

My Thoughts

‘What is important is being true to yourself and not living life on someone else’s terms. We’re stronger than we know.’

Everyone dreams of escaping to Cornwall and that was what initially attracted me to this book. However, I would appear to be very much in the minority with my opinion of this book. Don’t get my wrong, it is a good read, but not at the level that many other reviewers have it at and I’m not sure why. 

I did enjoy my escape to Cornwall - rich in history and dramatic vistas - it just has that certain vibe. There are wonderful descriptions and a lot of research has been undertaken by the author. A lot of research and herein lies my first issue - there are some major information dumps and I just don’t go for that in a fictional read. I think the author even acknowledges this at one stage when she writes a character saying, ‘... he gives me a sheepish smile. ‘Let me know if this is information overload.’ Yes! I want to say, it is! So if a short history of the area appeals to you then you will enjoy the added details.

‘... also assist coastal protection by dissipating wave energy, capturing sediments and nutrients, and providing a carbon sink. Care for these marine plants is essential for our wellbeing and that of our planet.’ 

Secondly I appreciate the main character's journey of growth and self discovery, however, I have to embrace my inner prude and state that the romance where both parties were married, albeit unhappily, did not make for comfortable/enjoyable reading. Yet once again, if you are in the space to read of a woman and man both breaking free of restrictive relationships then you will relate to the story.

Finally there is the supernatural element ... meh. I did not find it strong or relevant enough for my liking. I understand that given the rich history of an area such as Cornwall, there are sure to be a few ghosts but having it in the background of an already full plot just did not work for me. So all up this is a nice bit of escapism, I mean we would all rather be walking along the Cornish coast with a nice looking man on the cusp of commencing a new start to life. 

‘Cornwall attracts many a soul with baggage, but it welcomes us all and makes no judgement on the flotsam and jetsam that end up on its shores.’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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