Tremarnock is a classic Cornish seaside village. Houses cluster around the fishing harbour. It has a pub and a sought-after little restaurant. It is here that Liz has found sanctuary for herself and her young daughter, Rosie - far away from Rosie's cheating father.
Liz works all the hours God sends. First thing in the morning she's out, cleaning offices. At night she is waitressing in the village restaurant, while friends and neighbours rally round and mind Rosie. But trouble is waiting just round the corner.
As with all villages, there are tensions, secrets - and ambitions. Emma Burstall's wonderfully engaging first novel about Tremarnock is the story of what happens when one shocking turn of events sweeps a small community.
Kathryn - 4.5 Star
Emma Burstall’s storytelling instantly transported me to Cornwall and the coastal village of Tremarnock -I was immediately ensconced in the character of Liz and her daughter Rosie. The story was compelling and became more heart-wrenching than I’d been expecting part way through. It reminded me of a cross between Maeve Binchy (because of the inter-weaving lives of the locals) and Jill Mansell (because of the personalities of the characters). Their lives were full of hard work and some tests and trials but I wasn’t expecting the terror Liz went through regarding Rosie’s medical condition and found myself reading late into the night more than once so I could reach a point where I could relax.
Liz was honest, true and someone I would have liked to have met and Burstall also portrayed Rosie with an uncanny ability to create a child who was both modern and old-fashioned. I think growing up in a village can make you either value the older customs or rebel and you could tell that Liz and Rosie’s bond was unbreakable, that they only needed each other and the outside world held very little influence.
There are many lovely characters in Tremarnock- fans of Binchy and Mansell will appreciate them and their quirky nuances. I just loved that they all rallied around each other for support, love and even child-care. It feels like this is a concept from a by-gone era but I certainly hope it isn’t and that places with this much community spirit still exist.
My only quibble was with Rosie’s father and grandfather- I know it helped the story along to have them be distant in Rosie’s life but I felt as if they either should have been “gone” completely or more involved. It seems so bizarre to me that Rosie’s dad ends up having another child but there’s no connection for Rosie to make with him or the baby? It didn’t sit quite right with me but that was the only thing that left me questioning the plot and I will be looking out for Emma Burstall's next novel.
Thank you to the author for our review copy. All opinions are our own.
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