"Viking, North Utsira, South Utsira, Dogger, Fisher, German Bight." The exotic names of the shipping forecast--the opening words of Alan Titchmarsh's second novel--never fail to evoke an annoyingly patriotic nostalgia in Brits: no matter what else changes, their country is still an island with miserable weather.
The fictional Cornish world of Pencurnow Cove seems at first sight to be the forecast's literary equivalent: the kind of village where the landmarks (pub and post office) are populated by obligingly eccentric locals; where Loaded and FHM are sold under the counter, as overly racy; and where borderline criminals are easily identified by hints of foreignness ("Len Gryler looked as if he was of Italian ancestry") or a loud London accent ("Bladdy hell, woman"). It's the kind of world only Enid Blyton ever lived in. But Titchmarsh's nostalgic Cornwall is no life-enhancing, organic community: it serves primarily as a retreat for battered victims of the real world. Will Elliott has spent the last six years in Prince Albert Rock Lighthouse, failing to grieve for his pregnant wife, killed in a hit-and-run; Amy Finn is a one-time Ballet Rambert ballerina, felled by a knee injury and plagued by her ex-lover and dance partner. When the lighthouse closes, Will buys a motor launch and attempts to build a new life; his attraction to Amy threatens to make him face his grief. Titchmarsh seems unsure what to make of the dilemmas facing the inhabitants of Pencurnow Cove. Though mourning the passing of the lighthouses, he appears to embrace the possibilities of the new world. Following his more upbeat bestseller Mr MacGregor, The Last Lighthouse Keeper is a gentle, well-written tale, whose picturesque setting will no doubt appeal to the tourist in us all--but in the sudden, deeply-felt sufferings of its hero, there's a glimpse of something much tougher. --Alan Stewart
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Alan Titchmarsh is the author of four bestselling novels. He has been the main presenter on BBC2's GARDENER'S WORLD since 1996 and is also the main presenter on GROUND FORCE and his new series HOW TO BE A GARDENER.