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Zennor in Darkness

Zennor in Darkness [Kindle Edition]

Helen Dunmore
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'Highly original and beautifully written' Sunday Telegraph

'Helen Dunmore mesmerizes you with her magical pen' Daily Mail

Product Description

In her prize-winning first novel, Zennor in Darkness, Helen Dunmore reimagines the plight of D.H. Lawrence and his German wife hiding out in Cornwall during the First World War.

Spring, 1917, and war haunts the Cornish coastal village of Zennor: ships are being sunk by U-boats, strangers are treated with suspicion, and newspapers are full of spy stories.

Into this turmoil come D. H Lawrence and his German wife, Frieda hoping to escape the war-fever that grips London. They befriend Clare Coyne, a young artist struggling to console her beloved cousin, John William, who is on leave from the trenches and suffering from shell-shock.

Yet the dark tide of gossip and innuendo means that Zennor is neither a place of recovery nor of escape . . .

'Helen Dunmore mesmerizes you with her magical pen' Daily Mail

'A beautiful and inspired novel' John le Carré

'Secrets, unspoken words, lies that have the truth wrapped up in them somewhere make Dunmore's stories ripple with menace and suspense' Sunday Times

Helen Dunmore has published eleven novels with Penguin: Zennor in Darkness, which won the McKitterick Prize; Burning Bright; A Spell of Winter, which won the Orange Prize; Talking to the Dead; Your Blue-Eyed Boy; With Your Crooked Heart; The Siege, which was shortlisted for the 2001 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award and for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2002; Mourning Ruby; House of Orphans; Counting the Stars and The Betrayal, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010. She is also a poet, children's novelist and short-story writer.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1476 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (25 Oct 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141033606
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141033600
  • ASIN: B002RUA4ZM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #31,047 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful writing 14 Feb 2009
This tender, moving, profound book really gets into the minds of young people growing up in the First World War, and the magic and sorrow of first love. It is very atmospheric and profound. The insular feel of a small remote Cornish village at that time, with its inevitable suspicion and mistrust of the unfamiliar and foreign, is very well captured. I have read it three times and got more from it each time. A truly beautiful and atmospheric book with great depth.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Impressive Debut 6 Sep 2011
By Kate Hopkins TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Helen Dunmore tends to alternate between contemporary and historical fiction. This, her first novel, is in the historical genre, mixing real events and people (the writer D.H. Lawrence and his wife Frieda, and their short stay at Zennor during World War I) with a completely fictional story, of Clare Coyne, daughter of a poor but aristocratic Catholic father and a working-class Cornish mother, and her love for her cousin John William, a working-class Cornish boy who longs to become a doctor, but becomes badly shell-shocked after terrible experiences at the Front. John William returns to his home at St Ives for a brief period of leave, and it is then that Clare realizes how strong her feelings are for him. But in wartime, no lovers are entirely safe...

This is a remarkably impressive first novel. Dunmore fits the Lawrences into her story very well, and brings them both vividly to life, with none of the awkwardness one often gets when writing about 'real' characters in novels (though Lawrence and Frieda both come across as slightly nicer than I think they may have been in real life; at least if Katherine Mansfield's account of their time in Cornwall is anything to go by). Clare Coyne is a most appealing heroine and Dunmore depicts her situation, caught between the cosy but sometimes prosaic life of her maternal relatives, and the academic abstractions of her father's life, very well. Her rapidly developing love for her cousin is also extremely convincing. The descriptions of Cornwall are beautiful (and, having been several times to that part of the world, I can safely say they are accurate). While there are the occasional lapses from the very high quality of much of this writing (I never quite believed in the scandal the villagers were trying to create about Clare and D.H. Lawrence, for example, and could have done with a little more information on how Clare's father Francis and Clare's mother got together) this is in many ways a deeply satisfying book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Landscape of change 22 Feb 2010
Deft depiction of an insular, remote community as seen through the eyes of characters who are questioning their roles in an ultimately permanently changed landscape. The backdrop of WWI only heightens the paranoia and xenophobia in Zennor. The main characters also serve as a poignant illustration of all that is lost to the Great War: their vibrancy and closeness to this coastal, rustic way of life acts as a startling counterpoint to its implied horrors.
I found the inclusion of Lawrence and his wife added depth to this overall picture too, but it never dominated the novel. Clare carries the main focus throughout, and leaves us with a sense of the future, and hope, despite all the tragedy. And I particularly liked the depiction of Clare's father who seems to undergo the most moving awakening towards the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth persevering 10 May 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this book a little slow to start, ended up loving it and read it about 3 times.

The story has various threads, different writing styles and it all ends up being very poignant and interesting.

A great book and l would definitely recommend it
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zennor in Darkness 12 Feb 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is another masterly work by Helen Dunmore (The Siege etc) Set in WWI it brings the writer DH Lawrence into the narrative. It is a rites of passage of three girls in the village/town of the title.It brings in first love,loss,ambition and small town suspicion and bigotry. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars different view of life during WW1 21 Feb 2014
By ginny
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
the story line and characters were very real. Also the descriptions of Cornwall were great as I know
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful 4 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was my first Helen Dunmore novel I love Zennor so the title attracted me. I'm so glad that it did I have not been disappointed in any Helen Dunmore book. I read it when it was first published but I loaned it to someone who failed to return it so I bought years later and read it again its beautiful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read 25 Jun 2013
By carol
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Beautifully written book with wonderful descriptions. Surprising to find much of the story is true. Helen Dunmore has a lovely way with the English language
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars an intrusion and didn't like the novel ending in his viewpoint
I adored the story of the family in this novel but found the real life character, D H Lawrence, an intrusion and didn't like the novel ending in his viewpoint. Read more
Published 2 months ago by N. J. Ringrose
4.0 out of 5 stars Light shed
Having read Helen Dunmore's spare and brilliant novel "Lies" focused on a shell-shocked young Cornishman in the aftermath of World War 1, I was interested in comparing it with her... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Antenna
4.0 out of 5 stars good book
Helen Dunmore creates a very good sense of time and place. some of her characters needed 'fleshing out' a bit but for the most part a well written, engaging book that puts you into... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Inky
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite books
Have just bought this as a gift for friend. I recently chose it to take to a creative writing class as an example of how I wish I could write. Read more
Published 19 months ago by serpentine
4.0 out of 5 stars Helen Dumore
ought and read in St Ives last November (we went out of season specifically to see Eden in Autumn and Winter colours), Dunmore is excellent and this is a well constructed story by... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Victoria
4.0 out of 5 stars Faction?
This story was a real page turner. The way Helen Dunmore moved the story about in time was a fascinating device that kept me guessing. Read more
Published on 13 Sep 2012 by Viv
2.0 out of 5 stars Overrated
A visit to St Ives and the surrounding area had introduced me to Zennor and the connections of the place with D H Lawrence. Read more
Published on 5 April 2012 by Discerning Reader
3.0 out of 5 stars Darkness in the soul
This story is set in 1917, the war is ravaging across the water in France but in a part of Cornwall, the effects of it are far-reaching. Read more
Published on 13 Feb 2012 by Jo D'Arcy
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