on 2 June 2014
A Cornish Stranger is the third novel from Liz Fenwick where once again she returns to the setting of Cornwall which played such a prominent role in her previous novels The Cornish House and A Cornish Affair. This novel tells the story of Gabe and her grandmother Jaunty. Gabe is forced to return home when her grandmother Jaunty becomes too old and frail to live alone in an isolated cabin near Frenchman’s Creek. The creek, water and various elements of nature appear to be a character all of their own in this novel and create a tense atmosphere throughout. Gabe was once a promising star in the music world with a stunning voice but something happened just as she was on the cusp of success. Something that made her abandon her career .Now instead of international success she is forced to write music for commercials to eek out some sort of living. Returning to look after her grandmother gives her a chance to reassess her life, to heal and to come to terms with where her life should go and also opens her heart up to love once again without getting hurt. In the first half of the novel Gabe is a shell of the person she once was but through a chance encounter with Max, a local man who is trying to create his own opera and Hannah a local young singer Gabe begins to relax and let music become her love and main focus again. A daring night time rescue in a dangerous storm brings Fin into Gabe’s life .His ship is wrecked in the storm and soon Jaunty invites him to stay in his cabin while his boat is being assessed by insurers. But is there more to Fin then meets the eye?
The other main character in A Cornish Stranger is Jaunty an artist who at 92 is nearing the end of her live having spent many years living in an isolated cabin painting and trying to come to terms with a major loss in her life. I have to admit the name Jaunty really bothered me at first, I didn’t really like it and it was repeated endlessly on each page but by the end of the novel the name Jaunty had taken on a great significance and I realised why the author had picked that name. The novel only really picked up halfway through(I’ve felt the same with Liz’s previous two novels) as the first half I found all over the place jumping from one period to another one character to another taking me several paragraphs to become more familiar with the setting and who was talking but then all of a sudden it would jump to another character and era. Jaunty is old and writing a diary which she wants Gabe to read upon her death which will explain everything in her past and how she came to live such a reclusive life on Frenchman’s Creek and why. I can understand that a 92 year old woman would have difficulty writing a diary and gathering her thoughts into one piece but it was very disruptive flitting from one minute to wartime Paris then several years back to Jaunty’s pre-war life in England. I love time slip novels but feel it’s much better when whole sections are devoted to the past and not every few paragraphs. Lucinda Riley, Rache Hore and Kate Morton do this so well to name but a few. In this book I felt I was only getting used to Jaunty telling her story and then it was back to present day .It didn’t help the first half of the book to flow well it was quite disjointed but in part two the story came together much more and I raced through a satisfying conclusion in the end.
When we learn about Jaunty’s lost love and the sacrifice she had to make during the war we come to understand what she gave up for love but ultimately suffered a huge loss. When Gabe rescues Fin on the night of the storm little does she know that he will change her life forever and ultimately help her to heal and overcome the awful event she experienced in her past. Fin was a great male character strong, determined, kind and a man any woman would love to have as her support system and shoulder to cry on. Towards the end of the book Fin’s true character is revealed and he helps Gabe come to terms with the loss of Jaunty and to resolve the secret Jaunty has left behind. I don’t want to reveal too much of Jaunty’s secret but the I have to say the twist towards the end of the book made the earlier parts of Jaunty’s story much more clear. The end of the novel wraps up nicely and every character gets the ending they deserve. I did enjoy A Cornish Stranger, it wasn’t my favourite Liz Fenwick book but I’ll still be looking out for her next release.
Jaunty is ninety-two years old and she's getting frail. Because she wants to keep an eye on her grandmother Gabe moves back into Jaunty's beautiful, but remote cabin near the water. Jaunty has raised her granddaughter after both of her parents passed away. Gabe loves Frenchman's Creek and she's had a happy childhood there. Jaunty lives a secluded life, she barely leaves her home. She's a well known artist and has a beautiful studio. Unfortunately Jaunty doesn't use it anymore. Gabe could now use the space for her music, but she's worried about her grandmother who always loved to paint. Gabe wanted to be an opera singer, but things didn't work out, so she composes tunes for commercials for a living and the studio is the perfect place for her piano.
When a gorgeous stranger is drowning in the water of the creek one night during a storm Gabe doesn't hesitate. She jumps in, fights the strong current and rescues him from drowning in the cold seawater. As his boat has been damaged by the bad weather the stranger, whose name is Fin, now doesn't have a place to stay. Jaunty, who never lets anyone in, offers him her studio straight away. Who is this handsome stranger? And why does Jaunty like him so much that she gives him a place to stay just moments after meeting him?
Both Gabe and Jaunty have their secrets. Gabe has changed, she was a rising star in the opera world, but she's stopped singing because of something traumatic. Her grandmother has no idea what happened to her. Jaunty wants to write down the story of her past for her granddaughter, so Gabe knows more about her history and who she is. The cabin is a house filled with love and mystery. Gabe and Jaunty are wonderful women and I immediately loved this book because of them. I wanted them to find peace and to be happy. They each have to fight the demons of their past and I loved the way Liz Fenwick has described that process.
The beautiful, secluded cabin is such a wonderful setting. Because Liz Fenwick is great at descriptions I could visualize it straight away. I loved the way she made the story come to life. The main characters felt so real that I had the idea I was in the cottage with them. It was like I could touch the paintings, jump into the water and see the stunning views. The vivid descriptions combined with a strong story make this novel such a perfect read. A Cornish Stranger is a fantastic book filled with mysteries, secrets, handsome men and love. It's an excellent summer read and I highly recommend it.
Gabriella Blythe was very close to her paternal grandmother, who cared for her after her father’s death on an oilrig. He had been widowed since her birth. So when her grandmother became too frail to live alone, Gabriella was keen to move in to her riverside cabin and care for her.
Jaunty, her ninety-two year old grandmother has felt the urgency to put her affairs straight for a while and is in the process of leaving lifelong secrets written in her journal for Gabriella to read upon her death. She has resolved to tell the truth of her life, so that Gabriella can move on and rebuild her life after a terrible incident in her past.
One night a devastating storm hits Frenchman’s Creek and casts free a boat owned by Fin, a charismatic stranger who had asked permission to use their moorings. Stranded until his boat has been cleared for repair by his Insurance Company, Fin gratefully accepts Jaunty’s generous offer of the temporary use of her artist’s studio. Jaunty is mesmerised by Fin and confides about her journal to him, urging him to support Gabriella after her death.
But who is this mysterious stranger? Is it just a coincidence that he has turned up at the cabin? In the wake of Jaunty’s death a series of revelations about Jaunty’s past appear in the National newspaper and Gabriella’s life is rocked. At an all time low, and with Fin in London, she does not know whom to trust. Is there any truth in the old Cornish saying: 'Save a stranger from the sea, he'll turn your enemy', or has Jaunty made a wise choice in confiding in Fin in her final days.
This novel is warm and captivating, tracing Jaunty’s life of privilege and putting into context her dilemma when the war separated her from her family, her friends and the love of her life. It’s a novel about friendship, loyalty, intrigue, identity and betrayal. It’s a cracking story set in an idyllic riverside setting in Cornwall. I really enjoyed reading it.
on 22 September 2015
Liz Fenwick always manages to capture the magical atmosphere that is Cornwall and this book is no exception. From the early morning mists to the mud flats of Frenchman's Creek, it's all there. When singer/musician Gabrielle returns to Cornwall to look after her frail grandmother, she at first shies away from the stranger, Fin, whom she has rescued from the sea when his boat is damaged in a storm. Then, as Fin draws closer to her grandmother, she begins to accept, then depend upon his presence. After her grandmother's death, an art fraud involving her is revealed and Gabe believes that Fin is the culprit. As in all good romance tales, Gabe and Fin's problems are resolved. Another beautiful, multi-layered story from the talented pen of Ms Fenwick.
on 2 December 2014
A moving story with a dark secret at its core. Gabriella returns to Cornwall to care for her ailing grandmother Jaunty and to recover from a traumatic experience. Jaunty knows she doesn’t have much time left and decides to write an account of her life for Gabe to read after her death. Enter the mysterious stranger, Fin, to throw a spanner in the works… or not.
What I always enjoy about Liz Fenwick’s books is her beautiful descriptive prose, with Cornwall playing a central role and almost becoming a character in its own right. It's quite unique.
on 3 February 2015
Having read all three books in the series,it is refreshing to feel part of the protagonist's life, recognizing character names from the other books.
Fenwick has captured the mystery of Cornwall across her books, painting such an atmospheric picture that I'm sure would make Jaunty Blythe proud.
Eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.
on 4 April 2016
This is my first book by Liz Fenwick and it certainly won't be my last. She totally captured me with her descriptive style and complex characters. I thought A Cornish Stranger would be a light read to take my mind off for a couple of days but it couldn't be further from the truth, once I started reading, I couldn't stop. Liz created such an intricate story with so many secrets that I just wanted to know more.
The story centers around Gabriella, a talented opera singer that has decided, for some reason, to forget all about opera and focus on writing jingles. When we meet her, she has decided to move to Cornwall to be with her grandmother, who at ninety something is not as fit as she used to be. Both women hide their own secrets but when a gorgeous stranger enters their lives, everything changes. Ready or not, their time is running out and they have to face some truths to be able to move on.
Gabe was a really interesting character to read but the one who stole the show for me was her grandmother, Jaunty, a real survivor. As we learned more about her life, I could only wonder at what she had done and how she had fought to have the life she had. I certainly didn't expect at all some the secrets she finally unraveled. What a woman. I couldn't stop shading a tear or two reading about her.
I also enjoyed a lot learning more about the gorgeous stranger named Finn. It was clear from the beginning that he also had a fair share of secrets of his own and also had some kind of link with Jaunty and Gabe. But he slowly stole their hearts and mine too.
All in all A Cornish Stranger was a fascinating read in a stunning setting. I've never been to Cornwall but with Liz's descriptions I could easily picture the atmospheric scenario and how it was such an important part of the story. This is certainly a book I would recommend to all readers as it has something for everyone, family, friendship, love, secrets, mystery, war tales, art, great settings... and the list could go on and on.
on 22 September 2015
Wow, where do I start with A Cornish Stranger?
“Save a stranger from the sea, and he’ll turn your enemy.”
Liz Fenwick’s third novel has a somewhat different feel to her previous two. The Cornish House and A Cornish Affair have a very rich and almost magical Cornish feel to them. Although A Cornish Stranger is mostly set in beautiful Cornwall, it is a heavier read, due to some of the subject matter, has more depth, and an overall darker feel to it than her previous novels.
Jaunty is a woman and artist in her nineties, living on her own in Cornwall, until her granddaughter, Gabriella (Gabe), who is a singer lacking confidence, moves in to help look after her.
This story takes you in to the past, where you will learn about the dark secrets, guilt and regrets that have haunted Jaunty for many years, especially during the time of the Second World War. At the same time, in the present-day, a handsome stranger suddenly appears in a storm. What impact will this stranger have on Jaunty and Gabriella? You’ll have to read this book to find out.
The characters in this book feel very real, especially Jaunty, making it an emotional read at times. At one point I was so shocked, I actually gasped out loud. On a lighter note, it was fun spotting characters from her previous novels, plus there was even mention of fairies, which made me happy.
This is a great read for those who love mystery and romance set in the captivating surroundings of Cornwall.
I can’t wait to read Under a Cornish Sky, and looking forward to the work in progress.
A Cornish Stranger is a tale of secrets that are carried over years.
I actually won a copy of this book in a give away on someone's blog, though at some point I would have given this authors book a whirl as have heard so many great things about them.
The main characters Jaunty and Gabe (Gabriella) are both wonderful characters that both carry secrets that in their own way are shocking.
After years of keeping their secrets very much to themselves, it takes the presence of stranger Finn to unravel the secrets of these two intriguing women.
The Cornwall setting and the descriptions by the author are just wonderful and I really could picture myself in the scenery that is wonderfully described. At the back of the book there is photos of the actual places and the scenery that the author used for her story and I have to say, I REALLY want to move to Cornwall after reading this book.
The story is very gently told by the author and has the reader wanting to know what the secrets are that the two characters hold. I have to admit the book's pace is a lot slower than I am used to, especially after all the crime and thriller books I usually read. Whilst it didn't 'knock my socks off' it was still very much an enjoyable read and an author I would certainly read again.
Jaunty is reaching the end of her days. She has spent it tucked away from the sight living an almost reclusive life near Frenchman's Creek. The local Cornish community are protective of Jaunty, because once she was famous. In fact her artwork still is.
Gabe, Jaunty's granddaughter has come to nurse her and at the same time nurse her own ills. Gabe thinks that the reclusive life in this cabin tucked away may be the tonic she needs to find out more about herself.
Reunited, Gabe and Jaunty have a rather odd existence, but one that seems to work. There is trouble brewing and more so in the weather when a violent storm one night, drives Gabe from her bed and to rescue a stranger.
That stranger is Fin. Is he hiding or looking for something?
The storm is far from over, it is merely bubbling away, "....playing havoc with her equilibrium...." .
There are secrets that are being kept and as the book progresses we are taken back to another time, to another place, and as we learn about Jaunty, Gabe and in a way Fin. We come to understand the setting, the place and the atmosphere of this life in Cornwall.
What makes this book stand out for others that I have read, that use a dual narrative and secrets as part of their plot is the rich descriptive passages that Liz Fenwick gives us the reader. I was in the storm, I felt the water, I could immerse myself in the isolation of the cabin and hold onto a past life.
Clearly there is an influence from the likes of Du Maurier in her writing and other authors who have based their work in Cornwall. But that does not detract from Fenwick's storytelling it merely enhances the enjoyment and I was transported away.