Two books from the Terrible Tottering Pile (not quite so terrible now) which are Cornwall-themed, were read on the way to and in Cornwall, and were LEFT in Cornwall. It was the annual gathering of the photo-a-day group I’m in, and I and a few local friends travelled down for a long weekend, two of us on the train together. We stayed in St Austell and had a lift to and from the party from a lovely woman from the group; didn’t see much of St. Austell but it was a pleasant stay (the Whitbread Inn attached to our hotel fried everything in rapeseed oil so I could treat myself to a fish and chips dinner and two cooked breakfasts!) and a lovely party. I read the first book on the train down and at the hotel, and the second one at the hotel, finishing it in a bit of a rush as I really wanted to leave it on the book table at the party …

Samantha Tonge – “Breakfast Under a Cornish Sun”

(03 June 2017 – Oxfam Books)

Bought on my naughty trip to Oxfam last month, on purpose to read on the way to Cornwall (so it didn’t count – right??). A very light novel, even thought it tries to deal with Issues, too. Kate is trying to get over the loss of her boyfriend and grabs the chance of a Cornwall trip with her boss/friend Izzy. She’s near her Gran down there, and also thinks she has more of a chance of meeting the Ross Poldark-alike she’s rashly promised to bring to her frenemy’s upcoming wedding (also in Cornwall). But the holiday park they get a good deal on is run down and the owners sad. What can business-minded Izzy and creative Kate do to help?

There’s a nice range of characters in the book, of mixed ages and races, but I wasn’t really invested enough in Kate to catch her grief. There are a few stand-out comedy moments, or so I noted in my review done at the time,  but I’m now struggling to remember them – this could be due to my slabs of reading over the weekend, however – and I did like all the clear detail on how they tried to turn the holiday camp around, but the serious themes in these books often seem like they’re there because they are supposed to be, and while the plot did work, it was a  bit jarring between comedy and tragedy, with a bit of detecting coming in, too. It did keep me reading to the end and is a pleasant holiday read.

Liz Fenwick – “A Cornish Stranger”

(18 June 2017 – The Works)

Another naughty June purchase, this is a denser and more well-written (or should that just be literarily-written?) and complex story that would appeal to lovers of Mary Wesley and Rosamund Pilcher, although some of the content is a little stronger and more modern than either of those older writers.

When Gabe comes to Cornwall to look after her ailing grandmother Jaunty, she expects to spend her time holed up in the secluded cabin where Jaunty has lived for years, working on her jingle composing job. She doesn’t expect a handsome stranger to (literally) wash up in the creek, or for him to weave himself so tightly into their lives.

It’s a close-knit community and the writing of this part was the most attractive aspect of the book for me. Gabe can’t help but get drawn in to the community again, and maybe she’ll even sing in public again one day; they treat her music as just part of life, in the same way as her grandmother’s internationally renowned art is.

Meanwhile, Jaunty is scribbling her life story on scraps of paper – will she be able to explain everything to Gabe before it’s too late, and has she trusted her secrets to the right person? Moreover, can they both trust the stranger they saved from a sea that has taken too many others?

It’s well done, but there’s an odd obsession with one male character’s flamboyant waistcoats that seemed to go nowhere (unless he was a roman a clef character or one written in after winning a competition to be included – I didn’t get round to reading the back matter so am not sure) and was definitely odd. And I was a bit disappointed by the ending; although it tied in with aspects of Jaunty’s life herself, it seemed to let the central characters of the book down a bit. But as I say, I did read it quickly so might have missed some of the subtleties. I liked this enough that I will definitely read the other of her books I have on the Pile.

Neither of those books was a #20BooksOfSummer read, even though they were read in the summer and set in the summer. But I started Stuart Maconie’s “The Long Road from Jarrow” on the way home from Cornwall and am 75% of the way through it at the moment, and that’s Book 9 (and I believe my review of “ReWild”, Book 8, will be up on Shiny New Books this week.

How is your summer reading going? Do you like to match a book or two to your destination when you travel?