Publisher: Orion (23 May 2013)
Running out on your wedding day never goes down well. When the pressure of her forthcoming marriage becomes too much, Jude bolts from the church, leaving a good man at the altar, her mother in a fury, and the guests with enough gossip to last a year.
Guilty and ashamed, Jude flees to Pengarrock, a crumbling cliff-top mansion in Cornwall, where she takes a job cataloguing the Trevillion family’s extensive library. The house is a welcome escape for Jude, full of history and secrets, but when its new owner arrives, it’s clear that Pengarrock is not beloved by everyone.
As Jude falls under the spell of the house, she learns of a family riddle stemming from a terrible tragedy centuries before, hinting at a lost treasure. And when Pengarrock is put up for sale, it seems that time is running out for the house and for Jude.
We begin at Jude’s wedding to John in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The wedding is everything her mother wanted and she realises just as she’s about to walk up the aisle that it’s not in fact, what she wants. Having run, on her return she overhears her parents talking and realises she will always be in her sister’s shadow.
Jude decides to leave for Oxford and godmother Barbara but is only there a short time before the job cataloguing Petroc’s copious papers in Cornwall comes her way. From this time, alongside the romance is the intrigue and the mystery of the Trevillion gems… and intrigue from the silence of her parents.
We have plenty of conflict in A Cornish Affair. Jude with her parents; between Jude/the community and Tristran on the sale of Pengarrock; between Tristran and Mark Triggs. There are some uncomfortable moments for Jude when John visits. I’m so glad she didn’t give in to sympathy! Intrigue comes from the sudden silence of Jude’s parents and this is a key to another thread in the story.
The setting is so perfect. Fenwick’s writing transported me to this Cornish land amongst these Cornish people.
Pengarrock and Manaccan enchant her, allowing her to find and be herself for the first time in her life. I love a story when our main character ‘finds’ herself and in this story we have two people who find their own way having been on a journey through those childhood scars.
The romance is perfect but what made this book a keeper for me is the underlying mystery (and the family history!) Petroc’s journals felt very real as did the appearance of the portraits and the finding of the sketch book. I loved that I had no idea how the riddle would come together!
A Cornish Affair is very different to Liz Fenwick’s debut, The Cornish House. We have a love story, conflict, family relationships and community. Add in the mix the intrigue and mystery and we have a page turner that has kept me engaged and turning those pages.
I would like to thank the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.