What Tracey Did Next

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WTDN: Book review - The Returning Tide by Liz Fenwick

What Tracey Did Next...Posted by WTDN Wed, March 29, 2017 15:51:07
The following is the transcript from my Sunday Girl radio show Book of the Week feature (Every Sunday 10am-12 on Siren FM 107.3)
If you would like to hear the feature please click here:


The Sunday Girl (no.176) Book of the Week (26/3/17) is the latest offering by previous Sunday Girl Author of the Week, Liz Fenwick, whose books, to date, have all been set in her beloved, contemporary Cornwall.
The Returning Tide, which was released this week (23/3/17) by Orion, is no exception.
The difference this time, is time itself, as The Returning Tide has a split timeline between the now and the second world war and is also geographically split between Cornwall, England and America.
American, Laura connects the two locations and English, Elle connects the two eras. Laura is desperately trying to unravel family secrets, while dealing with her own emotional, and practical, circumstances, and Elle is tightly holding onto her own family secrets, some that she, herself, doesn’t want to know about.
As Elle gets older, and Laura travels to Cornwall to continue her quest for knowledge, it becomes a race against time for her to persuade Elle to provide the missing pieces which could explain all.
Does she find out? You will have to read this intriguing story to find out!

Write what you know is the common mantra for writers and Liz has done just this, in her previous Cornwall-based books, as she, herself, has a home near the Helford River.
I used to live in the same village and that is why I started to read Liz’s novels. I can therefore say with absolute authority that her descriptions of the area are spot on. When someone goes sailing, or swimming, walks along a beach or goes in the local pub, Liz describes both the scenery and the atmosphere, all down to a perfect T. It was a place I loved living in and reading her novels makes me really homesick for the area – which I think says a lot about Liz’s writing.

Liz was born in Massachusetts, USA, and so the other side of the pond locations and scenes have the same validity as the Cornwall ones.
I feel that with every book that she writes, Liz grows as an Author and The Returning Tide added the extra challenge of having to research an era that she was not a part of herself. Using both archival sources and firsthand accounts, Liz has created an exemplary description of wartime life via the lives of twins Adele and Amelia.

Not all, make do and mend or dances, Liz also recreates the horrors of war – especially in one nail-biting, scene experienced by the helpless-feeling, Adele. I actually felt quite educated about some aspects of the day to day realities of living and working in the war.

I am not one for reading wartime-based books so I, initially, didn’t really fancy this latest offering and, I have to admit that the cover is a big minus point for me (sorry, Liz!) – I just wouldn’t have picked it up, if I hadn’t already enjoyed reading books from the same author. The first few books, from The Cornish House onwards, had more contemporary, cleaner, fresher covers but a contemporary-vintage cover would have appealed to me far more. But, that is the only minus point that I can come up with. It’s not even bad it’s just my personal opinion and preference and I would have missed out on reading it – which would have been a big shame. In this case don’t necessarily judge the book by its cover.

The story itself has plenty of twists and turns. I more or less worked out what some of the secrets were but that didn’t matter as I didn’t know how the story was going to unfold or what was, or wasn’t, going to be revealed.

In wartime Cornwall, 1943, a story between two sisters begins – the story of Adele and Amelia, and the heart-breaking betrayal that will divide them forever. Decades later, the effects of one reckless act still echo – but how long will it be until their past returns?

I ended up thoroughly enjoying The Returning Tide by Liz Fenwick and I couldn’t put it down. It really grabbed me and was one of those books that the characters stay with you. I have really enjoyed reading all of Liz Fenwick’s books, The Cornish House, (about artist Maddie who inherits a house in Cornwall and the ups and downs of the new life that goes along with it) A Cornish Affair (in which Jude, leaves her fiancé standing at the altar and runs away to a job in a big house in Cornwall to catalogue an extensive library of research. I adored this house and wanted Jude’s job!), A Cornish Stranger (where, Gabriella moves into a waterside cabin to help her ailing grandmother, a once celebrated artist and the stranger, of the title, who complicates things), Under A Cornish Sky (another gorgeous house that entwines the lives of the characters that it connects) and the novella, A Cornish Christmas Carol (a reimagining of a Christmas Carol, via the hardhearted, Abigail and three visitors that reveal life-changing things about her past, present and future lives.)

If you enjoy books by Rosamunde Pilcher or Kate Morton, you will enjoy these. If you love Cornwall, you will enjoy these, if you love contemporary fiction, you will enjoy these. I’m not a huge fan of romantic fiction, but if you are, you will love these. Luckily for me, Liz’s books offer far more than just a love interest element so will appeal to a wider audience – especially The Returning Tide.
All that research certainly paid off.

I have had a bit of a binge read of all these books, to catch up and I am eagerly awaiting the next one with more than a modicum of excitement to see what Liz will produce next. All of the books are standalone stories but as they are set in the same location there is the odd reference to previous characters. You wouldn’t notice that, at all, if you hadn’t read the previous books but it is a nice light touch to see what happened to some characters, further along the line. For example in The Returning Tide, there is mention of so-and-so and her husband and you think – Ooh they did get married in the end then!

You can find out all about Liz and her lovely books at her website: www.lizfenwick.com She is on Facebook: Liz Fenwick Author and on Twitter: @liz_fenwick The Returning Tide is available from good bookshops and also the usual online places such as Amazon and iTunes.

PREVIEW & BUY The Returning Tide by Liz Fenwick

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