Tremarnock: The Lives, Loves and Secrets of a Cornish Village by Emma Burstall

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Tremarnock: The Lives, Loves and Secrets of a Cornish Village by Emma Burstall

Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Louise Jones
Reviewed by Louise Jones
Summary: Liz and Rosie love their life in the close-knit community of Tremarnock. But when the family face a life-changing crisis, they will need their friends and neighbours more than ever before.
Buy? yes Borrow? yes
Pages: 352 Date: October 2015
Publisher: Head of Zeus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781781857885

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Welcome to Tremarnock, an idyllic Cornish fishing village with pastel-painted cottages and colourful fishing boats bobbing in the harbour. This picture-postcard setting is home to single-mum Liz and her disabled daughter, Rosie. Liz works hard to make ends meet and relies on the kindness of neighbours for childcare. Thankfully, the community are happy to rally round and provide friendship, support, a listening ear and a cup of tea for hard-working Liz. Soon she will need to rely on them more than ever, as her life takes an unexpected turn that threatens to destroy her happiness.

In Tremarnock Burstall has created a little sanctuary, which will have readers eager to book a Cornish holiday as soon as possible. Primarily, however, this is a story about people rather than places. Liz is incredibly lucky to have a network of support from her kind neighbours and workmates. It's a little snapshot of how life used to be and testimony to the virtues of a close-knit community.

Liz may be the protagonist, but the real star of the book is her daughter Rosie. Rosie has cerebral palsy, which has left her with weakness on one side of her body and a 'tricky' arm and leg. Despite enduring bullying at school and struggling with everyday activities, Rosie maintains an optimistic spirit which enchants all who meet her. The relationship between Rosie and her mother is tenderly and beautifully written; we feel the strong connection between the pair and share their happiness, sorrow and tears.

The story wouldn't be complete without a little romance and the love story in this book was an absolute delight. Burstall moves away from the stereotypical male lead; ours is insecure, eccentric and quirky and although it isn't expressly stated, he shows many of the traits of Asperger's syndrome. As the mother of a child with autism, I found this approach refreshing and it was enjoyable to see someone 'on the spectrum' holding down a successful career and managing to romance the girl of his dreams too.

The only problem I had with the book was that there were far too many characters, with many introduced in quick succession in the early chapters. We meet Liz's neighbours, family, workmates, casual acquaintances, as several of their extended family members and it can feel overwhelming. Some of the characters only made a fleeting appearance and were never mentioned again, so I questioned whether they really added anything to the story. I'd have preferred a much smaller cast, as I felt like I needed a notebook at one point to keep track of everyone. However, I do understand that Tremarnock is part of a trilogy, so it may be that some of these minor players have their own story to tell at a later point.

Tremarnock is a heart-warming, 'feel-good' novel that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. I can't wait for the next book in the series so that I can return. Many thanks to the publishers for my review copy.

Can't get enough of Cornwall? Try the excellent The Sea Between Us by Emylia Hall.

Buy Tremarnock: The Lives, Loves and Secrets of a Cornish Village by Emma Burstall at Amazon You could get a free audio download of Tremarnock: The Lives, Loves and Secrets of a Cornish Village by Emma Burstall with a 30-day Audible free trial at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Tremarnock: The Lives, Loves and Secrets of a Cornish Village by Emma Burstall at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Tremarnock: The Lives, Loves and Secrets of a Cornish Village by Emma Burstall at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Tremarnock: The Lives, Loves and Secrets of a Cornish Village by Emma Burstall at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Tremarnock: The Lives, Loves and Secrets of a Cornish Village by Emma Burstall at Amazon.com.


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