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Review by Suze
Freya used to love the sea, but an awful incident when she was still a little girl made her afraid of the water. After a long period of absence she's back with her father, Matthew, once more and has another chance to live at the Cornish coast, where she once was so happy. Matthew made a few big mistakes when Freya was younger, but he's trying to do things right this time. He works hard as a fisherman on someone else's boat to keep his father's bookshop afloat and he's living for his family. He wants Freya to have a good life and he will do everything he can to make that happen.
There are new faces in the village. Anna and her daughter Mairead have fled Ireland to start over at the place Anna's ancestors are from. Anna inherited the local pub and she's trying to make it as successful as possible. At first people are rude because they know she's keeping secrets, but when Freya needs her help Anna gives it generously without hesitation and because of this the lives of Anna and Matthew become intertwined. Will this mean there truly is a new beginning for Mairead and her mother or will the past eventually catch up with them?
Penhaligon's Attic is a beautiful story about two families with complicated histories. I loved the detailed and compassionate way Terri Nixon writes about her characters. The beginning of the twentieth century isn't an easy time to live in and through her thorough descriptions I could get a good grasp of what life was like in those days. The story has a well researched basis that's being combined with a fantastic intriguing plotline. The characters felt familiar and are easy to like. Because of that everything that happened to them kept me glued to the pages.
Terri Nixon's sentences have a nice natural flow and her writing is warm and comforting. I immediately fell in love with Penhaligon's Attic, it's a gorgeous story that effortlessly found its way to my heart. I enjoyed reading about the decisions and emotions of the characters as well as the fascinating setting. The sea brings a lot of good, but it never just gives, it also takes. The community is tight and secrets always have a way of coming out. The sea and the beach play an important part in all of them, the sea is unpredictable and it always surprises, which is perfect for a complex and interesting story.
Penhaligon's Attic has a lovely romantic ending that made me smile. The relationships in this book are complicated, but that doesn't matter when there's enough love in people's hearts. It's a great message. There's unconditional love, there's forgiveness, there are sacrifices and there are reconciliations, which all made the story riveting and compelling. I highly recommend this brilliant historical novel, it's a true gem.
Penhaligon's Attic is perfect for readers who like well researched historical fiction with an amazing setting and multilayered characters.
About Terri Nixon
Terri was born in Plymouth in 1965. At the age of 9 she moved with her family to Cornwall, to the village featured in Jamaica Inn -- North Hill -- where she discovered a love of writing that has stayed with her ever since. She also discovered apple-scrumping, and how to jump out of a hayloft without breaking any bones, but no-one's ever offered to pay her for doing those.
Since publishing in paperback for the first time in 2002, Terri has appeared in both print and online fiction collections, and is proud to have contributed to the Shirley Jackson award-nominated hardback collection: Bound for Evil, by Dead Letter Press.
As a Hybrid author, her first commercially published novel was Maid of Oaklands Manor, published by Piatkus Entice (a digital-first imprint of Little, Brown) in 2013. The paperback is published by Piatkus Books. The two further books in this series: A Rose in Flanders Fields and Daughter of Dark River Farm are published by Carina UK (a digital-first imprint of HarperCollins)
Terri's self-published Mythic Fiction series set in Cornwall, The Lynher Mill Chronicles, is available in paperback and e-book.
Terri also writes under the name T Nixon, and has contributed to anthologies under the names Terri Pine and Teresa Nixon. She is represented by the Kate Nash Literary Agency. She now lives in Plymouth with her youngest son, and works in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Plymouth University, where she is constantly baffled by the number of students who don't possess pens.
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7161840.Terri_Nixon
One very lucky winner will receive a signed copy of Penhaligon's Attic.