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Friday, June 15, 2018

One Cornish Summer by Liz Fenwick - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Hebe is only in her early fifties when she receives devastating news about her health. Her mind was once her best friend, but now she's constantly forgetting things, until she will even lose what's most important to her. Hebe has lived and loved, but there's one thing she wants to do before her brain will fail her completely, she wants to return to Helwyn House in Cornwall. The house that brought her so much, it's time for Hebe to make her biggest wish come true.

A scandal is making it hard for Lucy to live a peaceful life in London. That's why helping her aunt Hebe with her mission in Cornwall isn't such a bad plan. Lucy loves Hebe, but she isn't particularly excited about Hebe's return to Helwyn House. For Lucy the place is filled with bad memories and she doesn't understand her aunt's fascination with it. However, Hebe is family and Lucy will do anything for her. Especially now that something seems to be wrong with her aunt. Hebe and Lucy are close, how will spending their time together affect both women and what will happen when family secrets come to light?

One Cornish Summer is a beautiful story about family, history, secrets and love. Hebe is a kindhearted woman. She's incredibly intelligent and because of this she managed to hide her illness for a long time. I loved her brilliance and even though her mind is fading Hebe remains a remarkable woman with a sparkling personality. She's very fond of Lucy. Lucy has been through a lot and this has made her bitter when it comes to love. She doesn't believe in happily ever afters and thinks she'll have to make it on her own. While spending time with Hebe she learns that meeting the right person can make a huge difference and that love is something to cherish. I loved the connection between the women and enjoyed every single word of wisdom, life lesson and meaningful conversation between them. Liz Fenwick balances this with fun and endearing moments and this gives the story an amazing heartwarming charm.

Liz Fenwick knows a lot about old houses and history. It's something I greatly admire about her stories. She always manages to take me back in time and show me a different way of life. She effortlessly switches between the past and the present. Because of Hebe's interest in Helwyn House and its inhabitants it felt completely natural to take a look at the past. Liz Fenwick has chosen fascinating main characters for her story. She alternates between Hebe and Lucy and I equally liked each voice. I was impressed by how she expresses Hebe's memory problems, they seem believable and realistic, while she still manages to keep the mystery around this mesmerizing woman. One Cornish Summer is a compelling story filled with surprising twists and turns. I absolutely loved this fantastic book.


If you love stories about old houses, secrets, scandals true love and family you don't want to miss One Cornish Summer.

About Liz Fenwick

I was born in Massachusetts and after nine international moves - the final one lasting eight years in Dubai- I now live in Cornwall and London with my husband and a cat. I made my first trip to Cornwall in 1989, bought my home there seven years later. My heart is forever in Cornwall, creating new stories.

My debut novel THE CORNISH HOUSE was followed by A CORNISH AFFAIR, A CORNISH STRANGER and UNDER A CORNISH SKY. All published by Orion in English. There are editions in Dutch, German, Portuguese, French, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Estonian, Latvian, Turkish, Serbian, Czech and soon Hungarian. My latest novel is THE RETURNING TIDE.


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1)Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself? 

I’m originally from the States but I now call Cornwall my home where I live with my husband and a fluffy black cat who rules the roost. I’ve lived in six different countries and became an expert at being an expat and wrangling my three kids all over the world.

2) You love writing about houses with history, where does this love come from? 

I’m visiting my mother in Florida this week and we were reminiscing about Cape Cod. And I thought about your question. I think my fascination with big old house came from one that sat above the Centerville River and was mostly hidden by trees. All that was visible was the red tiled roof. My summer best friend and would challenge me to go past the private signs and see what was there. Only once did we venture past the signs and looked at the house. No one was there and we walked around the building. It was huge and that short sighting gave my imagination more detail to play with. For years I dreamed of the house and wondered who owned it and why they didn’t use it much. I created stories in my mind about it. Years later the house was sold then opened for charity and I was finally able to walk through. It was magic and that house has always stayed with me.

3) Can you give a bit more information about Helwyn House, is it based on a real place and where did your inspiration for this intriguing setting come from? 

Helwyn House is based on Godolphin House in Cornwall. It is one of the most fascinating houses in the Duchy. It is now owned by the National Trust, but the first time I visited it was in private hands when it was a heavy task for the owner to keep the house dry and the walls from crumbling. She had done everything to try and preserve the house and its history. So I used my memories of those first visits along with the ones I made while I stayed in the house for a week. (The National Trust has beautifully restored the building and now lets it out for holidays.)

4) Can you describe the main characters of One Cornish Summer in eight words each? 

Hebe – academic, other worldly, caring, soulful, forthright, passionate
Lucy – bit wild, wilful but with a huge heart

Kit – handsome, understanding, clearsighted, patient, hidden and clever 

Rory – devoted, intelligent, persistent and sexy as hell.

5) Hebe is a brilliant woman, who’s slowly losing her beautiful mind, how was it to take a journey into this difficult process with her? 

It was very hard as my best friend’s sister is in the final stages of this dreadful disease. Taking this journey with Hebe was painful but it was also a way for me to grieve at the loss of someone who was like my big sister.

6) You write about family connections, what makes family so interesting to write about? 

Families…love ‘em or loathe ‘em they provide endless possibilities even when they function properly which few do. Families are like microcosm of society. When part of one fails it creates a domino effect on the rest of the family members. I find that even if you walk away from family you carry part of it with you…good or bad.

7) You love Cornwall, why does it fascinate you so much? 

I wish I could truly explain the hold that Cornwall has over me. From my first visit in 1989 Cornwall grabbed my heart and hasn’t let go. However as I am not Cornish I have no way to claim it as mine except to write about it.

8) You’ve lived in several different countries, where do you feel most at home and how did your experiences influence your writing? 

Cornwall is home. London is home but my heart still misses New England. My travels have given me a taste of a global perspective. I have been an outsider for a long time and as a writer that is a valuable place to be. As an outsider you see things differently, take nothing for granted.

9) You often share pictures of your garden, which is a beautiful place, can you tell a bit more about it? 

For me gardens and paradise are linked. In the work and the concept. We were lucky enough when we bought out house to inherit a beautiful garden and it has been my complete joy to look after it and slowly make it my own. I can’t say I came to gardening willingly. In fact if you asked my mother she would say it was kicking and complaining…but now I find peace when I am in the garden. I am moved by colour and scent. My garden especially at this time of year is a riot of colour and fragrance.

10) What are your plans for the future? 

I’m already working on book seven, The Path To The Sea. Again it is set in Cornwall, has a big beautiful house, and three generations of women all with secrets.


One very Lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed paperback copy of One Cornish Summer by Liz Fenwick.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. One Cornish Summer sounds so great!
    And the Cover is awesome!
    Thank you for the lovely review and interview :)

  2. One Cornish Summer sounds like a moving story of relationships, secrets and love set amidst the beauty and striking landscape of Cornwall.

  3. Oh I love stories about family secrets and the quaint setting in Cornwall sounds marvelous too!

  4. Would love to win this book for my Mum who reads a lot.

  5. This looks like a feel good sunny read! xx

  6. I've only read one book before about dementia / losing your memory. It was intriguing to read it from the sufferer's perspective and I'm sure this book would be just aas interesting.

  7. Sounds like a very nice book. And I'd love to read about Cornwall, sounds like a wonderful area.

  8. This book sounds really good. I have an online friend who lives in Cornwall so it will be a fun book for me to read.

  9. Loved the last Liz Fenwick I read. Would love to read more

  10. Is the cover Port Isaac? I love Cornwall,such a magical place and another visit is long overdue.Guess I will continue to get my Cornwall fix from immersing myself in your lovely stories.

  11. A wonderful interview thank you.

  12. I love Cornwall! Thanks for the chance x

  13. I love Liz Fenwicks books. One Cornish Summer is in my reading pile. After reading this interview I think I'll bring it to the top of the pile

  14. I love the cover and it sounds really sweet.

  15. Thanks for the great prize and competition. Good luck everyone!

  16. Sounds amazing! Thank you for this wonderful chance.

  17. Sounds like a great read - love the cover

  18. The cover is beautiful, thanks for the chance.

  19. Love Cornwall and had some lovely holidays down there. The cover is stunning and the story sounds a great mix of returning home and family secrets. Can't wait to see what we uncover.

  20. I completely understand Liz's fascination for Cornwall. It's a magical, history-laden place, perfect as a setting for a novel about secrets.