Ponden Hall is a centuries-old house on the Yorkshire moors, a magical place full of stories. It’s also where Trudy Heaton grew up. And where she ran away from…
Now, after the devastating loss of her husband, she is returning home with her young son, Will, who refuses to believe his father is dead.
While Trudy tries to do her best for her son, she must also attempt to build bridges with her eccentric mother. And then there is the Hall itself: fallen into disrepair but generations of lives and loves still echo in its shadows, sometimes even reaching out to the present…
I received a copy of this book from Penguin Random House – Ebury Publishing via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Reading this story is rather like opening a Pandora’s box, there are surprises, light and dark. love and hate, purity and evil, all intertwined into an epic story that keeps on giving, as you turn the pages.
I love, the clever fusion of genres, family drama, romance, timeslip, historical fact and fiction, paranormal, gothic fiction, are all part of this novel’s embroidery. Whilst, this will not be for everyone, there are many timelines to negotiate, it is compelling and worth the effort, to move out of the ease of contemporary reading into the more elaborate historical details and subterfuge.
This story works for me because of Trudy’s state of mind, she is heartbroken, without hope, and open to any experience that lessens the pain. Her maternal instinct keeps her on track, making sure Will gets the emotional and practical support he needs, but she needs more than this and discovering hidden secrets that the house gives up is part of this. She is a sensitive woman, a loner, her childhood was full of imagination and literature, and it gave her purpose and solace. Now, in her pain, she seeks the familiar and is prepared to accept whatever the house reveals, even if it sometimes defies explanation and is frightening.
This is an escapist novel, something to enthral and capture your imagination, full of emotion and a clever medley of fact and fiction, it makes you want to visit Ponden Hall, and find out if it’s as magical and troubled as it seems.
I received a copy of this book from Penguin Book UK – Michael Joseph Publishing in return for an honest review.
A complex and insightful exploration of the modern family.
Grace, Patrick, Lilly and Mia are on the surface an ideal, nuclear family. As the story progresses, the layers are peeled away, and the controlling behaviour, emotional damage, lies and secrets are revealed, and the family implodes.
This stories most poignant message is that children need protection, sometimes even from their parents, to ensure negative behaviours, unrequited ambitions and hopes, are not instilled into them.
Mia’s chance discovery during a family barbeque has a devastating effect. Not, only the revelation, but the chain of events it catalyses, and the secrets it forces to the surface.
The characters are multi-layered and realistic, Mia is the antithesis of Lilly, the ‘golden child’. They are both intelligent but influenced by their mother’s attitude towards them.
The story is suspenseful, with an underlying layer of menace. You are constantly waiting for something bad to happen, and this makes it riveting and unnerving to read. The authenticity of the setting, and characters adds to this.
I like the ending, it brings together everything that has gone before, through nail-biting action scenes and a poignant, yet hopeful final end.
Boskenna, the beautiful, imposing house standing on the Cornish cliffs, means something different to each of the Trewin women.
For Joan, as a glamorous young wife in the 1960s, it was a paradise where she and her husband could entertain and escape a world where no one was quite what they seemed – a world that would ultimately cost their marriage and end in tragedy.
Diana, her daughter, still dreams of her childhood there – the endless blue skies and wide lawns, book-filled rooms and parties, the sound of the sea at the end of the coastal path – even the family she adored was shattered there.
And for the youngest, broken-hearted Lottie, heading home in the August traffic, returning to Boskenna is a welcome escape from a life gone wrong in London, but will mean facing a past she’d hoped to forget.
As the three women gather in Boskenna for a final time, the secrets hidden within the beautiful old house will be revealed in a summer that will leave them changed forever.
I received a copy of this book from HQ in return for an honest review.
Set in the rugged beauty of Cornwall, a family drama, that is both heartbreaking and heartwarming, unfolds through the eyes of a dying grandmother, a driven daughter and a dutiful granddaughter. Each woman loves the house on the Cornish cliff, even though it is the scene of tragic events that have marred their lives.
Joan has a secret, kept hidden for most of her adult life, but now she is dying, she wants forgiveness and understanding. Told from her point of view as a young, mother in 1962, her secret life and the terrible events of the last family holiday at the house are revealed.
Diana has never forgiven her mother for taking her away from the house she loved, and leaving her to a soulless boarding school when as a grieving child all she needed was her mother’s love and presence. In her mother’s final days, she returns to her childhood holiday home, wanting answers, but most of all wanting to make sense of her life.We learn her story in 1962, as she discovers the answers she seeks in 2018.
Lottie lurches from crisis to crisis, seeking something that only her mother could give her, but never did. She doesn’t understand her mother’s coldness, and is grateful for the love and support her grandmother gives her. Returning to the house where she spent many happy childhood days, she finds more questions than answers, and is determined to confront her mother, about the father she refuses to discuss.
The plot moves effortlessly between 2018, 2008 and 1962, as the love, pain and secrets are uncovered and revealed. The three outwardly successful women, all hide emotional pain, that has damaged the part of their lives that should be the most precious.
The parts of the plot set in 1962 are rich in historical detail and are notably atmospheric, the fear surrounding the escalation of the cold war is tangible, and adds to the family drama that unfolds. The plot has many twists and the complex characters are authentic. You become engrossed in their lives and as the truth reveals itself, the true poignancy of the situation is breathtaking.
‘ The Path to the Sea is enthralling to read, it takes you back to another world, but lets you see how the problems and fears are just as relevant today. The family dysfunction, and the events that precipitated it is very sad, it perfectly illustrates how personal sacrifice can facilitate a greater good. The ending is hopeful, speaking of forgiveness, and lessons learned.
The perfect Summer read.
Extract from The Path to The Sea – Liz Fenwick
3 August 2008, 11.30 p.m.
All was silent except for the sound of the waves reaching
the beach. ‘Happy anniversary,’ he said.
‘Anniversary?’ Turning, she tried to see his expression. ‘Are you taking the
He traced her mouth with his finger. ‘Would I do that?’
She felt rather than heard his laugh as his body was stretched out next to hers, thigh to thigh, hip to hip.
‘We’ve been together for a month and a
we’re celebrating half months as well as months?’
He kissed her long and
slow and she wasn’t sure what they had been talking about as his hand ran
across the skin of her back, just above her jeans.
‘I celebrate every day,
every minute, every second that you are mine.’
Her breath caught and
held, and she looked up to the sky. The
milky way stretched above, vast and mystical. She was captivated. The universe
and all its glory filled her. Here on
this beach, wrapped in his arms,
was where she wanted to be always.
It could happen if they wanted it enough and she believed they did.
His arm tightened around her.
‘Will . . . ’ Just then a shooting star sped across
the sky and seemed to fall into the sea. She wished
with all her heart that she
could be in Alex’s arms for the rest of her life. She rolled onto him. ‘Did you see it too?’
‘The shooting star?’ ‘Yes.’ He kissed her. ‘Did you make a wish?’
He nodded and pushed her hair back, tucking it behind her
ears. ‘I did.’
‘I wonder if it was the same thing?’
hope so,’ he whispered against her ear.
She brought her mouth to his, praying that he
would be hers forever. ‘Tell me.’
‘No, because if I do it won’t come true.’ He pulled her
even closer to him.
‘You are all my dreams come true,’ she said,
wrapping her arms around him.
He hummed Gramps’ favourite song, ‘A Kiss to Build a Dream
On’, and she knew then they would make it
happen . . . Alex and her and
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.
‘Climbing out the window in her dress and tiara wasn’t exactly how Frankie imagined her wedding day…’
Runaway bride Frankie Ashford hops a plane to Norway with one goal in mind – find her estranged mother and make peace with the past. But when a slip on the ice in Oslo lands her directly in Jonas Thorsen’s Viking-strong arms, her single-minded focus drifts away in the winter winds.
When it comes to romance Jonas knows that anything he and Frankie share has an expiration date – the British heiress has a life to return to in London that’s a world away from his own. But family is everything to Jonas and, as the one man who can help Frankie find the answers she’s seeking, he’ll do whatever it takes to help her reunite with her mother.
Now, as Christmas draws closer and the northern lights work their magic, Frankie and Jonas will have to make a choice…play it safe or risk heartbreak to take a chance on love.
Guest Post – Darcie Boleyn – The Inspiration Behind Love at the Northern Lights
Do you ever wonder where you’ll be ten years from now? I certainly do and have done throughout my life.
Growing up, I had many deep conversations with my dad about the future and about what we’d like to do. He wasn’t just my dad; he was one of my best friends. We planned on travelling together – with any (understanding) future partner and children I might have – and we had a bucket list of places to go and things we wanted to see.
Twenty years ago, he was still around, and we took a trip to Orlando, Florida. It was a fabulous week, and we laughed a lot. Sixteen years ago, I had my daughter, and my dad was delighted to be a grandfather. His plans for what we would do grew even more exciting and adventurous, and he was so enthusiastic about where we would take my daughter and how well travelled she would be.
Norway was one of the places we talked about visiting. With its mountains, glaciers and deep coastal fjords, it sounded perfect. There would be the chance to see authentic Viking ships in Oslo’s museum, to take a cruise on the Sognedfjord – Norway’s longest and deepest fjord – and to hike and ski. And, of course, there would be the opportunity to visit Tromsø, to ride on a sleigh through the snow, and hopefully witness the magnificent Aurora borealis.
Sadly, my dad passed away in 2004, when he was just fifty-eight, and my daughter was eighteen months old. My world fell apart, and it seemed that my dreams did too.
However, my dad was a man who seized life, who lived every day and who would have hated for me to give up. As I gradually came to terms with my loss, I grew stronger and began to enjoy life again. Fourteen years on, I still miss him every day, but I have so much to be grateful for and so much to live for. With my loving husband, two beautiful children and three funny dogs, there is much to smile about. I’m also living my childhood dream as an author, something that would have made my dad very proud indeed.
Love at the Northern Lights is dedicated to my dad and to the dreams we shared. The story isn’t about him, or me, but it was inspired by our conversations and our bucket list.
I don’t know where I’ll be ten years from now, but I know where I want to be and what I’d like to do.
One day, I will get to see the northern lights, and when I do, I’ll be holding my dad in my heart.
A story of mothers and daughters, injustice and second chances in scenic Norway and fashionable London and romance that will last longer than the festive season.
A lovely, romantic tale with a festive twist. Frankie runs away from her wedding and her controlling grandmother and decides to find the mother who walked out on her when she was a baby. Her only clue a postcard her mother sent from Norway.
Norway is full of surprises and possible romance until a call from London means she has to go home. The relationship between Frankie and her mother is poignant and realistic and there is lots of simmering romance amid the snow and the Northern Lights.
An easy to read festive tale which will make you smile.
I received a copy of this book from Canelo via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi, but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop. TwitterWebsite