A Golden Cornish Summer by Phillipa Ashley: Enchanting summertime odyssey – book review –
But now the successful freelance illustrator has returned for the first time to the golden place which had seemed forever tarnished by a feud that tore apart her beloved family, and ended the relationship that she thought was her forever romance. Can Emma recapture her lost past… or has her life hit yet another brick wall?
If it’s warm sunshine and the addictive charms of a stunning coastal idyll you’re after this summer, escape into an addictive tale – featuring two star-crossed lovers – from the pen of Phillipa Ashley, the queen of Cornish fiction.
Ashley’s literary love affair with beautiful Cornwall has included A Perfect Cornish Summer, A Perfect Cornish Christmas and A Perfect Cornish Escape, and now a gorgeous new series, which began with An Endless Cornish Summer, delivers the same heady mix of sapphire seas, hidden coves and golden beaches.
A the heart of this bright and beautiful summer sparkler – filled with warm friendships, second chances and an irresistibly salty tang – is thirty-two-year-old Emma Pelistry who leaves the city behind and heads for a quiet fishing village on the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall.
Emma adored her early years at Silver Cove in Falford but the discovery of sunken treasure, from a ship which foundered in the cove, ignited a feud between her family and the family of her first love, Luke Kerr, and everything seemed to disintegrate. Heartbroken and betrayed, her parents divorced shortly afterwards and aged just seventeen, Emma fled.
But now the death of her estranged father, and a break-up with her boyfriend Theo in Oxford, has led Emma back to Silver Cove where she will stay in a lodge owned by her former schoolfriend Maxi while working on a commission to illustrate a high-end book about the Cornish coast.
And as she wades into the sea, which laps the shore ‘like liquid mercury and paints the rocks a silvery hue,’ she remembers everything she loved about this beautiful village and her nearby childhood home, the Old Chapel.
Distracted by the view, Emma is suddenly knocked over by a huge wave and, cold and dripping, is rescued by none other than Luke who, to her dismay, is now a ‘fantasy, cover-model version’ of the boy she fell in love with 15 years ago.
After a spell in the navy, Luke is now the joint owner of a dive school at Silver Cove and Emma is shocked to discover that he also lives in and owns her former home. As their paths continue to cross, and Emma is reminded of everything she ran away from, she starts to wonder if returning home was a huge mistake.
Or could it be that the real treasure has been waiting here for her all along?
Cherished by an army of fans for her warm, clever and compassionate writing, and her spellbinding evocation of the Cornish landscape and its people, Ashley always brings a rich and compelling authenticity to her tales of love and life.
And in her trademark style, she fills this enchanting summertime odyssey with the drama of past secrets and lies, buried treasure, heart-melting romance, and an entertaining cast of vibrant characters, not least the brusque but lovable beachcomber Ursula.
But alongside all the coastal delights of Falford’s Silver Cove, A Golden Cornish Summer is threaded through with some gritty issues and an exploration of topical issues like the joy of finding forgiveness, the rewards of a shared community spirit, and the ongoing battle to keep our beaches and oceans free of pollution.
Add on some intriguing twists and turns – and the special magic of a love which is surely destined to be rekindled – and you have a Cornish holiday you wouldn’t want to miss!
(Avon, paperback, £7.99)