Book Review: Coming Home by Fern Britton

I was lucky enough to be part of Fern Britton’s blog tour for the book The Postcard last year, so when the publisher emailed to ask if I wanted an advance copy to review so that I could be part of the blog tour again, I did a little happy dance!

It was also perfect timing, as I could pack the book for our half term sojourn to the French Alps.  Reading a lovely book with a glass of vin chaud whilst watching everyone else hurtle down the slopes sounded perfect!  (This was on medical advice following a recent op – but let’s just say I wasn’t gutted that I couldn’t ski – and actually, I’m not sure the consultant specifically prescribed hot booze………)

In case you’ve been living under a rock Fern Britton is the highly acclaimed author of six
Sunday Times bestselling novels. Her books are cherished for their warmth, wit and wisdom, and have won her legions of loyal readers. Fern is a judge for the Costa Book Awards and this year has supported the Reading Agency by writing a short novel to encourage less confident adult readers. A hugely popular household name through iconic shows such as This Morning and Ready Steady Cook, Fern is a much sought – after presenter most recently presenting, The Big Allotment Challenge (BBC2), For What It’s Worth (BBC1), Culinary Genius with Gordon Ramsay (ITV) and her advent series Fern Britton Meets (BBC1). Fern has now also turned her talents to acting, with her new role in the stage musical Calendar Girls, which is directed by Gary Barlow. Fern lives with her husband, Phil Vickery, and her four children in Buckinghamshire and Cornwall. To find out more, connect with her on twitter @Fern_Britton and http://www.facebook.com/officialfernbritton.

 

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About Coming Home:

“When the only place you want to be is home…

When Ella’s beloved grandmother dies, she comes back to the beautiful Cornish coast to heal her heart. There she finds her home again and discovers a new life, and new love … But she also opens a treasure trove of secrets. Sennen left Cornwall a young single mum but unable to cope. She left her children, her family and part of her. She’s spent the years hiding from her past, hiding from herself.  Now it’s time to come back. To Cornwall. To face her mistakes. To pray for forgiveness. To hope for a future with her daughter.”

Now, to paraphrase my previous post, there was an Eastenders style duff, duff, duff at the end of ‘The Postcard’ for Ella – so I’d hoped we’d be revisiting Pendruggan and her story – and that is the premise for this book, which I was very excited about!  I love the way Fern’s books set in this particular Cornish village have stories of different characters you’ve met before weaving in and out of storylines with new people – it’s so clever, and feels like you’re meeting up with old friends again.

I therefore had high hopes!

And boy was I not disappointed.

The book starts in current day Pendruggan – just after the previous book concluded – but also gives the back stories for the current characters by going back in time to the 70s and 90s. Each era is described so well – but just as I mentioned before, how Fern weaves in people from previous books, so she does with locations in these ‘historic’ settings.  The settings also move from Cornwall to Spain, London and India – and back again – with each area beautifully described (adds the Taj Mahal to the ‘to visit’ list!)

The reunion of Sennen with her daughter Ella and son Henry is not straightforward (but I guess it would be a bit of a dull book if it was!) and that is the crux of the book.  It explores the various parent / child / grandchild relationships really well – they are all so different.

I liked Ella and was rooting for her throughout the book.  Henry I wanted to slap quite hard on frequent occasions!!!

I don’t want to give away too many of the twists and turns – that would ruin the reading enjoyment for you – but it’s definitely worth it.

I’m also very pleased that the door has most definitely been left open for a further trip to Pendruggan in the future.  The whole series is a lovely, easy, escapist read – perfect for a Sunday afternoon, so download it now – or order a hard copy for next week!!

This has slotted beautifully into my Reading Challenge as a book I’ve been given (in lieu of an honest review).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: The Postcard by Fern Britton

The Postcard

 

I was lucky enough to be given a copy of this by Netgalley to review – and then asked to be part of Fern’s blog tour – which was very very exciting!!

I hadn’t read the blurb before I read the book (based on the fact I’ve enjoyed all of Fern’s previous books) – but here is it is for you:

“The new witty and warm novel from the Sunday Times best-selling author and TV presenter, Fern Britton.

Secrets. Sisters. The summer that changed everything . . .

Life in the Cornish village of Pendruggan isn’t always picture perfect. Penny Leighton has never told anyone why she’s estranged from her mother and sister. For years she’s kept her family secrets locked away in her heart, but they’ve been quietly eating away at her. When an unwelcome visitor blows in, Penny is brought face to face with the past. And a postcard, tucked away in a long-hidden case, holds the truth that could change everything.

Young Ella has come back to the place where she spent a happy childhood with her grandmother. Now she’s here to search for everything missing in her life. Taken under Penny’s broken wing for the summer, the safe haven of Pendruggan feels like the place for a fresh start. Soon, however, Ella starts to wonder if perhaps her real legacy doesn’t lie in the past at all.”

I was DELIGHTED when I started reading to find out it was set in Pendruggan again – and revisiting characters we’d met before.  It felt like meeting up with old friends.  The previous books set in this village of Cornwall have always left me wanting to know more – and I was about to find out more – hoorah!

This time it centres, initially, on Penny. She’s a new Mum, vicar’s wife and TV exec – not necessarily always in that order.  The story follows her current and historic relationships with her family and the impact each has on the other. It also looks at quite serious issues of postnatal depression and the fact that women are expected to want to ‘have it all’ – and just how tough that can be for families.

Ella is then introduced – firstly in London and then moving down to Cornwall.  Her story interweaves with Penny’s – and it is interesting to see their relationship develop, along with Ella’s relationships with other villagers.

I really enjoyed this easy, escapist read and the gentles  twists and turns of the story.  It really evokes the feeling of being in Cornwall – and the village fete was very reminiscent of our own – albeit ours is in Worcestershire!

I don’t want to give too much of the story away (I hate it when I read a review that gives away something fundamental) but you really are rooting for Penny and Ella in different ways.

My only very slight criticism is that the ending seems a bit rushed. After a perfectly paced majority of the book, the loose ends for Penny are all tied up super quickly in the final chapter.   However, that’s not the case for Ella – and there is practically an Eastenders – duff, duff, duff at the end of the epilogue for her!  I can only hope that means we’ll be revisiting Pendruggan with its characters again soon!

I need to slot this into my 2017 Reading Challenge – and I’m going for the category ‘A book you bought on a trip’ as I downloaded it whilst we were at Centerparcs.  I realise that is slightly tenuous – but I can’t possibly read something and not tick a category off!!  We’re almost half way through the year and I’ve only managed 14 of the 40 categories – good job the summer holidays are coming up.  #readingheaven

 

 

 

 

A blog tour!!

I am VERY excited to have been chosen to be one of the stops on Fern Britton’s blog tour to mark the release of her book ‘The Postcard’ as a paperback.

The Postcard blog tour banner

I’ve blogged before about my love of Fern (in a slightly fangirling kind of way!) so I was really chuffed about this.  For those of you who don’t know who Fern is (where have you been??) then here’s some info on her:

“Fern Britton is the highly acclaimed author of five Sunday Times bestselling novels: A Seaside Affair, The Holiday Home, Hidden Treasures, New Beginnings and A Good Catch. Her books are cherished for their warmth, wit and wisdom, and have won Fern legions of loyal readers. Fern is likely best known for her years co-presenting ITV’s flagship daytime show This Morning with Philip Schofield. An iconic presenter, she is also hugely popular for her earlier hits like Ready Steady Cook, and All Star Mr and Mrs, as well as being a much-loved contestant in 2012’s Strictly Come Dancing. She recently presented The Big Allotment Challenge for BBC2 in 2014 and again for its second series in 2015, as well as For What It’s Worth, an antiques-based quiz show on BBC1.

Fern lives with her husband, Phil Vickery, and her four children in Buckinghamshire and Cornwall.   To find out more, connect with her @Fern Britton and facebook.com/officialfernbritton.”

 

The book has been read and reviewed – but all is embargoed until my day on the tour!

But to whet your appetite – here’s the blurb about it:

The POSTCARD: Penny Leighton has never told anyone why she’s estranged from her mother and sister. For years she’s kept her family secrets locked away in her heart, but they’ve been quietly eating away at her. When an unwelcome visitor blows in, Penny is brought face to face with the past. And a postcard, tucked away in a long-hidden case, holds the truth that could change everything.

Young Ella has come back to the place where she spent a happy childhood with her grandmother. Now she’s here to search for everything missing in her life. Taken under Penny’s broken wing for the summer, the safe haven of Pendruggan feels like the place for a fresh start. Soon, however, Ella starts to wonder if perhaps her real legacy doesn’t lie in the past at all.”

 

See you back here on July 6th for my review……..