|Hodder & Stoughton|
A bit of blurb..
1939, and Will and Alice are evacuated to a granite farm in north Cornwall, perched on a windswept cliff. There they meet the farmer's daughter, Maggie, and against fields of shimmering barley and a sky that stretches forever, enjoy a childhood largely protected from the ravages of war.
But in the sweltering summer of 1943 something happens that will have tragic consequences. A small lie escalates. Over 70 years on Alice is determined to atone for her behaviour - but has she left it too late?
2014, and Maggie's granddaughter Lucy flees to the childhood home she couldn't wait to leave thirteen years earlier, marriage over; career apparently ended thanks to one terrible mistake. Can she rebuild herself and the family farm? And can she help her grandmother, plagued by a secret, to find some lasting peace?
I've had this book for a while, as I was one of the lucky ones to get an early reading copy, and the urge to read it has been so strong that I had to, quite literally, place away on a high shelf. I only took it down to read a couple of days ago, as I wanted my review to be as fresh and shiny as a new pin to coincide with its publication day, which is today.
The Farm at the End of the World set the page alight for me from the very start of the novel with its prologue, which is, without doubt, one of the most visually expressive prologues I've read in a long time. It's so beautifully descriptive that I had to read it twice over, and by the end of page two, I had the most perfect picture of Skylark Farm in my mind, and I just knew that this book would make my heart sing... and it did.
It’s a dual time narrative set in the shimmering summer of 1943, and in the difficult financial days of 2014. Skylark Farm, or to give it is proper name Polblazey, has seen much in its three hundred year history, and there is no doubt that the family who have lived and worked on the farm have faced challenging times, not just from what has happened in the past, but also from what is now happening in the present. Firmly steeped in memories, but keeping its secrets close, Skylark farm is now facing financial difficulties, and to move forward the farm must grasp new opportunities and yet, long buried secrets from the past threaten to overwhelm the future.
To say more about the plot would be to do this talented author a complete disservice, as the book should be read in its entirety without any spoilers from me, so I won’t add anything more, as you can get the gist from the book blurb.
However, what I will say is that from the very beginning you will be drawn into the heart and soul of a novel which is rich in storytelling, alive with intrigue and peopled with wonderfully warm and sensitive characters who quickly become as dear to you as friends. And then, like me, you will become so obsessed by the story that you will carry the book with you from room to room like a cherished blanket, you will smile when you see the cheeriness of its book cover and you will live, love and experience everything that this book so generously offers.
The Farm at the Edge of the World is primarily a love story, not just between two people who really deserved to be happy, but it’s also a love story to Cornwall, to its rolling seas, to its high and willful tides, to its glistening wheat fields and to its rugged landscape. And ultimately, it’s also a love story from an author to her readers. An author whose talent shines through with every word she so carefully places and who is able to conjure a world so alive with possibility that you smell the sea spray, hear the rustle of hay bales and watch, in fascination, as lazy dust motes swirl in the haze of a love so strong, it hurts.
Best Read with ...A raised rabbit pie and a jug of Cornish mead.
My thanks to the publishers for my review copy of this book