Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Daughters of Cornwall by Fern Britton.
Fern Britton is the highly acclaimed author of eight Sunday Times bestselling novels.
Born in London, into a theatrical family, Fern started her professional life as a stage manager. Theatre life was great fun but within three years, in 1980, she graduated to television and became a presenter on Westward Television. Here she achieved her ambition of living in Cornwall. Since then television has been her home. She spent 14 years as a journalist before presenting Ready, Steady, Cook for the BBC. This Morning for ITV came next where she won several awards and became a household name.
Her interview programme Fern Britton Meets had guests including Tony Blair, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dolly Parton and Cliff Richard. Fern presented The Big Allotment Challenge (BBC2), For What It’s Worth (BBC1), Culinary Genius with Gordon Ramsay (ITV)
Fern’s novels are all set in her beloved Cornwall. Her books are cherished for their warmth, wit and wisdom, and have won her legions of loyal readers. Fern was a judge for the Costa Book of the Year Award and a supporter of the Reading Agency, promoting literacy and reading.
Fern turned her talents to acting last year when she starred as Marie in Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s award-winning musical Calendar Girls.
Fern has twin sons, two daughters and lives in Cornwall in a house full of good food, wine, family, friends and gardening books. She has a motor cycle licence, an honorary doctorate for services to broadcasting and charity, and is a member of Mensa!
About the book
1918. – The Great War is over, and Clara Carter has boarded a train bound for Cornwall – to meet a family that would once have been hers. But they must never discover her secret…
1939. – Hannah has always been curious about her mother’s mysterious past, but the outbreak of the Second World War casts everything in a new light. As the bombs begin to fall, Hannah and her brothers are determined to do their bit for the war effort – whatever the cost.
2020. – Caroline has long been the keeper of her family’s secrets. But now, with her own daughter needing her more than ever, it’s time to tell the truth – to show Natalie that she comes from a long line of women who have weathered the storms of life, as hardy and proud as the rugged Cornish coastline…
This story has multiple narrators and takes place over various timelines. Clara just after the Great War – the war to end all wars. Hannah just before the start of the Second World War and Caroline in 2020. Clara, Hannah and Caroline all have something in common. They are either keepers of secrets or women who suffer the repercussions of them.
I enjoyed the whole Caroline and the trunk part of the story. It’s very much like finding hidden treasures and secrets when someone you know really well passes away. It just shows you how little we really know about each other when all is said and done.
What Britton does brilliantly is weave her own emotional burdens from her secret keepers into her characters. It gives the characters and the story an air of authenticity, but perhaps it wouldn’t be remiss to think of it in a different way entirely. Her own story is like a dramatic fictional setting for a novel and this book gives both the forgotten and the silent voices an opportunity to be heard and finally acknowledged.
I think it’s important to remember the stigma attached to Clara’s predicament in 1918. There wouldn’t really have been much choice, whereas nowadays it is the norm. Many women have moved forward with that kind of secret. I think it’s fair to say it changes the person in question, perhaps not everyone in the same way though. For me the other side of the equation is the one left behind in all of this secret keeping. It’s a moving story about family and secrets that have been passed on or simply forgotten over the years.
Buy Daughters of Cornwall at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HarperCollins pub date 11th June 2020| £12.99 | Hardback. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Waterstones.