It’s nearly two years since I read and thoroughly enjoyed Letting in Light by Emma Davies – you’ll find my review here, together with a great guest post from Emma. I really enjoyed one of her “shorts”, Merry Mistletoe, too. But when I realised that her new book – Turn Towards The Sun, published on 9th Feb by Lake Union Publishing, available in paperback and for kindle – would mean more time at Rowan Hill (much as I loved Appleyard…), the book jumped straight to the top of my pile. There are times you want a literary and challenging read, other times when only an edge-of-the-seat thriller will do – but if it’s a warm cuddle and time with friends that you’re looking for, no-one does it quite like Emma. This book was just gorgeous.
Lizzie wants nothing more than to start over and put the past behind her. So when she is offered the chance to live and work at Rowan Hill, a beautiful country estate and bustling community of artists, it feels like a dream come true.
But soon after her arrival a series of accidents and misunderstandings begins to threaten the happiness and livelihoods of everyone at Rowan Hill. And when suspicion quickly falls on Lizzie, she discovers that the past is not so easily forgotten.
To keep the life she has just begun to build, Lizzie will have to race to uncover the truth before there are disastrous repercussions for everyone involved. In this heartwarming story of friendship, loss and love, the stakes are high but so are the rewards. If Lizzie can find a way to stay true to herself, she might have a chance at something she has always wanted: a place to call home.
If Rowan Hill was real (and, in so many ways, it really is…) I’d be brushing up my crafting skills and applying for one of the units. The people who live and work there have become my friends, and I’l love to have my slice of lemon drizzle cake brought round by Ellie to break up the afternoon. I loved Letting in Light, but I did say at the time (I read an early version) that you could just sometimes tell it was a first novel. With a few “shorts” under her belt, this is almost the work of a different writer – the same talent for drawing characters, the wonderful descriptions, the easy flowing style, but with a great assurance and deftness of touch that wasn’t previously there.
Don’t be at all put off that this appears to be a sequel – Lizzie, the focus of the story as she makes sure she doesn’t “stuff it up”, is a new and wonderfully complex character. And it doesn’t matter one jot if it’s your first meeting with Ellie and Will, Ben and Finn and others, because you’ll soon catch up. There’s much loveliness to luxuriate in, but also quite a hard and dark edge as it becomes clear that everything at Rowan Hill isn’t quite as blissful and serene as it should be. The twists and turns of the story are brilliantly handled – some real surprises, some villainy you’ll never have expected, and the book brings a tear to your eye as readily as it brings a smile to your face. If you’re looking for a book into which you can escape for a few hours – but like your escapism well written, with a strong story and vividly drawn characters – do give this one a try. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment.
My thanks to netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for my advance reading e-copy.
Meet the author
After a varied career, Emma Davies once worked for a design studio where she was asked to provide a fun and humorous (and not necessarily true) anecdote for their website. She wrote the following: ‘I am a bestselling novelist currently masquerading as a thirty something mother of three.’ Well the job in the design studio didn’t work out but she’s now a forty something mother of three and is happy to report the rest of her dream came true.
After many years as a finance manager she now writes full time, and is far happier playing with words than numbers. She lives with her husband, three children, and two guinea pigs in rural Shropshire where she writes in all the gaps in between real life. It’s a county she adores, her love of its beautiful people and landscapes providing endless inspiration for her books, and in fact the only thing that would make Shropshire more idyllic is if it were by the sea.
Pop over to her website where, amongst other things, you can read about her passion for Pringles and singing loudly in the car. You can also wave to her on Twitter or find her on Facebook (a little too often than is good for her).