Every now and again, it’s good to take a punt on a fairly new author when the blurb for their book looks like something you’d enjoy – and Kate Ryder asked so nicely! Cry of the Gulls, available for kindle and in paperback, looked like it had “one Anne will enjoy” written all over it – actually I’m still wondering how on earth I missed Kate’s first book, The Forgotten Promise, when it ticks so many of my boxes!
Let me share the synopsis of Cry of the Gulls:
To the outside world Oliver Foxley leads a charmed life. Married to the attractive and independent Deanna, he is a successful, award-winning actor with the world at his feet. However, Oliver’s life is one huge jigsaw puzzle with the pieces never quite falling into place. Battling depression, he visits a retreat where he meets Sylvie, a single thirty-something who, unbeknown to him, nurtures an unhealthy obsession with the actor.
Cara Penhaligon is a talented, yet, undiscovered artist living simply and quietly in a ramshackle, cliff-top bungalow on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall. Free-spirited by nature, she is slowly coming to terms with the untimely death of her husband, which has left her raising their two young children on her own.
When Oliver rejects a role in the next sure-fire box office hit in favour of a play touring Cornwall for the summer, he puts into action a series of events that could not have been foreseen. And when destiny brings Oliver and Cara together he is powerless against an all-consuming passion that forces him to question the very fabric of his life…
I mentioned “taking a punt” – and sometimes, just sometimes, books don’t “settle” into their story until a little way in. If you wobble a little at the start of this one – the scene-setting, the visit to the gallery, even the visit to the retreat – don’t be put off. That back story is an essential foundation for a heartbreaking love story and an edge-of-your-seat thriller that had me gripped from the moment the focus for action hit Cornwall. This book attempts a lot, and in my view it most definitely succeeds.
Sylvie’s “unhealthy obsession” with Oliver spirals into something rather different (and totally chilling… she’s a piece of work, that Sylvie!), Cara’s beauty and sadness draw you in (she’s a great mother too – with such well-written kids!), and I now totally believe (if I ever didn’t) in love at first sight. This is a great story, with well-drawn and believable characters – even the peripheral ones like Rick from the cafe, and Cara’s mum and her friend.
The author has a deft touch in handling emotion – her characters totally sympathetic and believable, surprisingly and satisfyingly complex – that has you gulping and wiping away a tear on more than one occasion. The setting is so well drawn – ok, I know Cornwall’s a gift for any writer, but couple that with a lead character who’s a talented artist with a bit of an eye for a view and you have opportunities for something rather special. And this story’s just crying out for a sequel… I’ll be here waiting Kate, I loved it!
My thanks to Kate Ryder for sending me an e-copy of her book.
About the author
Kate Ryder has worked in a number of industries including publishing, mainly as a proof-reader/copy editor and writer for a national newspaper, magazines and publishing houses.
A member of the New Writers Scheme with the Romantic Novelists Association, in 2013 she published her debut novel, The Forgotten Promise, a timeslip romance and mysterious ghost story, which was shortlisted for Choc Lit’s 2016 “Search for a Star” and also honoured with a Chill with a Book “Book of the Month” Award.
Her second novel, Cry of the Gulls, is a contemporary bittersweet, love story set against the ruggedly beautiful backdrop of Cornwall. Due to popular demand, a sequel is in the offing!
Kate lives in a renovated 200-year-old sawmill in the beautiful Tamar Valley with her husband and a collection of animals.
She also runs: www.equihealth.co.uk – a complementary health business for horses, dogs, humans and other animals.