I’m delighted today to be joining the blog tour and sharing my review of Cottage on a Cornish Cliff by Kate Ryder: published on 16th October by Aria Fiction, it’s available in paperback and on all major e-book platforms (kindle, Kobo, iBooks, Google). I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s first book for Aria, Summer in a Cornish Cove (you can read my review here), and I’ve been so looking forward to finding out what happened next for Cara and Oliver…
Returning to the heart of her beloved Cornwall, Kate Ryder weaves another deliciously irresistible tale of desire, jealousy and the search for understanding, set against the stunning backdrop of the glorious Lizard Peninsula.
Globally renowned actor Oliver Foxley has made the most difficult decision of all and set the love of his life free, in order to try and bring his family back together. But there’s a magnetic pull back to both Cara and Cornwall that Oliver can neither deny nor resist…
Heartbroken for a second time in her short life, single mother Cara knows she has no choice but to pick up the pieces yet again and carry on. Perhaps a complete change of scenery would help her, and her young family? Yet her mind, spirit and heart yearn for the windswept shores of her Cornish Cove…
Cara and Oliver face the agonising choice between following expectations, or following their hearts. How will their story end…?
In some ways, this is a rather different book from its prequel. The first book had a distinct thriller element with its obsessed stalker, but this time, the focus and concentration is on the day to day lives of Cara and Oliver. And the way it’s constructed is particularly brave, and works really well – rather than bringing them together and making it a book about a continuing love story, it focuses on their separate lives, keeping them apart for much of the book, eighteen months after the end of their affair.
Oliver is back with wife Deanna and his family, struggling still with the depression that plagues his life. His introverted son Jamie still causes concern, and is the key reason he continues to try to make things work – while his wife constantly punishes him for the affair with Cara, and decides the time has come to have a career and life of her own. It’s such a well drawn picture of a dysfunctional marriage lived in the glare of the media spotlight – and its little wonder that he yearns to return to Cornwall and the woman he still loves.
Meanwhile, Cara has achieved increasing success as an artist, her career supported by the rather creepy Greg who has designs to become rather more than her mentor. She’s such a lovely character, a perfect mix of sadness and light. I love her relationships with friends and family – the supporting characters are particularly well drawn – and I was entirely drawn in by her dilemma over the path she should take to make the right decisions for her future happiness and that of her young family.
The book’s cover is beautiful – although there maybe should have been a few clouds, because this really isn’t the sunny beach read it might just convey. But if it’s the Cornish setting that initially draws you to this book, you certainly won’t be disappointed: as well as being an emotional and compelling read, the detailed descriptions of the Cornish coastline and countryside are quite exceptional, painted with the richness of an author’s eye. This book has such a strong sense of place – something I always look for in books I enjoy – and for fans of Cornwall it’s a particular treat.
I must mention those supporting characters again. I was both fascinated and repelled by Greg, as he shamelessly tries to manipulate Cara’s life and change her personality: Deanna moves into the foreground rather more too, a much stronger and less sympathetic character than she was in the first book. But I particularly liked some of the new characters this book introduced. Johnny is wonderfully charismatic and brings a nice touch of lightness and happiness into Cara’s life: and I really liked Heather, the actress who makes a play for Oliver, who can’t fail to remind you of someone rather more famous and familiar.
The books climax and conclusion is every bit as romantic and satisfying as I wanted it to be, and the way the book builds towards it works exceptionally well. The whole book is well written, with real substance to the lives and emotions of its characters – I loved the way the whole narrative was infused with a sense of longing, that feeling of lives being only half-lived, that constant edge making you feel something significant is missing. The author’s emotional touch is very assured, her characters believable, sympathetic and satisfyingly complex.
And I must just mention that if you missed out on the earlier book, and this is your first encounter with the lives of Oliver and Cara, it most certainly won’t spoil your enjoyment of this one – there’s plenty of catching up within the earlier story, and quite unobtrusively done. This was a book I really enjoyed – and I think many others will too.
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 Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors, she writes romantic suspense in which her characters often face challenging situations laced with moral dilemma.
Kate initially self-published two novels – The Forgotten Promise (a timeslip romance and mysterious ghost story) which was shortlisted for Choc Lit’s “Search for a Star” and also awarded a Chill with a Book “Book of the Month”; and Cry of the Gulls. In 2017, Aria (digital imprint of award-winning independent publisher, Head of Zeus) acquired Cry of the Gulls. Now published under a new title, Summer in a Cornish Cove made Kate a finalist for the 2018 Joan Hessayon Award.
Kate lives in a renovated 200-year-old sawmill in the beautiful Tamar Valley with her husband and a collection of animals.
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