It’s a pleasure today to be helping launch the blog tour for A Kingswater Summer by Jo Lambert, the second in her planned series of three Cornish Coastal Romances, and sharing my review: independently published on 9th August, it’s now available for kindle (free via Kindle Unlimited) and in paperback via Amazon in the UK and US. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the author for my reading e-copy.
Over the years, I’ve really enjoyed following the twists and turns of Jo’s writing life. In August 2015, she joined me with a lovely guest post to mark the publication of Summer Moved On, the first of her linked contemporary romances. I reviewed the book that November, and very much enjoyed it – and I went on to review (and enjoy every bit as much!) Watercolours in the Rain (you’ll find that review here). It was then a delight to share my review of Wicked Game when it was re-published in January 2019. And then came A Cornish Affair – a really well-told story of long-hidden family secrets with an exciting thriller edge (you’ll find my review here). And her next was Shadows on the Water – the first in her new series – an engaging and compelling read and most definitely my new favourite (you’ll find my review here). Her writing just gets better and better with every book – and I was rather looking forward to this one…
Newly returned from backpacking around Europe, Kiera Merrick has landed a dream job – working for actress Stella Wynter, helping set up a memory room at Penmarra, her beautiful riverside home just outside Kingswater.
Jake Paterson is currently staying with Stella after filming the final series of his popular TV drama. He is trying to work out how to get his co-star and long-term girlfriend Rachel Tyler back after she walked out on him. But Jake soon finds himself drawn to Kiera, developing feelings for her that have no place in his life. He realises painful choices will eventually have to be made. And someone is going to get hurt.
Stella’s godson, hapless Tom Armytage is also staying at Penmarra along with girlfriend Chantal. He dreams of becoming a successful property developer and hopes Chantal’s dynamic presence will boost his ambitions. To impress her he boasts that he is heir to all of Stella’s wealth.
Chantal Porter is a woman used to getting her own way. Tom is her ideal partner; weak and easily manipulated. Listening to him talk about his inheritance, she likes the idea of being Penmarra’s next mistress. But Stella and Jake’s close relationship gives her cause for concern. Who is he? And could he be a threat to her future ambitions?
As Jake comes to a difficult decision and sets off for London to sort things out with Rachel, a heart broken Kiera is left to watch helplessly as Chantal puts in place a plan to secure Tom’s inheritance. One that will change Stella’s life for ever.
Set on the south coast of Cornwall, A Kingswater Summer is a story of love, deception, and family secrets…
When I read the first book in this series, I was particularly taken with its vividly created setting – visiting Kingswater again was like returning to a place where you’ve already spent a rather lovely holiday, glad to be back to explore a little more. There was so much about it that was already familiar – Kiera returning from her European travels for best friend Ava’s wedding, her father and brother running the ferry that crosses the river, the estate and winery at Heron’s Gate, the family catering business, that strong sense of family that the author always does so well – but if this is your first visit, you’ll soon feel entirely at home there, surrounded by characters who soon become friends. Calico Jack’s, the club on the quayside with its newly added restaurant, is still where the younger set assemble in the evenings – although its future is a little uncertain with the lease up for sale, a prime site for property developers looking to get a foothold.
During her travels, Keira has lost her job with her father’s ferry – they needed to recruit to cover her absence – and finds herself at a loose end until a chance meeting with Stella, a former star of TV and film, looking for someone to catalogue her vast collection of memorabilia. And Stella’s not the only person she bumps into – at Ava’s wedding she also collides with Jake, the initially obnoxious and distinctly up-himself star of a TV series filmed in the area. As she settles into her new job and the women become friends, she discovers that Jake and Stella have a connection and that he lives in the boathouse on Stella’s estate – and she also comes across Stella’s ineffectual godson Tom and his grasping girlfriend Chantal, taking advantage of the life of luxury offered while they stay at Stella’s home.
And then, as Kiera finds that Jake perhaps isn’t quite the villain she thinks he is and there are signs of a nice relationship developing, the story takes a rather darker turn – first the shenanigans around the bidding for Calico Jack’s, then an altogether more threatening scenario, very well handled, where the real villains of the plot show their true colours, with real heart-in-mouth moments as Kiera fights to discover the truth.
The author is an excellent storyteller, and this was a book that really gripped me throughout – I will confess to a preference for the book’s first half with its focus on family and friendship and the slow-burn romance, but I did enjoy the slow cranking up of the tension and the original storyline that developed. Some of the story’s twists and turns did require just a little suspension of disbelief, but worked well because of the superbly drawn characters – Kiera is always entirely sympathetic, while the villains take your breath away with the lengths they’re willing to go to in securing the prize. And I do always particularly enjoy a well-handled enemies-to-friends romance – and this one is particularly engaging and convincing, with a few really intriguing secrets and complications and a deliciously uncertain outcome.
With its strong sense of place, its well developed characters and its highly original storyline, this was a book I really enjoyed. I’ll certainly be looking forward to another visit to Kingswater…
About the author
Jo Lambert lives on the eastern edge of the city of Bath. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors. She has been writing since 2008. Her first five books, a set of linked romantic sagas following the lives of several families in rural West Somerset, were followed in 2015 by Summer Moved On, a contemporary romance set in South Devon. A sequel, Watercolours in the Rain was published in 2017. In June 2018 Jo signed to Choc Lit and her debut A Cornish Affair, set in North Cornwall was published in 2019 under their Ruby Fiction imprint.
Her latest novel A Kingswater Summer is the second of a three-book series. The first, Shadows on the Water, was published in 2020. Both books can be read as standalone stories. When she isn’t writing she reads and reviews, and also has an active blog. Jo loves travel, red wine and music and long as it has a great melody and lyrics. Oh, and she often takes the odd photograph or two…