Beaches, cream teas, fresh fish and chips wrapped in paper, picnics, paddling in the sea, and sand castles! These are all things I associate with the summer holidays I had in Cornwall as a child.
My father was originally from Penzance, where his parents ran a guest house during the war years, taking in evacuees. Their home, on Alma Place, was my summer base from the age of one to eighteen. From there I would visit Marazion and St Michaels Mount, say hello to the mermaid of Zennor, and roam the cove at Sennen. I lost count of how often I visited The Buccaneer shell shop in Penzance itself, or queued for fudge in the now, sadly long gone, sweet shop on Market Jew Street.
Even though the beaches were often busy at high season, I always remember the air of peace and quiet that went with the small villages harbours. It was this feeling of having escaped from real life that I wanted to capture for the lead character in A Cornish Escape.
Abi Carter isn’t just heading to Cornwall for peace and quiet however. She is on the hunt for new, happier life- but to go forward, she needs to lay the ghost of a childhood dream to rest…
‘A summer read as scrumptious as its Cornish backdrop. Brilliant!’ Nicola May
Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Phillipa Ashley and Cathy Bramley, this summer romance is sure to warm your heart.
Abi’s life is turned upside down when she is widowed before her thirtieth birthday. Determined to find something positive in the upheaval, Abi decides to make a fresh start somewhere new. With fond childhood memories of holidays in a Cornish cottage, could Cornwall be the place to start over?
With all her belongings in the boot of her car but no real plan, a chance meeting in a village pub brings new friends Beth and Max into her life. Max soon helps Abi track down the house of her dreams but things aren’t as simple as Abi hoped.
Can Abi leave her past behind and finally get her happy ending?
Against the stunning backdrop of Sennen Cove and the Penwith area of Cornwall, Abi has many decisions to make, decisions which are made easier when she meets Max, Beth and Stan. But it isn’t long before Abi discovers, her new friends all have changes of their own to face…and ghosts to bury…
…Settling into a window seat of the Toffee Nut Café, Abi and Beth gratefully acknowledged the speedy arrival of two mugs of strong coffee and the sustaining slices of saffron cake that Beth insisted they have. ‘It’s a local speciality, and slightly better for you than a Cornish cream tea – which I love, but it isn’t exactly kind on the waistline.’
‘Well, Luke would definitely approve of it, then, although having said that,’ Abi picked up her slice of what looked like bright yellow fruit cake, ‘it still looks far too delicious for him to have approved of.’
‘Is Luke your husband?’ Beth took a bite from her own cake, trying not to make it obvious that she’d noticed the cloud that had passed over her previously cheerful companion’s face.
‘He was. I’m a widow.’
‘Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry! You’re so young. I had no idea!’
‘There’s no reason why you should have known.’ Abi began to play with her wedding ring, circling it around her finger as she stared into her mug. ‘He had a heart attack. Luke was older than me, and he had a very stressful job, but it was still unexpected.’
‘It must have been an awful shock!’
‘Yes.’ Abi cradled her mug of coffee and stared out across the street, admiring the granite cottages that seemed to reflect the warmth of the sunshine across the narrow road.
Not wanting to intrude, but at the same time consumed with curiosity and no small amount of concern for her new friend, Beth said, ‘We don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to, but if you do want to offload, I’m a good listener. Just ask Max! I’ve been his emotional sounding-board for years, and he’s mine in return.’
‘He must be a wonderful boyfriend then.’ Abi sighed. ‘Looking back, I don’t think Luke ever had the patience to actually listen to me, and he certainly wouldn’t have shared anything he regarded as remotely emotional himself. That would have constituted weakness in his eyes.’
Beth would have laughed, but the expression of sadness on Abi’s face stopped her. ‘Really? That’s a shame. Luke was missing out there.’
‘I always thought so. Generation gap, perhaps. Although I don’t suppose twelve years is a big enough age difference for that really.’
Quiet descended over the table for a moment before Beth added, ‘And, umm … Max isn’t my boyfriend, he’s my best friend.’
Snapping out of the guilt-laden melancholy that had descended on her, Abi didn’t disguise her relief as much as she might normally have done. ‘You’re kidding! You look and act just like a couple.’
‘Do we?’ Beth shrugged. ‘We’ve been friends forever. We grew up together, and then we both decided to train as teachers. It seemed natural for us to study together, and so we applied for the same university.’
‘But Max didn’t get in?’
‘Oh, he got in alright.’
‘But he’s a painter and decorator? I don’t know him, but he seems like the sort of guy who would have made a great teacher.’
‘He would have, and I suspect he would be a headmaster by now if life hadn’t got in the way.’
The way Beth said ‘life’ made Abi suspect that she really meant a woman. ‘Life?’ Abi asked before sipping her coffee, before realising she was being nosy, ‘Sorry, it’s none of my business.’
Beth smiled. ‘I’m sure Max wouldn’t mind. Let’s just say he met his wife at university and she had other plans for him, and so the teacher training ended.’
‘She wanted him to be a decorator?’ Abi was confused.
‘No, she wanted him to be a lawyer or accountant or something high-powered. He did try, but he hated it, and she couldn’t understand why. In the end she ran off with someone else. That’s why he’s here. He came back to the area three years ago, and has been working at his decorating business ever since in his attempts to build a new life, and pay the old witch off.’
‘You weren’t a fan of hers then?’
‘Lucinda tore Max apart. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to forgive her for how badly she treated him.’
Beth’s expression had become as dark as Abi’s had been, and even though she was dying to know more about Max, Abi also wanted to lift the mood. Changing the subject, she said, ‘We were going to tell each other what are new adventures were. Shall I go first, or will you?…’
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