“The supernatural is the natural, just not yet understood” is the quote which begins this book which makes the most of two storylines set in two time periods. It looks at the calm, contemporary tale of a couple who have moved to the small cottage from Bristol, who hope for a child once the stress of city life is eased. Kitty and Ben are happy in their new lives, though Kitty is beginning to wonder about their cottage. In the other time line, Will is married to Loveday, who is also hoping for a child. This is, however, the time of the First World War, and when Will signs up in the early part of the war Loveday fears for her chance of becoming a mother. This novel is a beautifully written evocation of hope and faith in the setting of the beautiful Cornish countryside, among people who have strong traditions. The after effects of war, the mystery of the supernatural, the essence of belief in what cannot be easily explained all contribute to this masterly novel of love and hope. It is written with a gentleness and descriptive power which marks it out as a very special read. I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to read and review this book.
As Kitty cleans and makes the most of her cottage in the beautiful setting of a small village, she begins to appreciate that there are people who live locally who have a greater understanding of the locality and the history of her cottage. Loveday meanwhile is interested in an offer she has had from a Mrs Cromp, a wise woman of the area, who has knowledge that can change lives. When Will joined the army to go and fight, Loveday knew the chances of having a baby must be put on hold, but still she has hopes. Her journey to consult the wise woman is difficult, there is a surprise in the form of a “Droll Teller”, of tales, but she still has hopes if only Will returns to her. The other local people such as Daisy, the enthusiastic deliverer of post, good and bad, care for the young woman, and the revival of hope that comes. Kitty meanwhile is a thoroughly realistic young woman, but disturbing elements of her home are beginning to disturb her. Involved in the study of herbs, Kitty also becomes fascinated by the history of her cottage, a fascination she shares with her good friend Lizzie, especially when a crisis threatens.
This is a book which benefits greatly from lyrical and beautiful writing, creating a sense of other worldliness, a gentle force beyond explanation. Full of customs and references to local folklore, this book also looks at the significance of the trauma of war. It is honest in its account of two women’s lives, separated by time but linked by threads of belief, however confused. I enjoyed reading this book with its deceptive simplicity and moving revelations. It speaks honestly of the ties of love and hope that go beyond obvious links. It is a very good read, and I recommend it as a vivid and lovely book.
I was really pleased to read this book, which was engaging and honest in its writing. it even mentions an army regiment that my father joined at a young age, so it had a personal link. It shows a deep knowledge of Cornish life and folklore. It is a lovely read!