A Cornish Inheritance by Terri Nixon – A story of the 1920s featuring women who must make changes

 

Love, tragedy and lies are all on the beautiful Cornish coast, in the first book in a series which describes the fate of a family. Helen is a woman who seems to have everything; a wealthy husband, three children, and a lovely lifestyle. A tragedy means that she must relearn how to live, and readjust her views of the life she has always lived. This 1920, and many people around the family are carrying scars which are not always obvious. Those who were lost, those who witnessed terrible things, those who have worked hard to keep things going even when economic depression begins to hit, all have a role to play in what emerges as a community in and around the Fox Bay Hotel. As people, especially the children, grow and change, there is much about the obsessions that people have and affect their lives. Some pretend, some are truthful, but all are seeking their best way to live. This book manages to take a wide sweep through various lives, but also put in the details that set and define the scene. The countryside is described as a place of work as well as beautiful scenery. The author has exerted every effort to establish and develop the characters, and does an amazing job of testing each one to the limits. I was very pleased to have the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

The book begins with a motorcycle race in which emotions are exposed like never before, and a significant event takes place. The action then reverts to the past, and a party at which Helen is convinced that everyone knows something that she has been excluded from by Harry.The party also displays the social front that Helen and her husband Harry Fox put on; popular, lively and definitely the centre of a group of friends. A rapid change of fortunes sees the family at the Fox Bay hotel, adjusting to new circumstances and meeting new people. It is all extremely well described and moving in the depth of feeling conveyed.The hotel has a wealthy and well connected clientele which is attracted by its reputation and location. As Helen becomes more involved in the running of the hotel, she becomes more concerned by her children. She does however, make a friend, the lively Leah Marshall, who seeks to hide her tragic past behind a self confidence and ability to convince people of different things. 

 

This book is a moving evocation of a period in the twentieth century when women were being forced to find new ways to live. It revels in the details of life at the time, and conveys a near visual image of the surroundings of a hotel that would have been a desirable place to stay. There are well constructed plot twists which can surprise, as well as logical outcomes of carefully worked out characters. The women described in the book are tough and determined when they need to be, even when they have been passive previously. I found it a refreshing and informative book in terms of what women could actually do and the effect they could have on those around them. This book also sets up some fascinating threats to be taken up in subsequent books in the series, and makes me keen to find out more about the Fox family. Altogether this is a well written book with much to offer the reader.