I was so pleased to be invited to take part in the blogtour for Fern Britton’s new novel as I have read several of her books and thoroughly enjoyed them. First of all, can we just admire that beautiful cover? My copy of the book arrived on a miserable February morning and brought a breath of spring air with it.
Reverend Angela Whitehorn is The Newcomer of the title and has arrived at Pendruggan to fill in for much loved vicar Simon who has gone off to work with street children in Brazil for a year. Her handsome husband Robert is a successful political journalist who has taken a year out to support his wife in her new career. This is Angela’s first parish and she is determined to make a good impression.
As I said, I have read a few of the author’s books set in Pendruggan and Trevay so reading this book was almost like settling down to read about old friends in a very familiar place. It’s not necessary to have read the other books, this reads well as a standalone. If you have read the others though, it’s lovely to meet up with characters you have come across before and get a glimpse of what’s happening in their lives. I love the sound of the fictional Pendruggan and feel Fern Britton has created an idyllic village I’d love to visit. I believe her settings are inspired by Port Isaac, St Dominick and Padstow so I may well have to organise a little holiday around the area sometime and imagine I’m visiting the locations from the books.
I admired the character of Angela. She was so keen to do well in her new charge but also to make a difference. In particular, she wanted to do something to empower the women of the community. In this task she was often up against the redoubtable Audrey Tipton who practically ran everything in the village and liked things to be done her way or not at all! Often in the media and in books, religion is portrayed as outdated, practised only by extremists or those who are slightly mad. It was good to see a faith community portrayed in a positive light, doing its best to support each other and do good in the community for everyone, believer or not.
There were plenty of supporting characters adding interest to the book. I had a particular soft spot for Angela’s Aunt Mamie with her flamboyant stories about her colourful younger life. The PALS group which Angela founded had such interesting women who came along and we got brief glimpses into their lives with their many different situations, worries and joys. Audrey, who I mentioned above, is really the character you love to hate with her snootiness and belief that she is always right, although you may even find a little sympathy for her by the end. Special mention must go to Mr Worthington and his penchant for nosing around in ladies’ handbags. (Don’t worry, he’s the family dog!)
The Newcomer is a warm-hearted and most enjoyable book, one you can easily lose yourself in for a few hours. With themes of love and trust, challenges and perseverance, secrets and friendship, this is an absorbing read. For a small village, there’s always something interesting going on in Pendruggan and I am looking forward to paying a return visit.
My thanks to Rebecca Bryant at Harper Fiction for my review copy of the book and inviting me to be part of the blogtour. The Newcomer is available now in hardback and as an ebook with paperback to follow in June. It will be available to buy or order from your usual book retailer or you can order a copy online here: The Newcomer
From the back of the book
She arrived in the village on the spring tide and hoped to be at the heart of it, knowing its secrets and weathering its storms.
It was to be a new beginning…
It’s springtime in the Cornish village of Pendruggan and as the community comes together to say a fond farewell to parish vicar, Simon, and his wife, Penny, a newcomer causes quite a stir…
Reverand Angela Whitehorn came to Cornwall to make a difference. With her husband, Robert, by her side, she sets about making changes – but it seems not everyone is happy for her to shake things up in the small parish, and soon Angela starts to receive anonymous poison pen letters.
Angela has always been one to fight back, and she has already brought a fresh wind into the village, supporting her female parishioners through good times and bad. But as the letters get increasingly more personal, Angela learns that the secrets are closer to home.
With faith and friends by your side, even the most unlikely of new beginnings is possible.
About the author
Fern Britton is the highly acclaimed author of seven Sunday Times bestselling novels. Her books are cherished for their warmth, wit and wisdom, and have won Fern legions of loyal readers.
A hugely popular household name through iconic shows such as This Morning, Fern is also a much sought-after presenter.
Fern is deeply committed to a number of charities. She lives with her husband, Phil Vickery, and her four children in Buckinghamshire and Cornwall.
To find out more, connect with her at http://www.fern-britton.com, @Fern_Britton and facebook.com/officialfernbritton.
Don’t miss the rest of the blogtour