It’s publication day today for Liz Fenwick’s latest novel, The River Between Us, and I’m delighted to share my review of this wonderful book. I’ve read several of the author’s books before and loved them, and I’m pleased to say that this book definitely did not disappoint.
Liz Fenwick writes so beautifully and I was quickly immersed in this story of secret love and long buried mysteries. There’s intrigue right from the start with the unidentified remains of soldiers killed in WW1 found in a field in France. Who were they and what would be their significance to the the story? The search to identify these men by tracing relatives of soldiers known to be lost at that time and using DNA continues throughout the story. Although those particular parts make up a relatively small proportion of the story, I found it fascinating especially as we start to find out possible connections to the story.
I love a dual timeline story and this one was told so well. In the present, we have Theo who has bought Boatman’s Cottage on the banks of the Tamar without even seeing it, as she moves on from a marriage breakdown. The cottage was dilapidated and as she starts to clean and renovate it, she finds a stash of letters from a century before, letters which tell of a great love. A hundred years before, we follow the story of Lady Alice, sent to the countryside in disgrace after speaking out about women’s suffrage, and Zach, the young gillie on the estate. The way the stories were woven together was done so well and made for a really immersive reading experience for me. I was equally caught up with both stories. The great romance and secrets from the past were balanced out well by Theo investigating the past and the history of the cottage. Theo had some secrets of her own which also come to light. I thought that Liz Fenwick wrote about the two stories and the connections between them in such a clever way. I loved trying to work out all the links between the different storylines and the characters.
And I have to mention the gorgeous setting on the banks of the beautiful River Tamar, the boundary between Cornwall and Devon. There’s a river between the counties and a metaphorical river separating Alice and Zach. Very near the beginning, we read the estate agent’s particulars for Boatman’s Cottage, a 19th Century on the banks of the river and in ten acres of woodland – you can read those in the first chapter of the book here: Chapter One. As I said, Theo bought it without even going to see it and I can understand why. I think I’d want to do the same. Admittedly it was in need of a great deal of renovation but it sounded just wonderful, a real bolthole and refuge for Theo after the end of her marriage, a place of safety and a new start. It was just as much a place of safety for Alice and Zach a hundred years before.
The River Between Us is a book to settle yourself down with this summer and you’ll soon become lost in its pages. It’s such a gorgeous, evocative story and I loved it!
My thanks to the publishers HQ for my review e-copy of the book from Netgalley. The River Between Us is published today in ebook. audiobook and paperback formats. You should be able to buy your copy from your usual bookseller. Alternatively you will find buying options for various retailers at the Harper Collins website here: The River Between Us
From the back of the book
Following the breakdown of her marriage, Theo has bought a tumbledown cottage on the banks of the river Tamar which divides Cornwall and Devon. The peace and tranquillity of Boatman’s Cottage, nestled by the water, is just what she needs to heal.
Yet soon after her arrival, Theo discovers a stash of hidden letters tied with a ribbon, untouched for more than a century. The letters – sent from the battlefields of France during WW1 – tell of a young servant from the nearby manor house, Abbotswood, and his love for a woman he was destined to lose.
As she begins to bring Boatman’s Cottage and its gardens back to life, Theo pieces together a story of star-crossed lovers played out against the river, while finding her own new path to happiness.
The River Between Us beautifully explores the mystery and secrets of a long-forgotten love affair, and will be loved by fans of Kate Morton.
About the Author – in her own words
Writer, ex-pat expert, wife, mother of three, and dreamer turned doer….
Award winning author of The Cornish House, A Cornish Affair, A Cornish Stranger, Under A Cornish Sky, The Returning Tide, One Cornish Summer, The Path to the Sea and the novella A Cornish Christmas Carol. After ten international moves, I’m a bit of a global nomad. It’s no wonder my heart remains in Cornwall.