Cover Image: The Path to the Sea

The Path to the Sea

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Member Reviews

Wow what a mesmerising evocative story of mystery, intrigue and lost loves.  A beautiful family home called Boskenna in Cornwall is is the backdrop to this story and it is the stories of Joan, Diana her daughter and Lottie her grandaughter.  Three very strong women who each have a story to to tell but all wrapped up in one. The storyline was very easy to follow and engaging from the beginning.  The characters shone though and it was hard to put the book down so was reading into the small hours.  Absolutely a must read.  I have never read anything by Liz Fenwick but I will certainly be looking for more by her now.
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Wonderful book set in a beautiful old house- Boskenna, in rugged Cornwall. Liz Fenwick writes so beautifully that I can easily imagine myself in the house and countryside.  It follows a grandmother, mother and daughter, all with secrets and issues to work through. I always get totally engrossed in the story and can't wait to read more. The housework has to wait.
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Boskenna, the beautiful old house on the Cornish cliffs, is the home of the Trewin family and many secrets.   Joan is dying and her daughter Diana and granddaughter Lottie arrive to be by her bedside.   Lottie is very close to her grandmother but Diana is not,  feeling that she was never loved by her and we have flashbacks to the weekend in 1962 when Diana's beloved father died and gradually the family secrets start to spill out.  

Another great book by Liz Fenwick I have read all of her books and loved all of them,  there is a perfect mix of intrigue,  romance and family saga and all set in Cornwall, my favourite part of the country, a perfect holiday read
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The book is set in Boskenna, a beautiful, rundown cliffside in Cornwall and covers one weekend in August in 2018 and the repercussions of events that happened that same weekend in 1962. Three generations of women come together when the oldest, Joan is dying. She lives at Boskenna with her second husband George and her estranged daughter Diana, a troubled, successful journalist who wants answers from her mother about her past. Then there's Diana's daughter, Lottie, who is dealing with her own private issues.

The story travels back in time and as each of them deal with the inevitable we discover the reason why Joan and Diana's relationship is strained, we learn of Lottie's troubles and the ghosts in her past that she's learning to deal with. Diana's past is one of glamour, mystery and heartache and it fascinated me. I don't want to give any spoilers, but will say that I was completely absorbed by this book and that there were a lot of surprises along the way.

I loved this beautifully written book. Although not always likeable, Diana and Joan's stories are fascinating. I loved Lottie's determination to delve into their secrets and discover the truth about what happened that August weekend in 1962. An unputdownable, perfect holiday read.
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Thanks to NetGalley for an early copy in return for an honest review
A very good read and one I can highly recommend to others. 
I could not put this down.
Thoroughly enjoyable with an amazing cast of characters that you cannot help but engage with.
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Another absolutely delightful Liz Fenwick novel.  I love everything she writes. She can do no wrong. A wonderful storyteller.
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This ARC was courtesy of netgalley - all opinions below are mine and unbiased

Oh, this is sooo  my genre - absolutely love historical fiction and so excited to have found Liz Fenwick - I have not read any of her work before but absolutely will be in future

This is a wide, sweeping family saga - drew me in right from the beginning - couldn't put this down - I read it in one sitting - its that good

Well written, wonderful, rounded character - an absolute must read
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Joan, who is Diana's mother and Lottie's grandmother is dying. Although Lottie's is very close to her grandmother,Diana is not. She has always felt her mother didn't love her. Diana's father died in 1962 and she has never accepted her mother's second husband.
As mother and daughter take turns sitting at Joan's bedside they both have questions about the past. Why is Diana's memory of her father so vague? Bit by bit looking through Joan's  belongings they find the truth of what happened all those years ago.

In 1962 we meet a young Joan, host of parties,loving mother,loving wife. There are also secrets about her that only a few are privy too. Her young daughter Diana worships her father and spends lots of her time with him. No one suspects that on the night of one party life is about to change.

I loved this story,full of mystery and intrigue. It was definitely a page turner. Three generations of woman, one who knows everything and the other two searching for the truth.
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Liz Fenwick employs an unusual structure for this story of 3 generations of women, Joan, Diana and Lottie. At the heart of the novel is the mystery surrounding the death of Joan's first husband, Diana's father, in August 1962 when he was working for the foreign office in Moscow at the time of the Cold War. The events of 4th/5th August are told in 1962 by Joan and eight year old Diana, and 4th/5th August 1918 by Diana and her adult daughter Lottie, as Joan is dying and semi conscious. I found this an utterly compelling story.
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A beautifully written family drama that draws you in from the beginning. 
Three generations of women, a beautiful house, a plot that moves effortlessly through the different time lines makes for a compulsive read. 
Wonderful characterisation, well written and a fantastic setting. 
Would definitely recommend this book.
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Set in the rugged beauty of Cornwall, a family drama, that is both heartbreaking and heartwarming, unfolds through the eyes of a dying grandmother, a driven daughter and a dutiful granddaughter. Each woman loves the house on the Cornish cliff, even though it is the scene of tragic events that have marred their lives.

Joan has a secret, kept hidden for most of her adult life, but now she is dying, she wants forgiveness and understanding. Told from her point of view as a young, mother in 1962, her secret life and the terrible events of the last family holiday at the house are revealed.

Diana has never forgiven her mother for taking her away from the house she loved, and leaving her to a soulless boarding school when as a grieving child all she needed was her mother’s love and presence. In her mother’s final days, she returns to her childhood holiday home, wanting answers, but most of all wanting to make sense of her life. We learn her story in 1962, as she discovers the answers she seeks in 2018.

Lottie lurches from crisis to crisis, seeking something that only her mother could give her, but never did. She doesn’t understand her mother’s coldness, and is grateful for the love and support her grandmother gives her. Returning to the house where she spent many happy childhood days, she finds more questions than answers, and is determined to confront her mother, about the father she refuses to discuss.

The plot moves effortlessly between 2018, 2008 and 1962, as the love, pain and secrets are uncovered and revealed. The three outwardly successful women, all hide emotional pain, that has damaged the part of their lives that should be the most precious.

The parts of the plot set in 1962 are rich in historical detail and are notably atmospheric, the fear surrounding the escalation of the cold war is tangible, and adds to the family drama that unfolds. The plot has many twists and the complex characters are authentic. You become engrossed in their lives and as the truth reveals itself, the true poignancy of the situation is breathtaking.

‘ The Path to the Sea is enthralling to read, it takes you back to another world, but lets you see how the problems and fears are just as relevant today. The family dysfunction, and the events that precipitated it is very sad, it perfectly illustrates how personal sacrifice can facilitate a greater good. The ending is hopeful, speaking of forgiveness, and lessons learned.

The perfect Summer read.

I received a copy of this book from HQ in return for an honest review.
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This is a beautifully written tale of three women, of their love, interaction, relationships and history. Mother, Daughter and Granddaughter all have pasts, secrets and issues to face.  
The story centres around Joan, a diplomat’s wife in the Cold War era, her war correspondent daughter Diana, and her artist granddaughter Lottie and explores the decisions made to protect those they love and the consequences of those actions.  Joan is dying and everyone is gathering as her life draws to a close.
Liz Fenwick has long been one of my favourite authors and she just gets better with every novel.  This was number seven and I was soon engrossed in such clever interweaving of their stories, using the historic and modern-day threads to gradually reveal the secrets at the heart of the book.
There is a fourth main character at the heart of the story, the wonderful Boskenna, the cliff top Cornish House to which the three women are drawn and where so much of their history took place.  The house was brought to life by the descriptive powers of the author.  I love Cornwall and I was transported to the cliffs and the views from the windows and, of course, the agapanthus. Liz posted pictures from the house on which Boskenna was based and it was exactly as I had imagined it – down to the furnishings and the flowers!  
Liz really is a master of description and in giving her novels a marvellous sense of time and place.   I really cared about the characters, living in the hope that the secrets would be shared and the decisions and the past forgiven.   This is wonderful writing from the Queen of the contemporary Cornish novel (I agree with the Guardian) and I am already looking forward to seeing what Liz does next.

Thanks to Liz, Net Galley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an advance copy of the novel.  It is going to make the ideal birthday present for my Mum, who also loves Liz's books and Cornwall, almost as much as I do!
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This lovely book surpassed my expectations in so many ways – my goodness, it was wonderful! I really hadn’t expected a story quite like this, or the complexity of its construction. I will admit it did wrong-foot me at first – after two short attempts to read, I was finding it difficult to grasp the different timelines and found that frustrating (and not really like me at all). But I then managed to carve out an uninterrupted afternoon, an opportunity to immerse myself, and this book delivered so very much more than I’d ever dared to hope for.

Liz Fenwick is a very skilled story teller, and this book draws you in and manipulates your thoughts and feelings in a way I’ve rarely experienced. The shifts in time that I’d been struggling with became entirely natural, a perfect ebb and flow, the dates and relative ages of the women quite evident even without the dates and names in the chapter headings, as the story slipped smoothly backwards and forwards between the timeframes of its settings.

There are three main characters – diplomat’s wife Joan, revisited as the end of her life approaches; Diana, Joan’s young daughter in the earlier part of the story, in her 60s and with an interesting history as she returns to Boskenna House; and Lottie, Diana’s daughter and Joan’s granddaughter, who previously departed under a cloud and returns with secrets of her own. There are points in the story when you take each of them to your heart, and times when their behaviour can make you waver between love, sympathy and anger. The character development is quite breathtaking, the relationships between the women deeply convoluted at an emotional level, their individual stories tied up with the political and historical context – the Cold War, all its smoke and mirrors, the intrigue and suspense, its contemporary impact and its legacy – and the layering of family secrets that follows.

The whole book is an immensely satisfying sensory experience, the author’s descriptive powers quite exceptional – whether it’s the house that so effectively ties the story and its characters’ lives together, the Cornish surroundings of gardens and shore, or the many richly detailed and textured moments that make up the detail of the story. She makes you feel that you’re living in every moment with the characters – whether it’s a dramatic scene on a clifftop, events seen through young Diana’s eyes at a party, or at Joan’s bedside struggling to understand her words as she loses her grip on life.

The story itself consumes you, and its emotional impact is so powerful – guilt at so many levels and for so many reasons, that all-consuming love that makes you ache, the sense of waste and the agony of loss, with the hope of redemption through forgiveness and understanding. I cared so much for this book’s flawed characters, and felt an immense sense of loss when my reading experience was over. A really wonderful read – and very highly recommended.
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Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher.  I have liked all the books this author has written.  This is a beautiful book set in Cornwall and is about 3 generations of family.  Would recommend to other readers.
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I have read all of Liz’s books, loved them, and recommend them!

Being from the west country, I enjoy Liz’s books set in Cornwall and you can feel yourself transported there.

This story is about three women; grandmother Joan, mother Diana, and daughter Lottie. They return to Boskenna, the home on the cliffs, when Joan is dying. Secrets from the past come to the future and mysteries are solved.

I sometimes struggle with novels that have chapters swapping between years and characters, but Liz has made it seamless and easy to follow.  The storyline is amazing, an unusual twist unfolds and it had me gripped.  I had difficulty putting it down to get sleep!

Thank you to NetGalley and HQ/Harper Collins for an advance reader copy in return for an honest review.
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It was the first book I read by Liz Fenwick and it won't surely be the last.
It is well written, engrossing and makes you root for the characters.
I liked the style of writing, the cast of characters and the lovely setting.
I look forward to reading other books by this author.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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This book was a lot better than I thought it was going to be. There is a a lot more to the story. It is a really interesting read full of surprises right up to the end.

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
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Another fantastic book from Liz Fenwick - she just keeps on getting better and The Path to the Sea proves she really is the ‘Queen of the contemporary Cornish novel’. Would highly recommend.
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Three women, Grandmother, Mother, Daughter and one house - Boskenna almost like the fourth women in this story of secrets and lies and the mystery that can arise from one action and subsequent reactions.

It is the 1960s, the world is still very much in the throws of the Cold War, there is much going on. To get a break from that Joan and her diplomat husband have arrived to spend time in Cornwall, at their home, Boskenna. However it seems that you are never alone.

One weekend, to celebrate her husband's birthday a house party is underway but there is some undercurrent between the walls, between the guests and between Joan and her husband.

Events take a rather interesting and dangerous course and it is one weekend that no one will ever forget.

Especially Joan's daughter, Diana.

She witnesses many things, she is apart of everything but is unseen in the shadows as she watches the glamourous people at her fathers party. But some things she sees are forever indelibly seared on her brain and she can always see them, she can always feel the guilt for the events that happened.

She has hardly ever returned to Boskenna but now forced to because of the ill health of her mother, she is going to have to confront her past.

This forces, Diana to be rather distant with her own daughter, Lottie.

Escaping from the disasters of her life in London, Lottie returns to Boskenna to see her grandmother in her final days. Her grandmother apologises, reminiscent of a deathbed confession and Lottie, intrigued by what has happened in the past and very much affected by what has happened to her tries to find out the truth.

This novel is told from all the three main character points of view, to help with your understanding and timeline, chapters are dated so we go between present day and the past.

The writing is so subtle that I was immediately drawn into the house party of Boskenna and the mystery that continued to build around the events and the house had me in mind of Rebecca.......I was convinced that Mrs Danvers was going to appear. Whilst of course she doesn't the secrets that are tied up in the house and the family are going to have to come out.

In present day telling, the mystery that Lottie was trying to unravel was fascinating and the discovery of diaries and pictures added to it all.

The Cornish setting added to the atmosphere and the author has an uncanny knack of making it all three dimensional away from the page. I could taste the salt in the sea air and feel the heat of the sun.

The Path to the Sea works on so many levels and is a book to escape right into and immerse yourself in secrets of history, of life, of family and of love.
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Another fab book from Liz Fenwick. Love the descriptions of Cornwall, makes you feel like you're there!
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