Cover Image: The River Between Us

The River Between Us

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Member Reviews

Honestly, you know I’m going to like a book when the blurb talks about a pile of lost letters. The only reason this book didn’t get five stars is because it took me a while to get into it. Once I was in it though, oh my goodness – so good. Just ask my partner, I was crying my eyes out at the end!

This is a story of forbidden love set on the bank of the river Tamar, between Devon and Cornwall. The way Fenwick writes immediately captures your imagination and I got quickly found myself caught up in the characters lives. All the action takes place along a dual timeline in the present day and WW1. The link between both the timelines goes much beyond the lost letters and everything is tied together beautifully at the end. 

“It’s our secret. He doesn’t need to know. People mustn’t know.”

There are an abundance of themes covered in this book. We have class distinctions, women’s rights, same-sex relationships, universal suffrage, marrying for titles and status rather than love. You could find yourself lost, but all are blended seamlessly into the narrative without overburdening the reader.

I agree with some other reviewers that I would have liked a family tree to be included in the back of the book. There are so many links between characters, that it would have been a useful visual tool, especially for anyone who got lost in the plot.

Overall, I thought this was a charming read. It is ultimately a story of love and loss, that will mess with your emotions.
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Such a lovely romantic read. 
I was so mesmerised from the first chapter it was hard to put down but I did not want it to end.
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A really food read .The story starts in 2019 and when Theo buys an old cottage she discovers some letters which tell of many secrets from the past ,and as it takes you back to before the first world war it is both beautiful and moving. It tells of many different kinds of love and what is finally revealed makes this a very interesting novel
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I loved everything about The River Between Us, so much so that my dreams carried on the story, and awake, my thoughts often returned to Theo and Alice.

Narrations in the historical past, recent past and 2019 lead us through an emotional minefield.

Alice’s love story is poignant.  She’s a woman who isn’t afraid to break through society’s expectations but she does pay the price through isolation.  She’s so consumed by emotion that she’s not able to think outside of that rawness.  Her ultimate sacrifice shows her strength and her maturity.  So much suspense in this timeline!

54 year old Theo is re-learning who she is and is on her path of finding the strength and confidence to allow herself to be that person.   The community at Horsebridge and specifically Abbotswood give her much more than the space to do that!

The past intertwines with 2019 in surprising ways.  And there are surprises in each narration too.  I love how we’re teased with clues in one timeline but the reveals make us take stock of what we thought.

The historical past is authentic – the social divide, expectations, roles in society but also small nuggets like how you would be treated if you had asthma.  I was as absorbed in this timeline as I was in 2019. 

Another thing I wanted to share, Liz Fenwick’s love of plants and botany is very much in evidence in both timelines.  She uses her knowledge to add another layer of meaning to the story.

The River Between Us is a testament to the legacy of love, family and survival.  Of where we’ve come from and where we’re going.  Of secrets revealed that are empowering. 

One of my favourite reads this year.
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This is the first novel I've read by the author and I was attracted by the synopsis, the Cornish setting and the dual timeline. After her divorce Theo purchases a cottage on the River Tamar on the Devon/Cornwall border. She discovers letters written during World War I between two lovers from different classes. Fenwick certainly creates a real sense of time and place and brings the setting to life. I did find it hard to become immersed in the novel initially and felt that it could have been a little more fast paced. Overall however, it was an enjoyable and easy read that I'd recommend if you enjoy this genre.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this digital ARC. 
3.5 stars
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When Theo wants to escape her life after her divorce she  buys a cottage (unseen) on the River Tamar that divides Cornwall and Devon and so begins a magical and thought-provoking story that links the past, the early 1900s and the present. It is obvious that the author has a love for this part of the world from her evocative descriptions of the countryside about this tumble down cottage. Whilst Theo is recreating her new life making friends at the big house which is now an hotel, developing a garden she also restores the cottage and finds a carefully ribbon bound set of letters sent from the battle fields of France and the forbidden love story of a  young game keeper Zach and a young Lady Alice. As the cottage was once part of an estate where Alice visited her cousin Constance and their lives were supported by a loving Nanny, it doesn't seem strange that the letters are there.. The early years of the 19th Century are brought to life and the divide that exsisted between the classes and the pressure for a young lady to be presented so that she could make a good marriage, as well as the shifting world political scene that came to a head in those years. 
The fact that the parents of the wealthy young ladies were not interested in their lives and Lady Alice's Mother is a very opinionated person with no love for anyone but herself. 
How the story develops both in the present and the past is skillfully handled and the twists and turns lead to a satidfactory ending for any reader.
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Always enjoy books by this author and this one was no different.                   .           .                          .
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Well written in part and plotted, the story weaves between the turn of the century and the two World Wars to the current day, tracing affairs of the heart. In a nutshell it’s a family saga concerned with finding out who you are and from where you came. DNA findings really add to stories such as these; it’s no longer all about resemblance to some Great Lady in a portrait.... 

The  inspiration for the setting and story is described by the author at the end. 

I found it all quite involved and found keeping a note of the names, relationships and a time-scale of events very, very  useful. 

I read all up to around a third and skimmed the rest. I wasn’t interested enough in the characters to plough through the rest. The dialogue was rather stilted and the characters mostly all sounded too much like each other. 

There’s nothing wrong with this novel, it seems other early readers have really enjoyed it, but it wasn’t for me.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an ARC.
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A beautifully crafted story by Liz Fenwick entwining past and present.

A broken marriage, a tumbledown cortage and an overgrown garden, Theo has relocated to the River Tamar to mend her broken heart. However, mystery surrounds her when she finds some old letters tied up sent from the battlefields of WW1.

Can Theo come to terms with her new start in life and solve the secrets and mystery of a long hidden love affair.

Descriptive and absorbing from start to finish. If you love history crossing with the present, then this is the book for you.
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The River Between Us is a dual-timeline story split between the present day, and the years immediately before and after WW1. Boatman’s Cottage is at the heart of the story; it is a refuge for recently divorced Theo where she can take stock and decide what to do next, and where she discovers the hidden letters that introduce us to the mystery surrounding Alice and Zach.  
I enjoyed reading about both timelines, but found the length of the sections devoted to each to be a bit uneven. When we are first introduced to Alice, I thought that part of the story went on for too long – the pace was slow and I had almost forgotten what happened at the beginning. This is a minor criticism more than made up for by the quality of the writing and characterisation.
The River Tamar, on the border between Devon and Cornwall, and the houses located on either bank, makes for a very atmospheric setting; it comes through in the writing that Liz Fenwick obviously knows and loves this part of the country well. The River Between Us is the first book of hers that I have read but it won’t be the last. 
I found I had to concentrate as a lot of characters are introduced, with complicated relationships between them, but I really enjoyed reading as their secrets and connections are gradually revealed. It was fascinating reading about Alice’s life before WW1, the restrictions placed on women of her class and the gulf between the classes. The title is very apt and can be interpreted on more than one level. There are parallels drawn between lives of Alice and Theo – particularly their horrendous mothers – but also many differences. The River Between Us would be a good choice for book clubs as there is a wealth of subject matter that would result in some very lively discussions.
Thanks to HQ and NetGalley for a digital copy to review.
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An intriguing story that captured my imagination.

The story is written over a dual timeline spanning 100 years, and slowly unravels to reveal an intriguing love story.

The writer’s descriptions of the Devon and Cornwall border and river Tamar are wonderfully evocative. I could almost smell the fragrant gardens around the cottage!

Overall, a wonderful story and one I was disappointed to finish as I wanted it to carry on!
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This is the first book,I have read by the author but hopefully it will not be my last. A well constructed story with wonderful characters. A page turner that was both poignant and up lifting. Thoroughly recommended.
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Wanting to escape after her divorce, Theo Pascoe buys Boatman’s Cottage, sight unseen, on the banks of the river Tamar. What she finds is an old, rundown but potentially beautiful house, and with the help of Hugo, manager of the adjoining Abbotswood Hotel, begins to renovate it, at the same time uncovering the secrets hidden for nearly 100 years.

The River Between Us is an enjoyable tale, flitting between Theo’s new life and friendships in Devon and the lives of Lady Alice and Lady Constance, cousins who lived on the estate in the early 1900s.  There are many characters and the relationships between them got rather complicated - I’m still not totally sure I understood how it all fit together at the end, but I throughly enjoyed getting there!  Slow to start with, but a good story overall.
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This is an epic covered via a dual storyline that tells a story of love, war, loss, compromise and missed opportunities that is captured over several generations. It moves between the characters from past times starting in 1914 to more modern times and how fate draws all the prior family connections together.
Whilst the premise may sound a little twee, it was a captivating read, where the characters were vivid and memorable that carried you into their immersive world and the trappings of how things were and still can be in our times.
Tough circumstances, tough decisions that caused strife and left some families bereft. It was immersive, palpable and credible. Loosely based on some historical events and places made it even more authentic. Despite the times, the key female characters were ultimately quite strong.
It was incredibly well layered, with lots of cleverly woven details and links. Life for these characters were never straight forward nor necessarily easy, despite their status. The pace was comfortable, neither fast not slow, with exceptional dialogue and backdrop descriptors. The layering kept it moving and interesting as the characters were fleshed out and developed. Excellent evocative escapism. A literary journey that flows and captivates.
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A Liz Fenwick book is always guaranteed to be a wonderful escape. The River Between Us is no exception. Filled with intrigue and family secrets, it has romance, a wonderful plot and is just storytelling at it's simplest and best.
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This was lovely, i enjoyed it from start to finish. I liked the storylines and characters and how they intertwined and the descriptions of the relationships between everyone were well drawn, i would recommend this for people who like historical fiction and gardens
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This is my first read by the author and I really enjoyed it. Set in Cornwall/Devon backdrop, the story is written so beautifully.  This story has mystery dating back to WW1 and romance.  The characters are all relatable and diverse. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend.
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Another great book by one of my favourite authors in my favourite party of the country.  A lovely story in two timelines but as the secrets start to unfold the link between the two start to become clear and it is a great family historical saga with a beautiful setting and unforgettable characters
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Lovely story set in the part of the country where I live, hence why I was keen to read this book.  It starts off in the present day, with Theo buying and moving into an old cottage by the river.  Whilst setting about furnishing and bringing the cottage to life from an almost derelict state, she makes a discovery of some old letters in the bottom of a cupboard.  Intrigued, she starts to read them.  The story then switches back to just before the First World War and tells the story of the people writing the letters and their lives..

As the book progresses, you gradually start to see how the past is linked with the present day, when the story switches between the two.  I have to say that it did start to seem quite complicated and I did get a little lost at all the names that were appearing, but it did all become clear as the book went on.

A very enjoyable book, set a wonderful part of the world with some lovely characters.  A well told story with a few surprises along the way.

Thank you to Net Galley and the publishers for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review, which is what I have given.
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What a beautiful book. I saw the cover of this book and as a massive lover of Cornwall and history it just had to be read. The love, heartache and stories of these families was amazing to read. I struggled to put the book down at all. I would highly recommend reading this to anyone.
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