Cornish Summer Memories from Kate Riordan

Posted on: August 3rd, 2018

To celebrate the paperback publication of One Cornish Summer Kate Riordan tells us about her Cornish holiday…

Daphne du Maurier’s Ferryside

You don’t have to cross the Tamar Bridge to get to Cornwall but I much prefer it. It’s a proper boundary between the rest of Britain and a place quite separate. I’ve been visiting since I was a little girl and even then I felt the difference; something almost magical about the county at the very end of England. Being a bookworm, this vague air of enchantment was partly inspired by stories that were set there. Malory Towers, with its dramatic clifftop setting and sea-water swimming pool, came first, then the Famous Five. As someone who was scared of the dark in her own north London bedroom, there was something exhilarating about these children who rowed themselves to their own island, slept fearlessly outside on beds of heather and outwitted dangerous smugglers. Then I discovered Daphne du Maurier – my mum buying me a matching set of Rebecca, My Cousin Racheland Jamaica Innwhen I was about eleven – and I was really hooked.


I’ve stayed all over – mostly the rugged north coast as a child and then as a teenager who still loved reading, but who was now also interested in the local boys, with their surfboards and sun-bleached hair. Now, though, it’s the south coast I love best. I got married there – the tiniest wedding we could get away with – celebrating in a mysterious garden overlooking a shining pewter sea. Polperro has become our place now, the lanes almost as familiar as the streets of home these days, the landlord of the Blue Peter still remembering us from our wedding night, when we turned up in our finery and got a free bottle of fizz that we really didn’t need. I love the evenings there, when the day-trippers have trickled away and the moon casts a cool eye over the old cottages. It’s as if the last couple of centuries never happened. And if we’re not in Polperro, we go to Helford, to hide for a while among the twisting creeks, the air a soft breath and silent except for the birds and the soft lap of water.


Kate’s wedding in Cornwall

We’re going back soon because Cornwall is an itch that needs to be scratched a few times a year. The place is in my blood now and I know I’ll always return, and always feel that lift of the heart as the river flashes below the deck of the bridge and the ‘Welcome to Cornwall’ sign comes into view.


Kate’s latest book is The Stranger, already out in hardback, with the paperback out on August 9th.It’s set in a fictional village called Vennor, which is loosely based on Polperro. Here’s the blurb:

Cornwall, 1940.

In the hushed hours of deepest night a young woman is found washed up on the rocks.

Was it a tragic accident? Or should the residents of Penhallow have been more careful about whom they invited in?

In the midst of war three women arrive seeking safety at Penhallow Hall.

Each is looking to escape her past.

But one of them is not there by choice.

As the threat of invasion mounts and the nightly blackouts feel longer and longer, tensions between the close-knit residents rise until dark secrets start to surface.

And no one can predict what their neighbour is capable of . . .

In a house full of strangers, who do you trust?

 Here’s the Amazon link to buy:

Liz here…I’d also love to see and hear about your Cornish Summer memories. If you use the hashtag #OneCornishSummer  and tag me on Facebook, Twitter (@liz_fenwick) or Instagram  (@liz_fenwick) you’ll be in with a chance to win a copy and a bottle of Curio Rock Samphire Gin. (by joining the giveaway you confirm you are over 18). Winner will selected on 12/8/2018.