Essie Fox’s Top Three Books Set In Cornwall

Posted on: May 6th, 2015

To celebrate the paperback release of A Cornish Stranger on the 23rd of April and Under A Cornish Sky of the 7th of May I’ve asked several of my favourite authors to share their top three Cornish reads.

Here’s what Essie had to say…

Thanks for the opportunity to choose my favourite books set in Cornwall, Liz – although it’s very hard, because once I started to think about this I realised just how many wonderful novels are set there, and how many of them are also my favourite all time reads. Here are just a few …




I can still almost smell that fragrant grass and see its slope down to the edge of the cliffs that drop to the glittering sea below. This is the captivating story of five cousins who gather at their aunt’s idyllic Cornish home to spend a last dizzying, simmering summer before the outbreak of the Second World War. The story does move to a war-torn London, but always at its heart and those of the central characters is the house with the camomile lawn.


THE HOUSE ON THE STRAND by Daphne Du Maurier


I love all of Daphne Du Maurier’s books, but this one is quite different – and perhaps the one that haunts me most. It’s said to be her sixties ‘psychodelic’ novel, and it’s the story of Dick Young who visits a house in Cornwall’s Kilmarth that belongs to his biochemist friend, Magnus. Magnus has been developing a new drug and when Dick becomes his guinea-pig, he finds himself ‘tripping’ back into the past – as far back as the fourteenth century, where he experiences the turbulent loves, deceits and tragedies of people now dead, but who were once strongly connected to the house. As Dick becomes more immersed in those lives, to the point of endangering his own, the novel takes on an increasing sense of dramatic suspense, confusion and peril.


INGO by Helen Dunmore


I adore Helen Dunmore’s writing so much that I found myself reading her YA Ingo as well, and was entirely seduced by the enchantment of place that she creates through her graceful, vivid prose. This is a mermaid tale with an absolute foothold in the reality of everyday ‘land’ life too, as a child struggles with the loss of her father, and the discovery of a heritage that means the only way she’ll ever find him again is by daring to search beneath the sea.




51ojsexRNUL._AA160_Essie Fox writes Victorian novels. Her first, The Somnambulist was featured on the Channel 4 TV Book Club and was shortlisted for the National Book Awards. Her latest The Goddess and The Thief is a gothic oriental set in Victorian England and India.




Please drop by tomorrow for Henriette Gyland’s top three books set in Cornwall…