Publishing year: 2015
This new novel takes place in Pennfleet, a village in Cornwall.
The starting point is two funerals that take place in the same day.
The first funeral is of a woman called, Joy Jackson, a nurse in the village, loved and respected. The woman died when she fell down the stairs, and now that her funeral is to take place, her only daughter, Kate, comes from New York. Kate has a hectic job in Manhattan; she is a party planner for the rich and her boss is constantly phoning her with complications. Since she moved to New York, Kate has changed. Since she needs to project a certain image to her customers, she has become very slim, not allowing herself to eat anything that could boost her calorie count, she dresses in designer’s clothes, and she even has to take sleeping tablets to get some sleep. Kate reflects that she admired her mother because Joy never cared about what other people thought and she was comfortable in her own skin.
The first day Kate lands in Pennfleet, she drops by a café, and the waiter is sympathetic when she tells him the reason why she is there. Then we learn more about this man, Sam, the café owner. He is a widower and has two teenage children, Daisy and Jim. Sam used to be an A&E consultant, and in a cruel joke of destiny his wife came through the A&E doors after an accident she had been involved when the other driver was texting. Louise died, leaving him bereft. Then a letter came to his door, offering him to buy his house, so he decided to accept the offer, leave his job, move to Pennfleet where he and his family used to spend summers, and get a lease for the café. Now Sam doesn’t regret his decision, supported by his children. We get to see that Sam has a terrific relationship with his children, and now Daisy and Jim discuss that their father is lonely and should find a girlfriend, and they have plans. I wonder what these two are up to?
The other funeral in town is for Spencer Knight, a wealthy businessman, who died of a stroke. We get to learn more about his wife, Vanessa. She used to be a simple shop keeper, and when Spencer came to her shop, urgently needing a present for a wedding, Vanessa helped him. After the wedding, Spencer returned and asked her out, and that was the beginning. Vanessa knows that people always thought that she was a gold digger, but in reality she did love Spencer. However, things changed when Vanessa had an ectopic pregnancy and as a result, she was unable to have children. That changed everything between them. Vanessa moved out of London and settled in Pennfleet where Spencer had a house, and they only met at the weekends, and even then, they had separate bedrooms. Vanessa doesn’t know if her husband had lovers, but she doesn’t really care much. What Spencer gave her was a shop for new artists, and this has been her push in life since then.
Interesting characters. I am longing to know more about them and how they will interact.