The Stranger by Kate Riordan ** Blog Tour Review**
I am so happy to be welcoming you to Books, Life and Everything today to celebrate the hardback publication of Kate Riordan's The Stranger, on 22nd March 2018. You can read my review of her book, The Shadow Hour here.
1940, Cornwall, England.
Penhallow Hall shelters a handful of Land Girls, sent to the coast to avoid the horrors of London's Blitz. But the beautiful, arrogant Diana Devlin, impatient with the sleepy village and its placid residents, can't resist the temptation to stir up long-buried secrets.
When a young woman's body is found lying broken on the shore, the promised safety of the Hall is shattered. Was it simply a tragic accident, or did mischief end in murder?
Set in the 1940's, one of my favourite periods for historical fiction, we are introduced to the rugged coastline of Cornwall where three land girls have arrived to work away from the blitz at Penhallow Hall. It may be a sanctuary away from the bombs of London, but you never feel that they are living a cozy existence. There are mysteries and secrets bubbling under the surface from the start. And what a start. Diana Devlin, one of the Land Army girls has disappeared and a body has been found on the beach.
The structure of the story is interesting as after the initial setting out of Diana's disappearance, we are then taken back in time by six weeks and then over the span of the novel, brought back to her disappearance. The story is told through third person accounts, through Diana's diary and through the first person with regards to Diana. You get the sense that the story is stitched together like a tapestry. You do not see the whole picture at first but stitch by stich, the truth appears. You gleam some of the secrets that have been buried in the past and realise what makes certain people tick.
Diana is a marvellous creation. Seemingly unpredictable and irreverent, she has little patience with the people she meets and takes pleasure in stirring up long buried truths. She is as beautiful as she is arrogant. Her fellow land girls are equally as interesting as characters. Rose, a little older and married to a sailor has particular reasons for wanting this placement. Jane, the granddaughter of Penhallow Hall's owner and matriarch, Mrs Fox, who never seems to have been wanted. Then there is Eleanor, Mrs Fox's daughter who seems strained and highly strung. With all these strangers in the house, it seems inevitable that its way of life will be stirred up. With Diana, who does not want to be there, we have a catalyst for mischief and rule breaking.
In short: A slow burning fuse sizzles throughout as secrets are uncovered and truths faced.
About the Author
Kate Riordan is a journalist who started out as an editorial assistant at the Guardian, followed by a stint as deputy editor for the Lifestyle section of Time Out. Kate’s first novel, The Girl in the Photograph was published in January 2015 marking an exciting start to her career, followed by her second novel The Shadow Hour. Kate is now a freelance writer and lives in the Cotswolds.
Book links: Amazon UK
Thanks to Kate Riordan and Jenny Platt of Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.
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