Monday 11 March 2019

Review | The Newcomer by Fern Britton

Published by Harper Collins on March 7, 2019

The Newcomer is an enticing, evocatively written book which had me fascinated from beginning to end with interesting characters and an effortless flow to the writing that made it an ideal escapist read.

Early in the book we meet Simon and Penny and Angela and Robert. Simon is the parish vicar but he is leaving for a year and Angela is his replacement. Whilst the book then focuses on Angela and the job she is doing, it is also the people she meets that charm the reader as instead of simply following along with Angela's story, we get to know many other characters along the way in The Newcomer and they are a bundle of energy each with their own battles. The characterisation in this book is great.

Fern Britton transports the reader with ease to the beautiful Cornish village of Pendruggan with atmospheric descriptions of the setting and the full-of-life characters. It's an ideal read to take you away from real life and make you feel part of a different community for a while, invited in on the gossip shared between Mamie and Queenie, eyes opened for clues on the perpetrator of the cruel letters Angela receives, interest brewing at the attitude of Audrey and if she will soften towards the reverend or indeed anyone at all. The close-knit village feel in this book was full of warmth and positive energy and I really enjoyed getting to know all the characters.

Angela is a very driven and persevering character and as she faces many challenges during her time in Pendruggan, as the reader I was there rooting for her all the way. There are moments of sadness, humour, heart-warming friendships and a touch of the green eyed monster throughout the obstacles put in front of Angela and this made for an entertaining book as every chapter was fresh and engaging and every character (well, maybe except Audrey) was easy to care for and will a happy ending for.

Whilst I found myself really engaged in the characters created by the author, because of this I did wish we could have heard a bit more about how things were going for Simon and Penny as even in the short time we hear from them at the beginning of the book, I very quickly became invested in their story so I would have liked to have learnt a bit more and seen how things progressed for them. However, this didn't take away from what was a truly captivating book.

Though this was the first book by Fern Britton I have read, I do have a few more from the series already waiting for me on my bookshelves and my Kindle so I am looking forward to reading more from the author as The Newcomer was a lovely, absorbing read that beautifully encapsulated both the Cornwall setting and a close-knit village community. I will miss the characters.

Review copy provided by the publisher - this was my honest review.  

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