2016 Book Reviews Hodder & Stoughton Sarah Vaughan
Book Review: The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan
Today's review is for The Farm at the Edge of the World, Sarah Vaughan's captivating second novel and one that I enjoyed immensely. It was published a couple of weeks ago so you can already get your hands on it. Have a look at my thought about it here:
Title: The Farm at the Edge of the World
Author: Sarah Vaughan
Published: June 30th 2016 by Hodder & Stoughton
Blurb: 1939, and Will and Alice are evacuated to a granite farm in north Cornwall, perched on a windswept cliff. There they meet the farmer's daughter, Maggie, and against fields of shimmering barley and a sky that stretches forever, enjoy a childhood largely protected from the ravages of war.
But in the sweltering summer of 1943 something happens that will have tragic consequences. A small lie escalates. Over 70 years on Alice is determined to atone for her behaviour - but has she left it too late?
2014, and Maggie's granddaughter Lucy flees to the childhood home she couldn't wait to leave thirteen years earlier, marriage over; career apparently ended thanks to one terrible mistake. Can she rebuild herself and the family farm? And can she help her grandmother, plagued by a secret, to find some lasting peace?
This is a novel about identity and belonging; guilt, regret and atonement; the unrealistic expectations placed on children and the pain of coming of age. It's about small lies and dark secrets. But above all it's about a beautiful, desolate, complex place.
First of all I would like to thank the publishers for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
Review: I had the pleasure of reading Sarah Vaughan's debut, The Art of Baking Blind, last year and I really enjoyed it. So I was really looking forward to her second book. The first thing I noticed about The Farm at the Edge of the World is that it's a bit darker but it has the same charm and vibrant characters that made me fall in love with the author's style. In fact, I think that I enjoyed this story even more.
I always find dual time stories very interesting and Sarah Vaughan made a great job with this one. Both time lines share the same setting: a seventeenth century farm at the edge of a Cornish cliff. And as the story unfolds, you soon realise that the setting is not the only aspect they share, a the actions of a young girl still have consequences seventy years later.
The story had me captivated from the first page and with every new bit of information, I became more and more involved and wanted to know more. Plus, I might have fallen a bit in love with the setting. The author generous and detailed description of not only the landscape but also the atmosphere, the smells and feeling that piece of land provoked in its inhabitants, made me feel like I was there myself.
This story, as its setting, has two clear opposites. It's filled with beautiful moments, stolen glances and kisses and the promise of love just like Cornwall promises you a beautiful summer when the sun shines and everything is calm and inviting. But there's also loss, betrayal, sadness and desperation, just like the side of Cornwall that tourists are not familiar with, when there's a storm brewing, the sea is raging and the fields are desolated. And I think this is what makes this story so memorable and powerful. It gives you all but it also takes it all away when you least expect it. Definitely worth a read!
Rating: 5 stars