I’m delighted to share my review of Kate Ryder’s Beneath Cornish Skies as part of Rachel’s Random Resources’ blog blitz. My enourmous thanks to the author and to Rachel for inviting me to participate.
Published by Aria on 7th January 2021, Beneath Cornish Skies is available for purchase here.
Beneath Cornish Skies
To an outsider, Cassandra Shaw’s life looks perfect. She lives in a beautiful, luxurious house in the English countryside, with a handsome, wealthy boyfriend who insists she needn’t do a day’s work in her life. But Cassie knows that something is not right. Her boyfriend has grown colder, treating her more like a housekeeper than a future wife. And her time feels empty and purposeless.
Cassandra has always been riddled with insecurities and self-doubt, but, just for once, she decides to take a chance on a new beginning. She answers an advert for a live-in nanny, dog walker, cook and all-round ‘Superhuman’ for a family living in a rambling manor house on the rugged North Cornish coast. The work is hard and tiring, but Cassie has never felt so fulfilled.
As Cassie learns to connect with the natural beauty unfolding around her, Cornwall starts to offer up its secrets. Soon, Cassie starts wondering if she was drawn to this isolated part of the coast for a reason. Why was she guided to Foxcombe Manor? What are the flashes of light she sees in the valley? Is it her imagination or does someone brush past her? And who is the mysterious man living deep in the woods?
A beautiful romance with a hint of ghostliness, Beneath Cornish Skies is for anyone who has ever longed to start their lives again.
My Review of Beneath Cornish Skies
Cassie’s life is about to change!
Beneath Cornish Skies is a sweeping story of landscape, identity and romance that takes the reader through a range of emotions in a glorious setting. Kate Ryder’s writing is an authentic blend of history, geography and the natural world with just a touch of magical realism that is most unusual. She weaves factual detail into her narrative so that there is an added layer of interest and engagement. I looked up some of the references as I read and this added an extra layer of interest for me.
Cassie’s first person narration draws in the reader, making them feel as if Cassie is addressing them personally. I very much appreciated the fact that Cassie’s name changes as she sloughs off her old life and identity, and becomes someone new. She did, however, infuriate me in her attitude to David who so enraged me I could quite cheerfully have caused him physical harm. I wanted her to realise her worth much more quickly, but this is one of the themes of Beneath Cornish Skies and Cassie’s self-discover is essential to the plot.
There’s an intense sense of longing beneath Cassie’s story, not just in her present but in the past too as the reader encounters the ghosts and places of history. Cassie longs for love and happiness, but above all else she wants to belong. I think that feeling will resonate with many readers.
Beneath Cornish Skies is a slow burn of a story and one that rewards a careful reading as mysticism blends with more prosaic elements such as Cassie’s caring for horses and another family. I think it would translate into a successful Sunday evening television series as Cassie learns that her fate is in her own hands. I felt it had a touch of Catherine Cookson in a modern era.
The setting of Cornwall in Beneath Cornish Skies is very vivid and I very much enjoyed the compelling allure of the sea because it felt like a metaphor for Cassie’s life, ebbing and flowing with different moods. I thought Kate Ryder conveyed extremely accurately how life is unpredictable and that we have to be true to ourselves. In fact, the romantic narrative aside, one of the aspects I enjoyed most in Beneath Cornish Skies was the exploration of theme, especially the concept that money doesn’t buy happiness.
Beneath Cornish Skies transports the reader through time and place so that it provides an escape from the real world for a while.
About Kate Ryder
Kate Ryder is an award-winning, Amazon Kindle international best seller who writes timeslip and romantic suspense in a true-to-life narrative. On leaving school she studied drama but soon discovered her preference for writing plays rather than performing them! Since then, she has worked in the publishing, tour operating and property industries, and has travelled widely.
Kate is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors. In 2017, she signed a 4-book contract with Aria (digital imprint of award-winning independent publisher, Head of Zeus).
Summer in a Cornish Cove, a contemporary romantic suspense set on the Lizard Peninsula, gained her a nomination for the RNA’s 2018 Joan Hessayon award, while its standalone sequel, Cottage on a Cornish Cliff, reached the heady heights of No. 2 in Kindle Literary Sagas.
Secrets of the Mist, a mysterious timeslip romance, not only achieved No.1 Kindle best seller flags in the UK, Canada and Australia, but also reached No.49 in Amazon UK Paid Kindle. In the original, self-published version (The Forgotten Promise) it was awarded the first Chill with a Book “Book of the Month”.
Originally hailing from the South East of England, today Kate lives on the Cornish side of the beautiful Tamar Valley with her husband and a collection of animals.
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