It’s far too long since I read Amanda Jennings and I’m delighted to rectify that by sharing my review of her latest book The Haven. My huge thanks to the author for sending me a copy of The Haven in return for an honest review.
Published by Harper Collins imprint HQ on 22nd March 2022, The Haven is available for purchase here.
It was meant to be paradise…
Winterfall Farm, spectacular and remote, stands over Bodmin Moor. Wanting an escape from the constraints of conventional life, Kit and Tara move to the isolated smallholding with their daughter, Skye, and a group of friends. Living off-grid and working the land, they soon begin to enjoy the fruits of their labour amid the breathtaking beauty and freedom of the moor.
At first this new way of life seems too good to be true, but when their charismatic leader, Jeremy, returns from a mysterious trip to the city with Dani, a young runaway, fractures begin to appear. As winter approaches, and with it cold weather and dark nights, Jeremy’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic. Rules are imposed, the outside world is shunned, and when he brings a second girl back to the farm, tensions quickly reach breaking point with devastating consequences…
The Haven is the compelling new novel from Amanda Jennings, author of The Cliff House.
My Review of The Haven
Jeremy, Kit and Tara are starting a new idyllic life.
Amanda Jennings writes the sort of books that make your heart ache because she has the ability to convey the very souls of her characters and connect them to the reader’s so that they experience everything as intensely as if it were them participating in the action. And that action is perfectly depicted here so that I experienced a gamut of emotions from sadness to fear, and elation to rage as I read The Haven and found it totally mesmerising.
It was Tara with whom I felt the most affinity because she is so brilliantly portrayed through her first person strands, but all the characters in The Haven, from the most minor like the neighbouring farmer or Tara’s parents, to the most central like Tara, Dani, Kit and Jeremy are absolutely real and vivid. The Haven has a cast of flawed, messy, complicated human beings who illustrate every aspect of reality.
The rural Cornish setting is every bit as important as the characters, with the fables and superstitions of its history serving as portents and warnings for present lives. Cornwall shows benevolence and malevolence in its seasons and weather, so that through the Cornish setting Amanda Jennings steers her reader’s reactions and experiences of reading The Haven with utmost skill. The depth of research that must have gone in to The Haven, particularly with regard to alternative medicine and sustainable living, makes the narrative totally convincing. The Haven is one of those stories you can read without being anxious because you know the author will exceed every expectation in a beautifully written and meticulously plotted narrative that is moving as well as being entertaining.
The ebb and flow of off-grid country life at Winterfall is fascinatingly compelling. I loved the way Amanda Jennings illustrated the fine line between inspiration and insanity, between love and hate, and between friendship and enmity. What we see in The Haven is the elusiveness of genuine happiness. Indeed, it is during winter that the utopia begins to fall so that the setting is perfectly named.
The Haven is impossible to categorise. It’s partly a thriller, partly literary fiction, partly a psychological exploration of relationships and ideals, but however it might be described, The Haven is always gripping, immersive and completely entertaining. I thought it was wonderful and I loved it.
About Amanda Jennings
Amanda Jennings writes psychological suspense and is the author of Sworn Secret, The Judas Scar, In Her Wake, and, most recently, The Cliff House. Her books have been published in translation. Like In Her Wake, The Cliff House is set in Cornwall, where her mother’s side of the family is from, and where she spent many long and very happy childhood summers.
Amanda is a regular guest on BBC Berkshire’s weekly Book Club and enjoys meeting readers at libraries, book clubs and literary festivals. Amanda lives just outside Henley-on-Thames with her husband, three daughters and an unruly menagerie of pets, and is currently writing her fifth book which will be published in 2019.