Thursday, 1 September 2016

Summer in Tintagel - Amanda James

We all have secrets…… 

Ambitious journalist Rosa Fernley has been asked to fulfil her grandmother Jocelyn's dying wish. Jocelyn has also passed on a secret - in the summer of 1968, fleeing from the terror of a bullying husband, she visited the mysterious Tintagel Castle. Jocelyn wasn't seeking love, but she found it on the rugged clifftops in the shape of Jory, a local man as enigmatic and alluring as the region itself. But she was already married, and knew her husband would never let her find happiness and peace in Jory's arms. 

Now as her days are nearing their end, she begs Rosa to go back to Tintagel, but is unwilling, or unable, to tell her why. Rosa is reluctant - she has a job in London, a deadline that won't wait and flights of fancy are just not in her nature. Nevertheless, she realises it might be the last thing she will do for her beloved grandmother and agrees to go. 

Once in Tintagel, Rosa is challenged to confront secrets of her own, as shocking events threaten to change everything she has ever believed about herself and her family. She also meets a guide to the castle, Talan, a man who bears a striking resemblance to Jory. 

Will the past remain cloaked in tragedy, sadness and the pain of unrequited love? Or can Rosa find the courage and strength to embrace the secrets of the past, and give hope to the future?

What did I think?

I absolutely loved this book.  I read almost two thirds of it in one sitting and I managed to start and finish it in the same day.  The writing flowed effortlessly and it was so descriptive that I felt as if I was actually in Tintagel myself.  Although it sounds fictional, Tintagel is actually a real place with an impressive castle ruin that is steeped in Arthurian myth and legend.  A few chapters in, I googled the castle and was amazed to find that it was exactly as I had imagined from Amanda James' vivid description.

Rosa is looking after her terminally ill grandmother, Jocelyn, when Jocelyn decides to tell Rosa a secret that she has kept buried for many years.  Jocelyn tells Rosa of a brief visit she made to Tintagel when she was fleeing from her abusive husband.  It was during her visit to Tintagel that Jocelyn fell in love with Jory but, despite their strong feelings, Jocelyn returned to her husband leaving Jory heartbroken.

Jocelyn asks Rosa to visit Tintagel to follow in her footsteps and remind her of the precious time she spent there.  Tintagel is a magical little village, popular with tourists and it even has its very own white witch, Morganna.  Rosa doesn't believe in anything paranormal as her father brought her up to believe that science can explain everything, but in a magical place like Tintagel it isn't long before Rosa is seeing and hearing things that science cannot explain.  Rosa does literally follow in her grandmother's footsteps when she falls in love with Talan, a local man who bears a striking resemblance to Jory.  Has a greater power brought them together?  One which couldn't give a happy ending to Jory and Jocelyn.

I fell completely under the spell of Summer in Tintagel; it is a superbly atmospheric book and I was enthralled by every page from beginning to end.  With vivid descriptions and a stunning location, make sure you visit Amanda James' Tintagel this year.

I received this e-book from the publisher, Urbane Publications, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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