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January 12, 2014

Book Review - Christmas in Cornwall by Marcia Willett

This is a delicious book. It is gentle and perfectly placed in its environment – the Cornish coast. A fading community of nuns and their surrounding friends ponder their future over a twelve month period. Several characters find the landscape affecting their decision-making. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Cornwall in this book. " Out on the cliff Janna wanders in the golden blowy air…. The mallows and the thrift have finished flowering but pale pink convolvuli climb amongst the granite stone, and there are bright red poppies growing amongst the rain-drenched barley on the wide headlands. The great gull-spaces of clear blue sky are empty but she can see the flocks wheeling down low over the sea: shining white against the bright green, then black against the brilliant dazzling surf. If she were to lie on the grass with her ear to the ground she would hear the booming echoes of the sea-tide surging and retreating in the secret hollow chambers far below. Dossie walks at night….and stands looking out across the pale-cut stubble of the new-cut fields. One small star us tangled in a long fleece of cloud and she can see a ghostly illumination running like pale fire along the black curve of the distant horizon. The moon's bright curved rim appears above the long low hills and it seems as if she can feel the movement of the earth as it tilts towards it. Holding her breath, she watches as the moon rises: full and mysterious and magical. The deep silence is broken only by the querulous cry of an old ewe, the settling and stuttering of small birds in the hedges and two owls calling. Father Pascal passes down the steep cobbled lane between granite, herringbone garden walls and cottages, armour-plated against the weather with grey slates. Hydrangeas – wine-red mopheads and delicate creamy lace-caps – still flower in small sheltered gardens, along with the hardy fuchsias, scarlet and pink. Overhead, the wild warm wind whirls the fine wrought-iron weathercocks dizzily perched on stone chimneys, and flees down narrow alleyways with ginger and golden leaves scurrying before it. Out at sea, … a white sail slices across the choppy water, sharp and fast as a shark's fin." Wendy

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