When I picked this book up and saw that it was the fourth in a series, I was momentarily conflicted – between knowing that this book would undoubtedly be a book that I would enjoy (it was popular enough to become a series) and a sense of having missed out on three previous books. I opted for the former assumption and I discovered, to my mixed delight, yet shame that I was not wrong. The delight – This book was enchanting from the very first word to the last, and it brought unequivocal joy to my weekend, especially when I realised (to my shame – how could I have not realised) that I had actually read one book in the series about Julianne before; so it was on a par with greeting old friends or family that you haven’t seen for ages. The author’s undoubted talent was in no way diluted and I am immensely looking forward to appeasing my self-contempt by consuming the remaining tomes in the series, as soon as humanly possible.
In my defence – there are lots of novels set in Cornwall – but having finished reading this novel, I can confirm that this particular novel comes from a truly thoroughbred stable and I can only apologise to Laura Briggs for my temporary lack of recollection for the glorious Julianne and her equally splendid family.
Being a Mother who has tried to make various costumes over the years, I immediately empathised with Julianne as she was making her Son’s frog costume. It brought to mind the time my Daughter came home from school with ‘the dreaded letter’ many years ago. Some witt had decided that she and her peers should dress up as mathematical instruments. Cue me, spending days making the most diabolical looking calculator costume ever! I embroidered the detail on all the buttons and it was still bad. What still rankles to this day, is the fact that the school gave a prize to a kid wearing a box, with dice dots painted on! I was probably most peeved that the dice costume looked so much better than my calculator, even if it had taken a fraction (while we are in the subject of maths🤓) of the time to pull off!
The story starts around Halloween and such were the wonderful descriptions of the seasonal paraphernalia, I almost felt as though I was there, surrounded by pumpkins and apples with autumnal scents pervading the atmosphere. My read was in its infancy, but I was already enjoying it immensely. This was fuelled no doubt by the marvellous partnership that was Julianne and Kitty, together with Julianne’s gorgeous family. I defy anyone not to immediately warm to these central characters in the book.
Sadly there had been some vandalism in the village where this book was set. This had been attributed to the local errant youths – but could the incidents be down to something else a little more sinister? After all, every born and bred local has known about the village ghosts, from an early age……It certainly seems that once a tiny seed of intrigue and mystery has been planted, nothing is going to stand in its wake. It’s akin to unknown seeds in a compost heap. Nobody is quite sure how they got there, but once they have taken root, they go mad and nothing is able to stop them. (Fond memories of courgettes grown from chicken droppings loaded on to the compost heap)!
So, with Halloween just around the corner and the advent of local ghost walks, together with a ghoulish book about local history produced by Kitty’s cousins, one wonders whether or not there are actually some eerie goings on locally, or whether people are merely jumping onto some kind of supernatural bandwagon. Could there be a more heart-rending conclusion to this story?
Regardless of the truth – whether there are paranormal goings on or not, what I can assure you of is an intelligent, well thought out novel, with complex yet loveable characters. The ability to empathise with such well thought out characters, or old friends as I like to refer to them as (from having read ‘Wedding Vows and Cornish Ribbons’), together with the spectacular sights, sounds and smells of Cornwall, make for a five star, unputdownable read, that has hidden depths; its hidden pockets of humour serve to both delight and captivate the reader. Appropriately, given the subject matter, might I suggest that you may be simultaneously beguiled and bewitched by this novel.
To find out exactly what is going on, you will have to read this ghostbuster of a book for yourself. To purchase your own copy, please use this link: https://smarturl.it/cornishgold