Review of Tremarmock by Emma Burstall plus Q&A

Thursday, 28 April 2016

By Emma Burstall
Publication Date: 7th April 2016
Publisher: Head Of Zeus
Pages: 352
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher

Amazon UK / Amazon US 

A beautiful Cornish village, a shocking turn of events... 
Tremarnock is a classic Cornish seaside village. 
Houses painted in yellow, pink and white, cluster around the harbour, where fishermen still unload their daily catch.  It has a pub and a sought-after little restaurant, whitewashed, with bright blue shutters. Here, Liz has found sanctuary for herself and young daughter, Rosie - far away from Rosie's cheating father. 
 From early in the morning with her job as a cleaner, till late at night waitressing in the restaurant, Liz works hard to provide for them both. But trouble is waiting just around the corner.  
As with all villages, there are tensions, secrets - and ambitions.

Tremarmock is the first book I have read by Emma and I know that it will not be the last. Set in the backdrop of a Cornish town, Liz is a single mother who works two jobs to pay the rent and for food for her and her young daughter, Rosie. Even with two jobs, Liz tries to spend as much time as possible with Rosie although Rosie is quite mature for her age and understands that her mum has to work as much as she has to provide for them both.
Ever since Rosie's father abandoned them when she was little, Liz moved them to a small town where they finally have grown to call home. From her lovely neighbour who looks after Rosie when she is in work to the local lady who takes Rosie to school every morning as Liz can't. It seems like a wonderful place to live and quite peaceful.
Although things soon change. Rosie has a small accident which takes her to hospital but Liz isn't prepared for the results that they tell her at the hospital. Soon they begin to find out who their friends really are as they reach out to help them through this tough time and support both Rosie and Liz.
Things never are simple though, Liz soon realises that someone may have been lying to her, as even though people seem like your friends they may not be as friendly and as trustworthy as you once thought.
Tremarmock is a wonderfully written novel that will tug at your heartstrings and make you want to live in such a lovely town where everyone helps each other in their time of need as if they were your own family. With memorable characters and relatable themes it is a perfect spring/summer novel that you should definitely pick up and read!

Beautiful, Hopeful and Heartfelt. 

23 Review Street:

Q&A with Emma Burstall

Hi Emma, thank you so much for joining us on 23 Review Street today, I have just started to read your new novel ‘Tremarnock‘ and I am loving it! Especially since it is set in Cornwall, one of my favourite places to visit for holidays. So, without further ado, on to the questions!

What made you decide to set your new novel in Cornwall?
I used to go on holiday to Cornwall as a child and it always seemed like a magical place to me. I remember swimming in the freezing water, messing around in rock pools and exploring hidden caves with my brother and sister. For two whole weeks we felt as if we had complete freedom. Then, in my early twenties, I got to know the area again after landing my first job as a cub reporter on the Western Morning News in Plymouth. From here it was just a short ferry ride across the river to gorgeous little villages and coastlines, and I went on lots of walks as well as covering stories for the newspaper.
I loved the idea of setting my next novel there, partly because it’s such a beautiful corner of the world, but also because it feels quite remote from the rest of the country.  While the villages are bustling with tourists in summer, in winter, when the wind whips up and waves lash over the sea walls, you can feel pretty isolated and communities tend to rally round and stick together.
Of course everyone knows every one else’s business and as in any village, there are tensions, secrets and lies. There’s also a real mix of folk, including wealthy weekenders with smart holiday homes, and those who struggle to get by, sometimes juggling three or four part-time jobs at once. It’s easy to forget that Cornwall is one of the poorest counties in the country.
All this makes for a great setting for a novel but if I’m honest, there’s another very good reason why I chose the area. I mean, who wouldn’t want to have to spend weeks there doing vital research? I could go back time and again and never tire of the beaches, cliffs, woodlands, moors, cosy pubs, pasties, cream teas and warm welcomes.  It’s a hard life!

I read in the book that you have a second book in this series coming out, do you have plans for more after that one or will it just be a two book series?
I originally planned the series as a trilogy. The second installment, called The Cornish Guest House, is coming out as an e-book first in May, with the paperback and hardback to follow, and I’m busy writing the third now.
Although many of the same characters re-appear, each book can stand alone and the stories are quite different, so you don’t have to read them in order if you don’t want to.
I’m not anticipating a fourth at the moment, but I’d never say never. I can certainly think of plenty more Tremarnock stories I’d love to write if people want to read them. We’ll just have to wait and see… 

Have you always wanted to become a writer?
It’s been my dream since I was a little girl, when I used to sit for hours at the kitchen table weaving no doubt terrible tales about fairies, knights and castles, but it was a long time before I plucked up courage to write my first proper novel. I became a journalist first, writing for newspapers and women’s magazines, then, as my fortieth birthday approached I thought – it’s now or never – and I sat down to write my first chapter. When I’d finished the whole book, I sent it to an agent and waited with bated breath. It’s a good job that she liked it because I’m not sure I’d have been brave and resilient enough to keep going indefinitely.

What is your favourite book?
Hmm, this is tricky. These days I tend to read more contemporary fiction, but I guess I’d have to say my favourite book of all time is Bleak House by Charles Dickens. His characters are utterly memorable, such as the tortured Lady Dedlock, poor Miss Flite, and the parasitic Harold Skimpole – and he paints a scene like no one else.  I love the fact that he engages so well with the social issues of his day, but most of all it’s his sheer ability to tell a story that I admire so much. He keeps the reader guessing till the very end and leaves you wanting more. Perfect.

What is your writing day like?
I’ll often start the day with a run in the park with friends and assorted dogs. It’s a great way to get the heart pumping and catch up on news at the same time. After a quick shower, I’m at my desk by about nine thirty, with a cup of coffee by my side, and apart from a quick twenty minutes for lunch, I’ll work through till four or five when my fourteen year old gets in from school. Sometimes I’ll stop work then, while on others days I’ll do a couple more hours before supper. It depends on my mood – and how close I am to my deadline!

If you could sum up your writing style in three words, what would they be?
Warm, witty and wise - I hope!

Thank you so much for joining us on 23 Review Street!

Emma's next book 'The Cornish Guest House' is due out in May. 

Another day, another book, 

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