Thursday 25 March 2021

Book Review: The Stranger by Kate Riordan

The Stranger by Kate Riordan book cover

AD* | Cornwall, 1940.

In the hushed hours of the night, a woman is taken by the sea.

Was it a tragic accident? Or should the residents of Penhallow have been more careful about whom they invited in?

In the midst of war three women arrive seeking safety at Penhallow Hall.

Each is looking to escape her past.

But one of them is not there by choice.

As the threat of invasion mounts and the nightly blackouts feel longer and longer, tensions between the close-knit residents rise until dark secrets start to surface.

And no one can predict what their neighbour is capable of...

In a house full of strangers, who do you trust?

Gorgeously atmospheric, The Stranger is a historical fiction novel packed with mystery and intrigue.

Set in a sleepy Cornish village during World War II, the story follows three Land Girls billeted at mysterious Penhallow. The backdrop of the war combines with all the best bits of classic Gothic mystery to create a memorable and highly enjoyable novel.

The three main characters - Rose, Diana, and Jane - are about as different from each other as it's possible to be. Rose is a working-class shopkeeper's wife with an artistic flair, chasing memories of a long-ago golden summer. Diana is an unruly debutante, expelled from boarding school and determined to carve out a new life to escape her family. Jane is the youngest of the trio, a hard worker with a mysterious familial connection to Penhallow. Each has secrets, yet as the unlikely group spend a summer together, it isn't long before their darkest secrets come to light.

Threads of romance and friendship also run through the story, combining with the mystery and suspense to weave a rich, twisting story. It's cleverly-written and well-paced - and you definitely won't expect the surprising twist! 

The Stranger is a complex story yet it instantly draws you in, keeping you turning page after page. I read this in one day because I just couldn't put it down! Although it's a very character-driven book, the vivid descriptions and rich imagery really lend the story a strong sense of place. It's firmly anchored in rural Cornwall, and it's incredibly easy to picture yourself there right in the middle of the action. 

Beautifully-written and highly descriptive, The Stranger is a brilliant read. I look forward to reading more from Kate Riordan in the future!

Rating: 5 stars 

The Stranger is available to buy now. 

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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Will you be reading the book? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

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