Part Two: Literary Gems set in Cornwall

When someone says Cornwall, what do you think of? Sandy beaches, hidden coves and ice creams in the summer? Not surprisingly there are a lot of books set in Cornwall, the landscape just cries out for summer stories and historical tales of pirates and Poldark.

We’ve team up with The Booktrail, who have pulled together their top 10 literary gems set in Cornwall, here are 5 of them.

Ross Poldark by Winston Graham

Location: Cornwall

Literary landmark: The copper mines and the rugged Cornish beaches

The real deal: Ross Poldark returns to the land of his birth having fought for the British in the American war of Independence. But he arrives back to a land very much changed - his estate is derelict, his father now dead and the sweetheart he left behind is engaged to his cousin.

The fictional fantasy: Well who can forget the wonderful TV adaptation of Poldark with Aidan Turner in the lead role? Cornwall is as much a character as Poldark and Demelza and has never been so beautifully evoked. From the very real Truro and Perranporth to the fictional Trenwith and Nampara with many coves and beaches in between. For a real sense of mining life, visit Wheal Coates Mine, St Agnes.

The World of Poldark by Emma Marriott

Location: Cornwall

Literary landmark: The TV settings v the fictional landmarks

The real deal: Any serious fan of the TV series and novels has to get their hands on this. Stunning photos really do make you just want to step in to the Poldark world and see how the film makers brought 18th century Cornwall to life, and, more importantly, Winston Graham’s vision to life. This book quite literally showcases the stunning scenery as well as the clever tricks of taking Cornwall back in time. Many places in Poldark’s world were fictional but based on real places and so a new Cornwall was born.

The Lake House by Kate Morton

Location: Polperro

Literary landmark: Trerice House, The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The real deal: A beautiful Cornish lake house. Once the sumptuous home of the Edevane family but on a summer’s evening during a garden party, baby Theo disappears never to be seen again. The house is left abandoned, but in 2003 a police detective on leave spends time with her grandfather in Cornwall and stumbles upon the house and begins a search for the truth of her own.

The fictional fantasy: Kate Morton loves Cornwall and it shows. Her novel encapsulates all that is gorgeous and fairytale like about the area and has been inspired before by vast gardens, hidden gardens and rambling alleys in her novel The Forgotten Garden. Inspired by The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Trerice, and the harbour village of Polperro which is where the fictional Lake House is located.

Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

Location: St Michael's Mount (fictional Mount Polbearne), Marazion

Literary landmark: St Michael's Mount, any of Cornwall’s gorgeous bakeries

The real deal: Polly Waterford loves her seaside home, her Beach Street bakery and her boyfriend Huckle in the gorgeous town of Mount Polbearne. But there is something unsettling in that summer breeze and despite Polly baking and taking out her unease on the bread she kneads there could well be a storm about to hit Mount Polbearne.

The fictional fantasy: No visit to Cornwall would be complete without a trail inspired by Jenny Colgan. Mount Polbearne is of course St Michael’s Mount and the nearby Village of Marazion plays a huge part in her novels set here. Whilst there might be no Beach Street Bakery, there are many cafes and bakeries just like it in Marizion.

I Do Not Sleep by Judy Finnigan

Location: Looe, Coombe

Literary landmark: St Michael of Lammana/Looe Island/St Georges Island

The real deal: Molly Gabriel is grieving for her 20-year-old son, Joey, who she lost in a terrible sailing accident five years ago. She remains haunted by his death and desperate to find out what really happened as she has never understood why an experienced sailor like Joey could end up in difficulty on the calmest of seas. Something just doesn’t add up.

The fictional fantasy: The mythical landscape and history of Cornwall comes out in the form of dreams that Molly has in which she imagines her son calling out to her and willing her to find him. She moves into a remote cottage and discovers the role of Cornish charmers who specialise in different ways of healing. This is just one feature in a rich Cornish tapestry of folklore and history.

Find out more or on Twitter: @thebooktrailer

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