Sunday 14 June 2009

Books set in Cornwall

Following my post yesterday about Susan Cooper's Over Sea, Under Stone, I got to thinking about fictional books set in Cornwall.

And, being a lover of lists, a new list was born - fictional books set, or with scenes in, Cornwall. This is for my own benefit really, so that I can add the link to my sidebar and add to it as and when. But if anyone passing through can think of any more, please don't hesitate to leave a comment.


Frenchman’s Creek – Daphne du Maurier
Jamaica Inn – Daphne du Maurier
Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
The House on the Strand – Daphne du Maurier
The Loving Spirit – Daphne du Maurier
The King's General - Daphne du Maurier
Crossed Bones – Jane Johnson
The Poldark series – Winston Graham
Deep Down - R.M. Ballantyne
Mistress of Mellyn - Victoria Holt
The Dead Secret - Wilkie Collins
A Pair of Blue Eyes - Thomas Hardy
The Dead Secret - Wilkie Collins

Contemporary fiction

Away From it All – Judy Astley
Just for the Summer - Judy Astley
The Shell Seekers – Rosamund Pilcher (And other books by her.)
The Carousel - Rosamund Pilcher
A Week in Winter – Marcia Willett
The Cornish Legacy – Barbara Whitnell
The View from the Summerhouse - Barbara Whitnell
The Last Lighthouse Keeper - Alan Titchmarsh
Sea Music - Sara MacDonald
The Returning Tide - Liz Fenwick (Any book by her in fact.)
Making Waves, September Song, A Cornish Christmas, Easter Holiday - Nell Dixon
A Cottage by the Sea - Ciji Ware
An Exaltation of Larks - Daisy Treadwell
Little Beach Street Bakery - Jenny Colgan
Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery - Jenny Colgan


Zennor in Darkness – Helen Dunmore
The Cammomile Lawn - Mary Wesley
Hold My Hand - Serena Mackesy
Summer in February - Jonathan Smith
Notes from an Exhibition - Patrick Gale


The Wycliffe crime series - W.J. Burley
The Rose Trevelyan crime series – Janie Bolitho
Touchstone – Laurie R. King
The Lighthouse - P.D. James
The Murder Bird - Joanna Hines
Wait for What Will Come - Barbara Michaels


The Jewel of Seven Stars – Bram Stoker
Cornish Tales of Terror - ed. by R. Chetwynd-Hayes


The Little Country – Charles de Lint

Children's/young adult
Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
Over Sea, Under Stone – Susan Cooper
Greenwitch - Susan Cooper
The Valley of Secrets – Charmian Hussy
The Mousehole Cat - Antonia Barber
Tales of Terror from the Black Ship - Chris Priestley
Dead Man's Cove - Lauren St. John

There may well be more by Daphne du Maurier. Not having read all of her books, I can't say where the less well known ones are set.

The artwork for the railway poster in this post is by H.A. Tripp.



Ana S. said...

The third book in the Dark is Rising sequence, Greenwitch, is also set in Cornwall. Thank you for reminding me that The Little Country has been on my tbr pile for far too long!

DesLily said...

ah yes..Touchstone! I want to see that little stone house!
I never thought about it before but I've been drawn to England all my life! I am guessing it began when I was very young and watched Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes!
I loved Treasure Island and although I knew they all were English most of the story was on the ocean and Island so I didn't make that full connection..and I haven't read or seen the movie in many a year! lol

I read Rebecca of course (and saw the movie numerous times) and I recently purchased My Cousin Rachel, but don't know anything about it really yet.

Shanra said...

I think The King's General is also set in Cornwall. (It's another du Maurier book. It was the first I read. Took me ages to get around to reading it, but read it I did and was glad of it. I've obviously been missing out!)

Most of the others are all books I've never heard of before, though.

Kailana said...

Very cool list. Thanks! :)

Shanra said...

Ooooh. A spiffified list! (Much thanks for the categorisation. ^-^)

Susan said...

How about throwing in Mary Stewart's Arthurian trilogy, and most featuring King Arthur, since he was conceived there in Cornwall, I do believe. And I think on of PD James Book - The Last Patient? - is set in Cornwall as well, but I can't find my copy to confirm.

You've given me lots of books to look out for! Definitely time for some Du Maurier......And a few of the other titles look fun too. Very fun idea, Cath!

Susan said...

PS I haven't had time to email, with the chicken pox and all. I'm ready to start reading Last Rituals any time now. I'll try to email tomorrow and see if you are ready :-D or if you went ahead and started.....

Cath said...

Nymeth: Thanks for that, I wasn't sure how many of the Dark is Rising books *were* actually set there. Have added it to the list.

The Little Country is set in Mousehole in a very small street where my uncle, aunt and cousins actually lived (Chapel Place). It was an extremely weird experience reading such a personal book.

Hi Pat. Those little stone cottages are all over that part of Cornwall - Laurie King got that spot on.

Perhaps you were English in a previous life, Pat! LOL.

The first few chapters of Treasure Island are set in Penzance, in The Admiral Benbow pub to be exact, and that actually still exists to this day. I had my wedding reception there as a matter of fact - almost 36 years ago. :-)

I'm not sure where My Cousin Rachel was set but wouldn't be surprised if it *was* Cornwall. It seems DuM liked to set her books there if she could.

Shanra: thanks for saying about The King's General. That's a book I really need to get around to reading. There's an autobiography of DdM that I really loved - Myself When Young. I would *so* recommend that as a delightful read.

Yes, the list was getting unwieldy so I've categorised it to make it easier to understand.

Kailana: my pleasure. I love making lists so it was no hardship to do.

Susan: I did think about the Mary Stewart Arthurian trilogy - it's one of my favourites as a matter of fact - but it's so long since I read them that I couldn't actually remember whether it specifies the setting as Cornwall. And I know a lot of places lay claim to him, not just Tintagel, so I thought I'd better leave those out. I will check that though. I'll also check out The Last Patient - it's a P.D. James that I'm not familiar with.

I haven't started the book yet but I did send you an e.mail yesterday that I don't think got to you, so have resent that via my Yahoo e.mail address.

Cath said...

Susan: I just checked P.D. James's books and the only one with 'patient' in the title - The Private Patient - is set in Dorset. *However* her book previous to that - The Lighthouse - is set on an island off the coast of Cornwall so I've added that to the list, or will do in a moment. Thanks for the tip-off.

Nan said...

Have you read the Titchmarsh book? In general, I'm fonder of his nonfiction, though I love Animal Instincts.

Cath said...

Nan: yes I have read the Titchmarsh book. It was fun but, like you, I'm generally keener on his non-fiction. His Christmas book is a delight for instance. I haven't read his auto-biography yet, must get around to that.

Vintage Reading said...

A Cornwall theme, what a good idea. I nominate Mary Wesley's The Cammomile Lawn. Great book. I'm very fond of Rebecca, too.

Cath said...

Thanks, Nicola. I haven't read the Cammomile Lawn but have a feeling that I really ought to. I've added it to my list anyway.

Danielle said...

Thanks for the list!I've read and enjoyed several of these and have a few more on my piles. I plan to print this out for the rest!

Cath said...

Danielle: I love lists! :-) I have several of yours saved in folders. I'm sure there must be many more to add to this Cornish list but that's fine, it can be a work in progress. I haven't read all of these by any means either and some are unknown to me. I have The Murder Bird on my library pile for instance - really looking forward to seeing what that's like.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that there are many that aren't comong to mind, but a couple do. Sheena Mackesy's recent Hold My Hand os set on Bodmin Moor and Jonathan Smith's Summer in February is largely set in West Cornwall. When I picked it up it opened it to a page refering to the Penzance promenade (where I live) and Morrab Library (I'm a subscriber and was there this morning). I'm sure than another Mary Wesley opens in Penzance too, but I'd have to go up into the attic to check.

Cath said...

fleurfisher: thank you! I'll check those two books out and add them to my list. I'm sure there must be an awful lot more than I have listed but it's a start. I'm a bit of a list person and always have fun making a new one.

Penzance prom was a vital part of my childhood. I lived on the Alverton Estate but my gran lived in a cottage at the bottom of Morrab road (my brother still lives near there in Daniel Place) and I spent nearly every summer holiday with her so the prom and the beach was part of my childhood.

verity said...

What an absolutely wonderful list - I'm planning to read more Cornish books this year. I've bookmarked this page for inspiration!

verity said...

Patrick gale should also be added to the list!

Cath said...

Verity: thank you... I had an awful lot of fun compiling it. I love lists.

The one I really *must* read this year is The Shell Seekers. I feel quite ashamed, being Cornish, and not having read that.

Patrick Gale... had to go and check but you mean Notes From an Exhibition? I should have remembered that because I do actually have it, unread. Have you read it? Is it good?

verity said...

Yes, Notes on an exhibition which is really very good. Quite a lot of his other books feature Cornwall but I've read so many and can't quite remember which.

I've been researching this a bit more and intend to read a Cornish book per month (probably more!) this year, and have also come up with Susan Howatch - the Penmarric books which I've not read.

Astrid (Mrs.B) said...

Came to your site via Verity's. I love books set in Cornwall. Thank you for the list. Someone mentioned they're going to print it out. I'll definitely be printing this too!

Cath said...

Verity: a Cornish book a month is a brilliant idea. And really there must be an awful lot more than I have on my list.

I'll look in to Patrick gale properly as it sounds like I might like his books.

I haven't read the Penmarric books either. Way back when, they had a bit of a pot-boiler reputation and that's not really my thing. If you do fet to them I'll be interested to hear what you think.

Mrs. B: Hello, thanks for visiting my blog. I love making lists and as Cornwall is my home county and very dear to my heart it was an automatic choice. The list is far from a complete one but is a start anyway.

verity said...

I've done my own Cornish post now with a list of preliminary ideas. I think I could easily manage more than one Cornish book a month - I'm looking forward to getting started when my library requests start to arrive. In the meantime, we're watching the adaption of The camomile lawn - started it last night and its great (although the Cornish scenery could be almost anywhere)

Cath said...

Verity: Ooooh, look forward to seeing your list (I just checked and it's not up yet I think?) Can't wait to see what you read first! I might be inspired to read a few off my list too.

Do you know about Wilkie Collins's Rambles beyond Railways? It's non-fiction about Cornwall and not very well known, and currently sitting on my tbr pile, unread. I must get to it. Another wonderful Cornish non-fiction that I love to death is Dinah Craik's, An Unsentimental Journey Through Cornwall. I'm wittering now so I'll stop...

verity said...

It's on my other blog here:

As you'll see I mention Wilkie Collins. I'd love to read the other one you mention but the copies I've seen are v expensive, and my library doesn't have it (not much demand for Cornwall reading in oxford!)

Anonymous said...

This was exactly what i needed! I am an avid reader. My husband is a college prof and we are taking our 4 children next year for 6mos. to Cornwall for a sabbatical. I wanted a list of books that would prep me for the trip. Thank you for the ideas!

Cath said...

Anon: my pleasure. And 6 months in Cornwall sounds like heaven to me. I hope you all have a wonderful time!

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled upon your blog when researching books set in Cornwall, other than DduM - what a help your list has been. As soon as I have a moment I will be exploring your other posts.

P.S. The first of Mary Stewart's Arthurian Trilogy certainly includes Cornwall - Tintagel, as does the second (The Hollow Hills). And I am sure you will love The Shell Seekers.

Cath said...

Wild Somerset Child: (what a lovely blog name - we live just ten minutes from the Somerset border) I'm glad my humble list has been of some help. There are other's around. Fleurfisher has a Cornish list on her blog and so has The B Files. Links on my blogroll on my main page.

John said...

thanks for sharing great information.
- St Austell

Anonymous said...

Thank you for compiling this list Cath. I LOVE books set in Cornwall and there are a few on your list I have not read so I am off to the library tomorrow. I too live in a beautiful coastal part of Britain - Pembrokeshire but am drawn to Cornwall and only ever really feel perfectly at peace when I'm there. Can't explain it!

Cath said...

Hello Di. Apologies for the delay in answering your comment, I've been ill briefly.

So pleased you like the list. It's by no means a finished article as I keep discovering new ones and adding to it. But that's the fun of a project like this.

Oh, you *do* live in a lovely part of the UK. How funny that you're drawn to Cornwall and I'm drawn to South Wales. We've had two short breaks over there this year (Llanelli and Cardiff) and another one coming up at the end of the month. We just love it over there, the coastline is so spectacular and the people so friendly. Thanks for visiting my blog and I hope you had some luck at the library.

jameshope said...

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Cath said...

James: Thank you! I'm really pleased that you found my list useful.

Anonymous said...

Your list is perfect! Just what I am looking for. I will be holidaying in Cornwall this summer and want to enhance the experience with some good local reading material. Thank you.

Cath said...

Anon: Glad to have been of service. :-) But I find it very strange that according to my stats... this is the most popular post I have ever written!

Unknown said...

Great list - thanks. Found it through twitter indirectly.

Also through Twitter I know that Emily Barr has books set in Cornwall

And this feels weird but my d├ębut novel THE CORNISH HOUSE will be out in May 2012 from Orion.

Thanks again for a wonderful reference list :-)

Judy Astley said...

Thanks for including my book 'Away From It All' on your list. For info, my first novel 'Just For THe Summer' was also set in Cornwall - entirely inspired by a long and lovely (if wet!) holiday I had there.

Cath said...

Liz: Thanks for visiting my blog. Glad my list is of some use.

I'll look up Emily Barr's books to see which are Cornish based.

Many congratulations on the forthcoming publication of your book. That's no mean achievement these days! I'll try to remember to look out for it next May and have also added it to my list.

Judy: Thanks for visiting my blog. My pleasure re: adding your book to my list, I've now added Just for the Summer too and will be searching out a copy asap!

Unknown said...

Thanks Cath! It took seven years to break through so I can't stop smiling...

Goobia said...

I am reading a book called The Secret Adventures of Charlotte Bronte by Laura Joh Rowland and even though I wasn't sure of it at first--I am now deeply engrossed in it and looking up whatever I can about Cornwall, because it's climax is in Penzance!

Teresa in Toronto November 11, 2011

Cath said...

Goobia: Yes, there's a house in Penzance where I think the Bronte sisters' mother was born or maybe just lived. It has a plaque on the outside. I'll keep an eye out for that book, thanks for letting me know about it!

Nell Dixon said...

I have a set of short romance novellas published by Astraea Press which you might want to add to your list. Making Waves, September Song, A Cornish Christmas and releasing soon - Easter Holiday.

Cath said...

Nell: Thank you so much for commenting and telling me about your Cornish novellas. Are these self-published? I'm fascinated by this idea and have just bought and downloaded Cornish Christmas for my Kindle. Can't wait to read it.

Marsha Filion said...

I love this list of books - any list featuring du Maurier is a good one as far as I'm concerned. I just published a new book by Daisy Treadwell which takes place in Cornwall and thought it might be a good addition to the list. It's called An Exaltation of Larks, and is available for the Kindle and Ereader at the address below. It's a great read and features traditional Cornish recipes to boot - well worth checking out!

Cath said...

Marsha: Thanks so much for your tip-off... I'll check that out in a moment and add it to my list.

CLM said...

Here is another for you: The Unpredictable Consequences of Love by Jill Mansell. I have found some of her books very weak but picked this up at the library right before the shutdown, finally read it last night, and really liked the story and characters.

Cath said...

Thanks, Constance, I'll add it to the update I did a few weeks ago. I haven't read anything by her that I can remember.