The Bandwagon: Closed for annual leave

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Hello dear readers!

Thank you so much for continuing to follow The Bandwagon, and engaging with us here. It’s always a blast.

I’m off on my hols as of tomorrow, so any queries sent through the blog or via email will have to wait until I return on the 3rd of July.

You can read all about our upcoming trip to Cornwall here. I’ll still be active on Instagram, so follow me and be jealous of our holiday (and our cats!).

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Cornish Reading Challenge: Thank You!

As the third annual Cornish Reading Challenge comes to a close, I want to thank everyone who’s joined in and made it a success.

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To the authors, for their hard work and participation. This wouldn’t work if it wasn’t for you.

To the readers, who get involved and create a buzz. I hope you enjoy reading Cornish books as much as I do.

To the bloggers, who help us promote this challenge.

To everyone else, the businesses and bookshops and artists, who offered prizes and gave their time to this challenge.

I absolutely adore the Cornish Reading Challenge. As a Cornish maid at heart, I love revisiting the place I call home, through the books I choose to read. For three years now, this challenge has been a success, and I hope to keep hosting it every year.

If you have any thoughts on the challenge, or would like to send your suggestions for next year, email thebandwagonreviews@gmail.com

Cornish Reading Challenge: Win a copy of The Plague Charmer by Karen Maitland

Fellow blogger Rosie Amber is hosting the giveaway for a copy of The Plague Charmer by Karen Maitland!

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Click here to visit Rosie’s blog, and find out how to win a copy of The Plague Charmer! Competition closes 27/05.

The Plague Charmer, by Karen Maitland, Queen of the Dark Ages and bestselling author of Company of Liars, will chill and delight fans of C.J. Sansom and Kate Mosse’s Citadel in equal measure. ‘A compelling blend of historical grit and supernatural twists’ – Daily Mail

Riddle me this: I have a price, but it cannot be paid in gold or silver.

1361. Porlock Weir, Exmoor. Thirteen years after the Great Pestilence, plague strikes England for the second time. Sara, a packhorse man’s wife, remembers the horror all too well and fears for safety of her children. 
Only a dark-haired stranger offers help, but at a price that no one will pay.

Fear gives way to hysteria in the village and, when the sickness spreads to her family, Sara finds herself locked away by neighbours she has trusted for years. And, as her husband – and then others – begin to die, the cost no longer seems so unthinkable.

The price that I ask, from one willing to pay… A human life.

Cornish Reading Challenge: Angela Britnell talks about something old, something new

Author Angela Britnell talks about how Cornwall grabs hold and never lets go – no matter how far you travel.

When you’re born and grow up in Cornwall, it becomes part of you, and trying to stop it from influencing your writing is like trying to hold back the tide. I’ve been published for over ten years now and the vast majority of my stories are set wholly or partly in Cornwall, and usually feature at least one Cornish character. I suspect if I tried to write a fantasy novel set in space (unlikely, but go with me on this one), I’d still end up with a Cornish girl attempting to make pasties on Mars! I decided long ago to embrace my love for Cornwall, particularly since I now live in America and am a big fan of transatlantic romances (including my own of nearly 34 years). The culture contrast adds another layer of interest and often tension to my characters’ journeys. And where locations are concerned, there’s always something old, something new…

The old, familiar locations I use are places I remember from my childhood. I lived inland, as far as anywhere is in Cornwall, at the centre of the china clay mining industry. The waste piles are affectionately known as white pyramids and they sneaked into Love Me For a Reason, when I teased an American character that she would be able to go skiing on a visit there. I’m sure every small fishing village I describe contains aspects of Mevagissey woven through it, because my mother’s family came from there, and I’m still related to half of the village. The pastel painted fisherman’s cottages clinging to steep hills and surrounding a small harbour are typical of many others around the coast. The towns we shopped in, beaches we went to, and beauty spots we visited all find a home in my stories.

I often discover new locations to me when I’m writing. In the middle of Sugar and Spice, I needed the perfect spot for my hero to take the American celebrity chef he’s fallen in love with for a picnic, and settled on Cape Cornwall because it’s wild, beautiful, and less touristy than Land’s End. Luckily I was heading to Cornwall while writing that book and took the chance to visit. In the case of St. Agnes I’d been there as a child, but until I researched Cornish legends for Celtic Love Knot, I had never heard the fascinating story of the giant Bolster. My character was a Celtic mythology professor from Nashville, Tennessee (a touch of artistic license there!), who was particularly interested in Bolster. I found out about an amazing festival they hold every year recreating the legend, and am determined to make it there one May to see it in person. There are also Cornish settings that didn’t exist when I was growing up. Strictly speaking, Heligan Gardens did exist but wasn’t re-discovered until the 1990s, and I used it in a scene for one of my People’s Friend pocket novels when a character’s mother needed to be temporarily lost! Of course there’s also the marvellous Eden Project, which I was lucky enough to see being created from an abandoned clay pit around 2000. I’ve mentioned it on numerous occasions in my stories, but have yet to feature Eden as a main ‘character’, but I know its time will come.

When I’m in Cornwall, I make the most of soaking up every moment and never know when a place I visit, a new restaurant I try, or a snippet of overheard conversation will get the writing wheels moving.

Britnell’s new book, You’re The One That I Want, is available now. Don’t forget to enter the competition to win a copy of Celtic Love Knot!

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Author’s Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

Cornish Reading Challenge: Win a copy of Celtic Love Knot by Angela Britnell

Want to win a copy of Celtic Love Knot by Angela Britnell? Read on to find out how!

Can two tangled lives make a love knot?

Lanyon Tremayne is the outcast of his small Cornish village of St. Agnes. Susceptible to fits of temper and with a chequered past behind him, he could even be described as a bit of an ogre. But nobody knows the painful secret he hides.

Olivia Harding has learnt a thing or two about ogres. She’s a professor from Tennessee, specialising in Celtic mythology and has come to St. Agnes to research the legend of a Cornish giant – and to lay to rest a couple of painful secrets of her own.

But when Olivia meets the ruggedly handsome Lanyon, her trip to Cornwall looks set to become even more interesting. Will she get through to the man beneath the bad-tempered façade, or is Lanyon fated to be the ‘ogre’ of St. Agnes forever?

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To be in with a chance to win this wonderful ebook, simply email thebandwagonreviews@gmail.com.

This competition closes on 27/05/17. The winner will be contacted within 7 working days of the closing date.

Amazon UK | Goodreads

Cornish Reading Challenge: Under A Cornish Sky by Liz Fenwick

My first choice for the third annual Cornish Reading Challenge is none other than Liz Fenwick’s Under A Cornish Sky.

For fans of Judy Finegan and Rosamunde Pilcher, a spelling-binding tale of romance and intrigue, set against the gorgeous Cornish coast.

Demi desperately needs her luck to change. On the sleeper train down to Cornwall, she can’t help wondering why everything always goes wrong for her. Having missed out on her dream job, and left with nowhere to stay following her boyfriend’s betrayal, pitching up at her grandfather’s cottage is her only option.

Victoria thinks she’s finally got what she wanted: Boscawen, the gorgeous Cornish estate her family owned for generations should now rightfully be hers, following her husband’s sudden death. After years of a loveless marriage and many secret affairs of her own, Victoria thinks new widowhood will suit her very well indeed . . .

But both women are in for a surprise. Surrounded by orchards, gardens and the sea, Boscawen is about to play an unexpected role in both their lives. Can two such different women find a way forward when luck changes both their lives so drastically?

In Under a Cornish Sky Liz Fenwick weaves another deliciously irresistible tale set in the heart of her beloved Cornwall.

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I’m ashamed to admit that I had never read any of Liz Fenwick’s work until this year. She’s been on my list for a while, and I believe she deserves a place on everyone’s reading list – especially if you love Cornwall.

Under A Cornish Sky is gorgeous, and pure escapism. I listened to the audiobook version, read by Anne Dover, and it was fabulous to leave the confines of my car during my hot, outskirts-of-London commute, and travel back to my beloved Cornwall. Demi, short for Demelza, runs away to Cornwall after the death of her mother and the breakdown of her relationship. Welcomed by her aged grandfather, she soon settles into life in Cornwall – until a revelation shakes her world once again.

Demi is a little bit irritating, I have to say. There’s not much to her – she seems to have to be guided along her path, every step of the way, and it doesn’t feel like she’s in control of her own future. She clashes with Victoria Lake, wife of Demi’s estranged father, who is an irascible, strong, fiery woman. Why is almost every character called Victoria an irascible, strong, fiery woman? Not that I’m complaining – I am all of those things – but we Victoria’s do seem to be portrayed as the she-wolves in literature. Victoria Lake is no different. Over 60, she hasn’t lost her appetite for life (or sex!), and her passion for her home, Boscawen, is infinite. Victoria is, arguably, one of the best characters, though I may be a little biased.

There are also small threads of feminism woven between these pages. Under A Cornish Sky isn’t an openly feminist book, and I don’t know what Fenwick will think of my interpretation, but there are clear messages portrayed through the characters. Brought up to believe she was worthless as a girl, Victoria was unable to inherit Boscawen, her family home. Her duty in life was to marry – and marry well – and to provide heirs. University education would be wasted on her, according to her father. Despite her anger at Demi for simply existing, she recognises that Demi has probably been overlooked and underestimated her whole life, just as Victoria had, so the bond of sisterhood is established, even amongst Victoria’s anger and despair.

Under A Cornish Sky is a brilliant read, and, in my opinion, even better as an audiobook. If you haven’t read any of Liz Fenwick’s work yet, and you’re looking for a recommendation for this challenge, look no further.

Goodreads | Liz Fenwick

Cornish Reading Challenge: Let the challenge begin!

Welcome to the third annual Cornish Reading Challenge on The Bandwagon blog. This challenge is unique in its focus on Cornwall, and aims to promote both a love of reading, and of “God’s own country”.

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We’ve got some exciting features coming up over the next two weeks. The Cornish Writing Challenge is already underway – the competition opened on the 14th of April, and will close on the 27th of May, giving our entrants ample time to come up with a short story that features Cornwall.

We’ve got book reviews and recommendations, interviews and giveaways, and you do not want to miss out on the fun. Authors include Liz Fenwick, Jane Johnson, Jane Cable, and Angela Britnell, and we’ve extended the challenge to include talented artists like Kit Johns. Keep your eyes peeled for these exciting posts!

On the 17th & 18th of May, we’ll be focusing on the West Country as a whole. That means I can join in as an author this year, with my short story collection, Weltanschauung.

My chosen books are Under A Cornish Sky by Liz Fenwick, and The Thief’s Daughter by the aptly named Victoria Cornwall. I’ll be reading these excellent books, and sharing my reviews before the challenge ends. I want to know which books you’ll be reading – let me know in the comments below, or tweet me @VikkiPatis, using #CornishReadingChallenge. You can also join the discussion on Facebook and Instagram.

As always, the Cornish Reading Challenge brings writers, readers, and bloggers together to celebrate a love of Cornwall and Cornish literature. We talk about what inspires us to write, the Cornish books that suck us in and transport us to one of the most beautiful places in England. We’ll be talking about writing in Cornwall, writing about Cornwall, and supporting Cornish authors.