An Anglican convent in decline brings together a host of characters in Marcia Willett's Christmas in Cornwall, a novel that explores the implications of loss, the complexities of family and friendship and the need to feel loved. Willett (The Summer House) stitches together tender stories about the bonds between ordinary people: Jakey, a five-year-old boy who believes that a real angel is keeping watch over him; Clem, his father, a young widower who comes to work at the convent after the death of his wife in order to regroup and be closer to his own mother; Dossie, Clem's mother, a widow herself and a successful caterer who has concerns for the well-being of her son and grandson and her elderly parents--along with romantic woes; Janna, an eccentric, single woman, cast adrift from a broken past, who feels she's finally found a home by working for the aging, quirky nuns. When a stranger arrives in town claiming to be writing a book about the history of the region, rumors swirl that he actually has secret designs to take over the convent's Elizabethan manor house. Will his quest change the future for everyone?
Willett has written a perfectly balanced ensemble piece, a gentle, moving story about faith and trusting in God's presence via the generosity of strangers, the love of friends and family and the miracle of Christmas. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines