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  • Location: Cornwall

The Stranger

The Stranger

Why a Booktrail?

1940s: A mysterious manor house has secrets to spill…

  • ISBN: 978-0718188061
  • Genre: Fiction, Historical

What you need to know before your trail

Cornwall, 1940.

In the hushed hours of deepest night a young woman is found washed up on the rocks.

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?

Travel Guide

Cornwall (c) Google

Cornwall (c) Google


The locations are fictional but very descriptive and evocative of Cornwall in the 1940s.

In the hushed hours of deep night, the cove looks just as it did a few hundred years ago, when men gathered on its shore to lure unlucky ships on to the rocks. Some say  if you’re that way inclined, sensitive to the flimsiness of what separates them from now, you can still hear the groan of timber on rock, the pitiful cries from the decks

Penhallow Hall

On the coast close to Breakheart Cove and the village of Vennor are also fictional but there is a village called Zennor…..

The house:

“There’s something of the subtle nightmare about this house – here everything seems in order but still you’re compelled to dart from room to room,certain that grief and menace lurk somewhere , if only you keep looking”

“It’s Georgian for the most part, with the inevitable Victorian frills. Marrooned by lush, moderately famous gardens, it is grand yet mellow , like a peer dozing in his slippers.”

Trail Gallery

Booktrailer Review


The first thing to say about this novel is the glorious writing within. Kate Riordan can always be guaranteed to write a lyrical tale and this is no exception. The entire novel is one long ode to stunning Cornwall and the language, words chosen, sentences put together creates a wonderful picture. It’s one that draws you into the story and one you miss when you’ve finished it.

Penhallow Hall – the house in the novel. Doesn’t even just the name make you want to go there right now? It sounds gothic and real, creepy and you can imagine the Cornish sun gently heating the walls and the wind caressing the flowers in the ramshackle garden. Ooh I got carried away reading this.

Then there’s Breakheart Cove…..

The story is multilayered and told in flashbacks where we find out what happened that first night Diana went missing. Then what happened leading up to that day…

It’s a story of characters, secrets and events past and present woven into quite a magical tale. The weaves get stronger as you read and then when you see how they all fit together..it’s quite a treat.

The very idea that this house should have opened its doors to welcome land girls to the area is something very interesting indeed. They are there to work the land and grow vegetables in their efforts to feed Britain in WW2 in 1940. This is a fascinating story thread which continues to fascinate. Very real and insightful.

I always enjoy a Kate Riordan novel but this, with the ethereal cover, is especially memorable.

Booktrail Boarding Pass: The Stranger

Destination : Cornwall  Author/Guide: Kate Riordan  Departure Time: 1940s

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