Many of us will have Raffaella Barker's novels on our shelves, and like me, will be glad to know that she has a new one out soon (and that her entire backlist is being republished, too).
From a Distance is "a compelling story of a family divided by war. Moving between the post-war artists' colony around St. Ives in Cornwall and present-day Norfolk, it explores the secrets and flaws that shape our interactions across generations.
April, 1946. Michael, a soldier, returns to Southampton on a troop ship. Brutalised and in shock, he cannot face the life that awaits him at home. Impulsively he boards a train to the western tip of Cornwall and the process of restoration begins in the heart of its artistic colony.
More than half a century later, Kit, an enigmatic stranger, arrives in Norfolk to take up an inheritance he doesn't want - a de-commissioned lighthouse. According to Kit, as director of Lighthouse Fabrics his life is complete, and he doesn't wish to see anything the lighthouse's glare exposes.
Luisa and Tom have a seemingly perfect country life. He's a teacher, she, a second generation Italian, makes exquisitely flavoured ice creams. But their children are growing up and Luisa can't help but feel a sense of loss as she watches them stride into their own futures.
When Kit and Luisa meet, family history starts to unravel and neither can escape the inevitability of Michael's split-second decision at Southampton docks.
Raffaella Barker writes with lyrical precision about landscape and emotion, a lightness of touch in plot and character, and in From a Distance subtly explores the reality of loss and recovery."