The Seal Cove by Helen Dunmore

The Seal Cove by Helen Dunmore was published in 2001. It’s part of a trilogy, the others are The Lilac Tree and The Silver Bead which I’ve read. I just noticed when I started to read this one that my copy is signed by the author.

The setting is Cornwall, Katie and her mother had moved there after the death of her father and things are going quite well for them. Katie’s mother’s paintings have been taken on by a local art gallery, and they’re selling well.

But her best friend Zillah isn’t her normal self, unusually she won’t tell Katie what is wrong with her, but eventually it transpires that her parents are planning to turn their farm into an upmarket caravan park. Two  men have been more or less grooming them and have told them that they will make a fortune, but they would have to get into a lot of debt to carry out the plans. Zillah knows that they will end up losing everything if they do as the men wish, and that they will snap up the farmland for themselves.

Zillah needs the help of Granny Carne, she’s a bit of a local wise-woman, or witch if you believe the rumours. “You go up to Granny Carne’s when you can’t see your way clear ahead.”  But Katie is worried about meeting her.

This one is aimed at older children or young adults, but whether she was writing for children or adults, Helen Dunmore was such a talented  writer,  she’s another author who died too soon.

You can read her Guardian obituary here.

4 thoughts on “The Seal Cove by Helen Dunmore

  1. Thank you for drawing my attention to Helen Dunmore. I spend far too much time immersed in old novels, and far too little time exploring the works of contemporary authors.

    The same applies to popular music. My knowledge drops off a cliff at around 1980, and countless artists have come and gone while I’ve been looking the other way, namely backwards.

    • Janusz,
      I must admit that it’s reading blogs which has alerted me to more modern authors. Like you I’m a bit stuck in the past whether it’s music, films or books. I would be good in a pub quiz for anything before the mid 1980s, after that having children meant I had very little time for anything else! I hope you can get some of Dunmore’s books from your library.

  2. I’ve now got at least two of her books from the library but not had time to read them before they were due. I think I want to read the Zennor book you reviewed previously. She does sound interesting from the obituary. I like the part about looking down on the city from her flat.

    • Constance,
      Having been to Bath fairly recently I did think it must have been lovely to be able to look down on it like that, but then I thought of living in a flat and no garden and I think she was eight floors up, and I suppose she would have been looking down on those lovely Georgian buildings, but not being able to live in one. On the other hand those Georgian houses will take a lot of heating, and maintenance too.

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