Saturday, 12 May 2018

The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan

With its themes of love, loss and forgiveness, The Farm at the Edge of the World is a story about family and the place we call home. Beginning in 2014, elderly Alice Coates makes the decision to visit Syklark Farm in Cornwall to put right something that happened during the war.

Also in London, Lucy has a disastrous day. She discovers signs that her husband is having an affair, and at work as a neonatal nurse, almost gives a fatally incorrect dose of pain relief to a tiny premature baby. Lucy needs a breather, so makes her way to her childhood home, a place she has avoided since her father’s death, and where her mother and brother are struggling with the workload of keeping their farm solvent.

Lucy’s grandmother, Maggie, has lived on Skylark Farm most of her life and her mind often drifts back to the days during the war when she fell in love at seventeen. Will had been evacuated to Skylark Farm from London with his sister Alice, and he takes to farm life with gusto. But Maggie’s mother has plans for her daughter that don’t include Will.

Flipping between the war years and the present day, The Farm at the Edge of the World had me happily engrossed, eager to discover what had happened all those years ago which still cast a shadow over the present. I loved the characters, and the emotional pull of the story. The daily grind of farm-life – the animal husbandry and harvesting, the life and death scenarios - is evocatively brought to life, along with the wild Cornish coast, a beautiful setting for a lovers’ tryst.

Sarah Vaughan has created an evocative read, with a nod to Daphne du Maurier, which captures the unsettling years of the war and their long-term effects on a family. While there aren’t a lot of surprises in the overall plotting, Vaughan manages to pull off a delightful twist towards the end.

Posted by JAM

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