Rumors of a ghostly presence haunt Julianne’s Cornish autumn in the series’ charming fourth installment.
What began as a bit of teenage mischief in the village quickly became stories of spooky lights and ghost sightings in the wood. Being sensible, Julianne is more worried about whether she can finish her kids’ costumes in time for the annual Halloween contest—and whether husband Matt and his eager assistants will be selected for the exclusive Brookshire Garden Design Competition. So when everyone in town begins flocking to the local ‘ghost walk’ tours Julianne assures her wide-eyed children it’s just a case of imagination run wild…until she experiences her own brush with the supernatural, that is.
Real or imagined, Julianne can’t shrug off what she saw, or even bring herself to confide in sympathetic Matt for advice. Best friend Kitty is on hand to help, despite her usual family battles, including that of her cousins’ shady new scheme to profit from the town’s ghost mania. But even Julianne’s friends can’t fully understand her need to find a solution this time, one that leads her on a quirky quest from local lore, to meetings with the village’s ragtag paranormal club, and even a creepy abandoned cottage hiding secrets in the woods.
Join Julianne for suspense, surprises, and (of course) heartfelt moments as book four in the series brings an autumn like no other to sleepy Ceffylgwyn.
Laura Briggs is the author of several feel-good romance reads, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, caring for her pets, gardening, and seeing the occasional movie or play.
Although Cornish Gold at Summer’s End is the fourth novel in the Return to Cornwall series, I read it as a standalone. Since Laura Briggs is a new to me author, I did not know what to expect from her novel. This turned out to be a very fun feel good read mixed with a little mystery of the local Cornish folklore. The story starts with mother Julianne Rose trying to put together Halloween costumes for her children. Right away, I related to the character as she is trying to have reality matching the Etsy pattern that she purchased and trying to improve upon it to make it her own. I have tried and failed many times trying to follow a pattern either to sew a full costume or to try some basic clothing. Automatically, I had to commend her for attempting to alter some rubber balls to make eyes for one of the costumes. Without knowing a lot about the character, it was a nice subtle introduction into her innovation.
Julianne Rose lives in the quiet country village of Ceffylgwyn in Cornwall with her husband, Matt. As Halloween nears, she is busy making a Kermit the Frog costume for her six-year-old son, Heath, and a witch costume for her 8-year-old daughter, Sylvia. In addition to being a tailor for the costumes, she continues to run her event planning business, Save the Date, with her best friend, Kitty. Her husband Matt is also busy with trying to finalize an entry into a renowned landscape architect contest with his two interns, Mel and Grant. The Brookshire Garden Design Competition is a big deal and Matt is determined to win.
One day as she is talking to her children, the village ghost story came up during the discussion. They mention a mysterious ghost that came to smash pumpkins. The story peaks Julianne’s curiosity setting her off to talk about the story randomly with those around the village. There are multiple versions of different sightings from glowing entities to full specters. Things become even more of a mystery when the Daglesh farm’s barn is broken into and there is speculation that is was the ghost. Most people, including Julianne, are skeptical that is was something supernatural and most likely the culprits are pranksters. Julianne cannot shake the feeling that it might be something more so she sets off to learn more about the legend and to see if there is truth to it. I loved how each person that told the story about the legend or supernatural incidents all have a slight variation as this aspect of writing gave it a nice sense of realism. Through word of mouth, the story should change slightly depending on who tells it, so I liked that the author did not have every single character tell the story in the exact same way.
The story mixed the more contemporary slice of life with following the Rose family and other members of the community and a nice cozy mystery involving the local village ghost. I loved that there were younger children in their family as well as the older ones, Ella and Clemmie, as it gave a nice mix in the family dynamic. Both parents each are busy with their own careers while trying to juggle family life and not losing sight of each other as a partner. I liked their dynamic as not everything was perfect, but it was relatable considering there was a lot going on at any given moment. As members of the community, I loved the small town feel where everyone is there for each other. It was nicely balanced with the fact that small towns are also places where everyone knowns everything about everyone. The friendships and community were greatly enjoyable aspects of the story.
Generally, I liked that the story had some nice twists and turns to it. It was not only filled with humor, but there were some emotional moments. The story was not fully predictable and there were some aspects that kept me guessing. The ghost aspect was a fun addition, as I loved how the community becomes more and more involved as they try to find the underlying cause of the mystery. It was entertaining as I, as a reader, tried to figure it out along with the characters. I was intrigued to keep reading to find out if the ghost turned out to be truly supernatural or if there was another explanation. Overall, the novel was a nice escapism read that was full of memorable characters, heart, and laughter.
**I give a special thank you to Rachel @rararesources,, the publisher, and the author for the opportunity to participate with this enjoyable novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**