Tuesday 5 March 2019

The Newcomer | Fern Britton

I don't usually do stand-alone book reviews on my blog nowadays, instead opting for a 'round up' style post of my recent reads. But when I was asked to join the tour for Fern Britton's new book launch, I just couldn't say no - having grown up with her on our telly, it felt like a bit of an honour. So here's my review of her latest novel, The Newcomer, which is coming out on the 7th March.

fern britton's the newcomer book alongside a bunch of flowers and an iced bun

It's honestly not the type of book I'd gravitate towards; most of the books I read are psychological thrillers, so the bright and beautiful cover of The Newcomer with it's pretty houses and pink blossom looks kind of out-of-place on my bookcase. But that's fine - it's never a bad thing to step out of your comfort zone when it comes to books. And I really truly enjoyed it.

The book follows new vicar, Angela, to the fictional village of Pendruggan in Cornwall, where some of Fern's other novels are also set. It sounds picture-perfect but of course, there'd be no story if it really was. The first few pages of the book tell us The Big Thing, but then we're transported back in time six months to see what happens in the run up to the drama. So the old vicar is off to Brazil, and Angela is standing in for a year, bringing her teenage daughter, handsome husband, Irish wolfhound and crazy aunt with her. The five of them, along with the residents of Pendruggan, are described so vividly it's as if you're in the running club or the church pews with them.

As stories go, this one has ups and downs in equal measure; you get a real sense of that kind, helpful village community, which is lovely - and not something I've ever personally experienced - but with that comes gossip and jealousy and secrets. For me it was a real sense of escapism, reading a story based in a cute village where everyone knows each other and they all do things together and there's an actual maypole; that kind of made it all the more difficult when anything remotely negative happened, because you always root for the nice village community don't you?

iced bun with a book, flowers and a mug in the background

So the six months go on, with Angela implementing all sorts of plans and groups and activities, which are all fun to read about. But everything isn't as rosy as you'd hope, because alongside the animal blessing and the plan to dig up what might be an old pond, there are also potential affairs across the village green and nasty notes through letterboxes. And of course, The Big Thing from the first few pages (no spoilers here) which lingered in the back of my mind as I read the book, knowing everything was leading up to that. 

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Newcomer by Fern Britton; it's the first book of her's I've ever read, and I know my mum and gran will love it too. It's a charming story that isn't far-fetched or hard to relate to, and it's really well-written. If you're looking for a book to read on a UK getaway to a little cottage in the countryside, for example, then this is perfect - but it's an all round good book to read when travelling anywhere, really. I definitely want to read some more of Fern's books, especially if I'm not feeling in the right headspace for something as heavy as the stuff I usually go for...

Fern Britton's The Newcomer is out on 7th March 2019, published by Harper Collins.

Want to read my interview with author Fiona Mitchell? CLICK HERE


  1. This book sounds like my cup of tea!!

  2. It looks like a good light-hearted read... and I do love Fern!