Esme Nicholls is to spend the summer in Cornwall. Her late husband Alec, who died fighting in the war, grew up in Penzance, and she’s hoping to learn more about the man she loved and lost.
While there, she will stay with Gilbert, in his rambling seaside house, where he lives with his former brothers in arms. Esme is fascinated by this community of eccentric artists and former soldiers, and as she gets to know the men and their stories, she begins to feel this summer might be exactly what she needs.
But everything is not as idyllic as it seems – a mysterious new arrival later in the summer will turn Esme’s world upside down, and make her question everything she thought she knew about her life, and the people in it.
Full of light, laughter and larger-than-life characters, The Visitors is a novel of one woman finally finding her voice and choosing her own path forwards.
Praise for Caroline Scott:
‘A page-turning literary gem’ The Times , Best Books of 2020
'A touching novel of love and loss' Sunday Times
'A beautifully written must-read' heat
'A gripping, devastating novel' Sarra Manning, RED
‘A powerful novel’ Good Housekeeping
‘A heartbreaking read’ Anita Frank
'Breathtaking exploration of loss, love and precious memories’ My Weekly, Pick of the Month
‘Achingly moving and most beautifully written’ Rachel Hore
‘This beautiful book packs a huge emotional punch’ Fabulous
‘Drew me in from the first line and held me enthralled until the very end' Fiona Valpy
‘Quietly devastating' Daily Mail
'A compulsive, heart-wrenching read' Liz Trenow
‘Powerful’ Woman & Home
'Page turning, mysterious, engrossing and compelling' Lorna Cook
‘A carefully nuanced, complex story’ Woman’s Weekly
‘Caroline Scott evokes the damage and desolation of the Great War with aching authenticity' Iona Grey
'Momentous, revelatory and astonishing historical fiction!' Historical Novel Society
‘Wonderful and evocative’ Suzanne Goldring
‘Based on true events, this is a powerful story’ Bella
‘Immersive, poignant, intricately woven’ Judith Kinghorn
‘An evocative read’ heat
‘The story left me breathless’ Kate Furnivall
‘A poignant hymn to those who gave up their lives for their country and to those who were left behind’ Fanny Blake
'I was utterly captivated by this novel' Isabelle Broom
PUBLISHED BY SIMON & SCHUSTER
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Caroline completed a PhD in History at the University of Durham. She developed a particular interest in the impact of the First World War on thelandscape of Belgium and France, and in the experience of women during the conflict – fascinations that she was able to pursue while she spent several years working as a researcher for a Belgian company. Caroline is originally from Lancashire, but now lives in southwest France. The Photographer of the Lost was a BBC Radio 2 Book Club pick.
Caroline Scott has done it again!! Created a storyline and characters that captivate and affect you emotionally as you connect with their plight and watch the drama unfold as they try to make sense of the world, and do their best to move on.
Set in 1923 Cornwall, this is the story of Esme who is looking to try and come to terms with the grief she feels after losing her husband in the Great War. She comes to the area as that is where he grew up, and she wants to see if that will help her. She stays amongst a group of artists/soldiers who are all dealing with their own pain and suffering, but the community brings them some peace and comfort.
What stuck me most about this book was the link with nature. There are so many mentions that it just brings the surroundings to life and that healing feeling that only nature can bring to a soul.
One of the soldiers she meets is Rory, and he deals with his past by writing about it and that not only helps him, but helps Esme too as she reads his experiences of the war to help her connect with her husband.
The connection with nature is there again as you read about his experiences in the war - at times it feels like they're on a birdwatching break, but it cleverly shows that by them noticing the nature around them, helps them to cope with the brutality of war that they are facing on a daily basis. It makes them feel more human - they're just young men who have been sent off to be part of something so horrific and totally alien to the normal side of human behaviour. Watching the local wildlife helps them detach.
Esme is then rocked by a mystery visitor arriving in the area and you get the sense that maybe the past will never leave her, despite her desire to try and move on with her life.
This was a beautifully written story set over a few different timelines that blend seamlessly. The connection between characters was wonderfully touching and I adored it!!