Monday, 13 February 2012

Pennance by Clare Ashton

After the death of her partner, Jake, in a tragic car accident, Lucy’s life falls apart. Lucy is haunted by Jake’s death. She withdraws from the world, shutting herself up in the cottage they shared and becomes a virtual recluse. Just emerging when it’s essential. Lucy is nursing her fears and fuelling her guilt that she could have and should have been able to save Jake from their burning car. More to the point is Lucy’s guilt that she didn’t love Jake enough to save him.

When Karen and her two children moved in to the empty property next door, that belonged to Karen’s parents, Lucy was none too pleased. The last thing Lucy wanted or needed was someone invading her privacy. But once Lucy meets Karen and her children, she finds herself coming out of her self imposed isolation and actually beginning to live a little.

Lucy finds herself drawn to Karen and she love’s Karen’s three year old son, George. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have the same rapport with Karen’s daughter, Sophia. But no matter, they tolerate each other. In time both Lucy and Karen feel a mutual attraction to one another, will either woman act upon it?

As time passes Lucy becomes more and more convinced that someone is trying to kill her, she becomes paranoid that someone is out to make her pay for her being alive and Jake dying. Little things keep happening around her. But, is the threat real or imagined? What will it take to unravel the mystery? Will this cost Lucy and Karen their friendship?

This is a wonderfully well written debut mystery romance. Right from the beginning, the story is gripping and a page turner right through to the end. A book that once started, I did not want to put down.

The way Clare Ashton has told this story is breath taking. Lucy’s descent into paranoia and near madness from her guilt at not being able to save her partner, is written with such clarity that the emotions are coming in waves off of the pages.

It is nice to see the change in Lucy as she begins to accept Karen’s friendship. But like every story, the paths of love and friendship never run smoothly and there are many obstacles put in their way.

Karen has her own secrets she is hiding too. Which all adds fuel to the fast heating story. The story sizzles off the pages and made me want to finish it quickly.

The mystery stayed a mystery throughout. I simply could not guess what was happening and who was doing what. Which is a big bonus for me. I love a good mystery. All I will tell you here is that the revelation shocked me. Stunned me. Unbelievable, brilliantly thought out.

The characters are so well formed and easy to get to know, that I lost myself amongst them. I was there with them. The setting of this book is Cornwall. My home county. I can tell you, the scenic views are as beautiful as Clare has described them.

The end of this book came all too soon, even though I was desperate to find out who, what and why. This is a book I will re-read even though I know the outcome. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a comfort read, no pressure, just to enjoy the story.

I’m looking forward to any lesfic book Clare may write in the future. I hope it will be sooner rather than later.


  1. Great review which encouraged me to buy this book on kindle. Thank you so much, one of the best books I've ever read!

  2. Glad you enjoyed the book as much as I did Smokie. It's great my review did it's job.