I was kindly gifted a copy of ‘The Visitors’ by Caroline Scott as part of a Tandem Collective UK readalong. Before I even talk about the book, I have to talk about the amazing gift box we were all kindly sent, containing one of the greatest treats of all time – a cream tea, which was delicious. And, before anyone asks, my answer is cream before jam because then it acts like the butter. (Sorry not sorry – it is the Devon method for me, which is only fair as that is where some of my family have lived.)
Now, let us get back to the important stuff, the lovely read that is ‘The Visitors’. This is a beautiful book, set in Cornwall (sorry Cornwall, I know I make the incorrect Cream Tea choice) after World War One. We literally travel there with Esme as she visits Cornwall, as it was the childhood home of her late husband – and maybe it will make her feel close to him after all this time. However, she finds out far more than she would ever have imagined about Alec.
One of the best things about this book is the characters and how well they are brought to life: Esme spends her time in Cornwall staying with Gilbert (the brother of a former employer) and the men he had spent his time with in World War One. They are quite an eccentric and fascinating bunch, each dealing with the aftermath of war and their experiences on the Western Front. But each of these men are beautifully brought to life and the terrible consequences of war are treated so sensitively that you feel for every one of these men and what they, and so many others, will have been through. The friendships created between Esme and these men probably helps them all more than they realised.
I enjoyed this book and can imagine reading it on a holiday to the south of England. It does have a slightly slow start, scene-setting, which I was a little unsure about to begin with, and is usually the concern I have with historical fiction. However, once the pace picks up, you really feel that you are on the same journey as Esme and her new friends.
And, like all good books, the title ‘The Visitors’ has so many different meanings throughout the story that you will find yourself reflecting on as you progress through the story.
So, thank you Tandem Collective UK and Caroline Scott for sending me to Cornwall for a few days on the pages of this book – it was a lovely trip.