Blog Tour – The Stranger by Kate Riordan


Today I am delighted to be sharing my review of The Stranger by Kate Riordan, as part of the blog tour! I was a big fan of Kate’s previous novel, The Shadow Hour, which was one of my favourite reads of 2016, so when I heard that there was a new novel on the way I couldn’t wait to read it.

One of the things I loved about The Shadow Hour was the atmospheric setting and the prospect of secrets being revealed and this is something that I also found whilst reading The Stranger. But whilst The Shadow Hour transports the reader back to a grand family home in the 19th century, her latest novel takes place in Cornwall in 1940, with events unfolding against the backdrop of the sea, and under the shadow of war. In the opening pages we learn that as the community await the threat of war, the body of a woman is consumed by the waves – a young woman named Diana Devlin, a woman who we learn finds herself drawn to danger. Immediately I was interested to find out how Diana ended up at the cove, and what happened at a party to prompt her disappearance. From this point the story takes the reader back in time to six weeks earlier, and from here the story begins to unfold, as the days count down, and Diana’s disappearance looms closer…

From the first few pages I was hooked with the mystery surrounding a young woman’s death, as well as the diary left behind making for an enthralling read. The story follows three women who spend the summer together at Penhallow Hall, a place which for years has held on to its own secrets, whose doors have now been opened to strangers due to the outbreak of war. For Eleanor, Penhallow has always been her home, and it is one she is reluctant to leave. She is joined by Diana, who attracts attention wherever she goes, and Rose, who has particular memories which are drawing her back to the coast. Both Diana and Rose are landgirls who work in the hall’s grounds growing vegetables to help the war effort. And as the novel progresses we learn that all of these women have their own stories to tell, and there are plenty of secrets and troubling memories to be uncovered. The narrative alternates between third and first person, with some sections told from the perspective of Diana. I found this to be very effective, as it offered interesting perspectives and also insight into the women’s minds in which we get a good understanding of their character, the secrets from  their past that haunt them, and how they fit into a rural community in which everyone knows everyone. And with war looming the characters face further turmoil, and there is a sense of foreboding throughout. I remained gripped by this story until its conclusion, as more and more layers were revealed, and there were a couple of surprises along the way…

I loved The Stranger, and Kate Riordan is becoming one of my favourite writers. I not only enjoyed the intriguing plot and the fascinating characters, but also the way their stories were written alongside the atmospheric setting, with its vivid portrayal of the Cornish coast. A gripping story about a group of strangers, the secrets they hold, and the events that bind them together.

The Stranger was published on 22nd March 2018 by Penguin Michael Joseph, with thanks to Jenny Platt for providing a copy for review along with the opportunity to take part in this blog tour! You can check out the other stops on the tour on the dates and blogs below.

The Stranger blog tour

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