Wednesday 27 March 2024

Guest Review: The Lifeboat Sisters by Tilly Tennant

Escape to Seaspray Cottage on the Cornish coast, with its stunning views of honeycomb sand beaches and aquamarine seas, where Ava is about to discover the man of her dreams might be closer than she thinks…

Twenty-five-year-old Ava Morrow smiles through her tears as she links arms with her two older sisters. They’re surrounded by the friendly locals from the tiny village of Port Promise who’ve come together to celebrate her father’s life. As she and her sisters swap memories over cider in the pub garden, the sun warm on her shoulders, the seagulls diving for her crisps, Ava feels something close to peace. At least she knows she has friends and family who love her, even if she might feel a bit stuck in the place she’s lived in all her life.

And yet the next morning, waking up in her cramped caravan, she can’t ignore the feeling that her life is at a standstill. Determined her father’s legacy should never be forgotten, Ava makes the brave decision to train as a lifeboat volunteer alongside her best friend Harry, the one person who can make her smile in the toughest times.

As they learn how to save lives in the winter-blue Cornish waters, Ava begins to see Harry in a different light. Ava’s sisters think working on the lifeboats is risky, and Harry is the only person who understands what she needs to do. What’s more, she’s finding it increasingly difficult to ignore the depth of his sea-green eyes and the sun shining on his sandy blonde hair.

But just when Ava decides she can no longer hide her feelings for Harry, he reveals a devastating secret about the night Ava’s father died. With her world turned upside down, Ava has an important decision to make. Should she open her heart to Harry and take a chance on love? Or will the secret he has shared drive her away from him and the new life she loves?

I have decided to review what is actually a collection of three books set in the small Cornish seaside village of Port Promise, and featuring three siblings from the Morrow family. In common with their father and ancestors before him, all have strong connections with the village’s lifeboat station and a strong desire to save the lives of those at sea.

In the first book in the series, The Lifeboat Sisters, we meet Ava Morrow, the youngest of the three sisters. She is currently teaching watersports to locals and holidaymakers. At the beginning of the book, the sisters are mourning the loss of their father during a rescue at sea. Despite being acutely aware of the dangers, Ava is keen to train as a lifeboat volunteer and join her brother-in-law Killian and best friend Harry serving on the local lifeboat. Her mother and sisters are strongly opposed to any more of the family endangering their lives in this way, and Ava turns to Harry as someone who understands her desire to help others in this way. However, she gradually begins to realise that she is developing more than just feelings of friendship for Harry.

The second book in the series, Second Chances for the Lifeboat Sisters, features middle sister Clara Morrow. Trained as a chef, she is living with artist fiancĂ© Logan in a flat in Port Promise and planning their wedding in the village, while helping friend Cormac run his fish shack. Logan is not totally at home in the village, and when he inherits a house in London, he is keen to return there and set up home with Clara after they are married. Clara can’t imagine life without her mother and sisters close by and doesn’t want to let Cormac down. It seems that she and Logan now have very different ideas for the future. Which life should she choose?

The final book in the series, A Secret for the Lifeboat Sisters, focuses on the oldest Morrow sister, Gaby. She is married to Killian and has two children. Her belief that she has a happy and strong marriage has been challenged recently as Killian has become withdrawn and is apparently hiding secrets from her. Relations become strained between them and when she finds that he has concealed something that threatens radically to change the family dynamics, she is unsure how to act. However, when it seems that Killian’s life is in danger, she realises what is most important to her.

I have enjoyed these three books, and learning about these sisters from such a close-knit family, and indeed community. The girls are all very different in temperament and ambition, but share their love for family and home. The little village of Port Promise is well described, and sounds just the kind of place I would like to visit and stay for a while. The lifeboat station is central to the whole community and the stories bring home to the reader just how important this service and the volunteers who run it are for anyone in or on the sea. The books are well worth a read and best read in order.

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