IT'S SAGA SATURDAY!! Please welcome author Kerry Barrett....

Last February, as Storm Dennis gusted across the UK and stories of Covid-19 began to pop up in news bulletins, I was writing The Smuggler’s Daughter. It’s a story set in Cornwall, in the last year of the 18th century when taxes were high, customs men wielded a lot of power, and women had very little say over their own lives.

I had researched smugglers and taken a trip down to Hastings with my sons to visit the caves where smugglers hid out. I knew all about the history behind my story and I was planning a jaunt to Cornwall to take in the dramatic scenery where my book is set.

And then lockdown happened.

At first I was a bit lost. I’d been to Cornwall before, but not for years. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to capture the brooding landscape properly without visiting.

But then I reconsidered. After all, I write historical fiction and I didn’t live through the Second World War, nor the Georgian era. Nor did I experience the trenches, or Victorian Sussex or even 1960s swinging London – all of which have featured in my novels. Surely, I could conjure up Cornwall with a bit of imagination?

So, as the country shut down and I was stuck in my South London home, I spent lots of time on Google earth, looking at the Cornish coastline. I watched hours of Poldark (no hardship!). I printed out maps and stuck them on my wall so I knew exactly where the coves and bays I was writing about were. And I found myself escaping the dreary repetitiveness of lockdown in my head.

The Smuggler’s Daughter was published at the end of 2020. I’ll always be grateful to it for taking me away from gloomy news reports and worries about home schooling. I know I’m not alone when I say books have been a huge comfort to me this last year; escaping into a fictional world is a real treat in these troubled times. I hope that The Smuggler’s Daughter helps others visit Cornwall in their imagination and provides a little escape for readers while we wait for normal life to return.


The Smuggler’s Daughter

Emily Moon lives with her mother in an inn on a clifftop in the darkest reaches of Cornwall. After her father mysteriously disappears, her mother finds solace at the bottom of a bottle, and the only way to keep afloat is to turn a blind eye to the smugglers who send signals from the clifftops. But Emily knows that the smugglers killed her father to ensure his silence, and she will not let his murder go unpunished…

Present day
After a case ends in tragedy, police officer Phoebe Bellingham flees to Cornwall for a summer of respite. But rather than the sunny Cornwall of her dreams, she finds herself on storm-beaten cliffs, surrounded by stories of ghosts and smugglers – and the mysterious Emily Moon, who vanished without a trace over two centuries ago. As rain lashes down around her, Phoebe determines to find the truth behind the rumours – but what she uncovers will put herself in danger too…


Kerry Barrett is the author of many novels, including the Strictly Come Dancing-themed A Step in Time, and The Girl in the Picture, about a crime novelist who solves a 160-year-old mystery.

Born in Edinburgh, Kerry moved to London as a child, where she now lives with her husband and two sons. She was a massive bookworm growing up. She used to save up her pocket money for weeks to buy the latest Sweet Valley High book, then read the whole story on the bus home and have to wait two months for the next one. Eventually she realised it would be easier to write her own stories.

Kerry also writes wartime Emmerdale novels under the pen name Kerry Bell, and as Posy Lovell

has written The Kew Gardens Girls, set during World War One.

Twitter/Instagram @kerrybean73


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