My Favourite Book of 2020

Posted on 29th January, 2021

At the end of each year into the beginning of each new year, there are plenty of lists doing the rounds of Best Books of the Year. I haven't nominated my own personal 'best book' before, but this year I simply have to share with you a book that I think is outstanding.


It is The Ferryman's Daughter by Juliet Greenwood.



This is a novel that will appeal to historical fiction buffs and saga lovers alike - an enthralling tale set in rural and coastal Cornwall in the early part of the 20th century, written with warmth, honesty, pace and a deep understanding of the human heart.


In Hester, Juliet Greenwood has created an exceptionally strong and appealing heroine and I loved and admired her as she fought to follow her dream in spite of numerous setbacks that occurred thanks to the conventions and expectations of the day. I lived every single frustration with her.


Hester is the ferryman's daughter, but she is also the daughter of a cook and I asked Juliet Greenwood about this aspect of the story. This is what she told me:


"I loved researching recipes for Hester, particularly for when she becomes a cook in a soldiers’ convalescent during the First World War. Before the war, those who could afford it were used to consuming large amounts, including of meat, so the shortages came as a bit of a shock. Many of the recipes I found were ones from newspapers of the time and were for things like potato bread, a meatless meal (basically leeks on toast!), preserving fruit without sugar and tips on making the most of the vegetables in your allotment."


Thinking about the Covid situation we are all living through at present, Juliet added: "It was rather unnerving seeing this humdrum advice set in between reports of horrific battles and the lists of the dead, all just part of the fabric of life. It really brought home how it must have been for those living through those years. This was just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, so of course I look back on those newspapers with a new understanding. Now, they remind me just how resilient human beings can be, and how, for the most part, such experiences bring us together, even when we are apart. It’s also quite strange to think that future generations will be looking at our own newspapers and social media and wondering what it must have been like to live though something like this, and how on earth we coped …."


The Ferryman's Daughter is a thoroughly engrossing and satisfying book, packed with drama and emotion and enhanced by a strong sense of time and place, all served up by a gifted writer.


Here is the purchase link: The Ferryman's Daughter on Amazon. I hope you love it as much as I did!




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Comments (3)

'The Ferryman's Daughter' was a favourite book of my last year & I enjoyed this glimpse 'behind the book,' as well as unexpected links with the current pandemic.
I’m not surprised you chose ‘The Ferryman’s Daughter’, Susanna. I have admired Juliet’s writing in all her books and thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful novel for the reasons you have listed. A great post, thank you.
Thank you, Susanna, for choosing 'The Ferryman's Daughter' as your book of the year! I'm touched and honoured. x