A Good Catch by Fern Britton

His own boat. Money coming in. A son he adored. A marriage that was happy enough. 
A secret that was safe.

Title - A Good Catch
Author - Fern Britton
Publication Date - April 23rd 2015 (Kindle Edition & Hardcover)
Publisher - HarperCollins
Format - Hardcover (Provided via publisher)
Pages - 400

The blurb

Even happy families have their secrets...

Greer Clovelly seems to have it all, beautiful, chic and slender, she's used to getting her own way. Greer has been in love with Jesse Behenna since her first day at school and she's determined that one day, they'll be married. After all, a marriage between them would join together two dynasties of Cornish fishing families to make one prosperous one. 

For her friend, Loveday Carter - plump, freckled and unpretentious - living in the shadow of her friend has become a way of life. She loves Jesse too, but knows that what Greer wants, she usually gets. 

Jesse, caught in the middle, faces an agonising choice. Should he follow his heart or bow to his father's wishes? And what about his best friend Mickey, who worships the ground that Loveday walks on? 

Jesse's decision will touch them all in ways that they could never foresee, and as the dark clouds start to gather the four friends find themselves weathering a storm - one that has the power to sink them all...

Becca's thoughts

Before I begin my review, I'd like to take a moment to wish Fern Britton a FABULOUSLY EXCITING publication day! A Good Catch publishes today by HarperCollins (Kindle Edition & Hardcover) and bookish beauts, let me tell you, if you're planning a trip down to the seaside this summer, then A Good Catch is the book that you need in your bag! I'd also like to say a massive thank you to the wonderful Amy Winchester for getting in touch with me in regards to a review copy. I am so, so chuffed that she did, because I adored this book. Utterly, utterly adored it. Let me tell you why...

Fern Britton chose to set A Good Catch in the idyllic Cornish fishing town known as Trevay. Right away, with the added bonus of Fern's fantastic descriptions, I was able to picture this setting beautifully. Each of my senses were brought to life during my time in Trevay; I could smell the salty sea air, I could see the homes and the people, could hear the calls from the fish market, and quite simply, I felt as if I were an extra character in the book. I absolutely adored Trevay, there was a real sense of community there, the sort where everybody knows everybody else and the families have been around for generations. To me, this was the perfect place to escape to, making me feel as if I were on holiday when in reality, I was just sitting in the garden in the sunshine. I lost myself incredibly easily to the story within the pages, and I found myself gripped from the get-go, taking the book everywhere with me and reading it at every given chance. Following the theme of fishing and life beside the sea that appears as an ongoing theme within the book, it's fair to say that A Good Catch by Fern Britton had me hook, line, and sinker!

Fern opens A Good Catch with a most intriguing prologue, and gives the reader a glimpse of two of the main characters, Loveday Carter and Greer Clovelly. Of course, at this point, the reader knows nothing about the two women, but there's a clear hint at something that has happened previously, and immediately, I wanted to know exactly what that something was. The atmosphere was rather glum, and slightly depressive, instantly making me wonder what had gone on. A million questions popped into my mind, a million scenarios, but most importantly, that needed 'tug' to dive into the book and find out for myself. After that, Fern whisks the reader back to the past, right back to where it all truly began, and I was riveted. I adored that A Good Catch began in this way. It opened up a whole history between Loveday and Greer, triggering them as being so much more believable. I loved that immediately, I felt like they went way back with each other, that a whole life had happened before I'd even opened the book. There was a familiarity between them, how they spoke and how Loveday comforted Greer, and so I was interested to see how it had all began, when their friendship had started, and how they'd come to find themselves where they were in the present day. 

The characters within A Good Catch were fantastically memorable. When I wasn't reading the book, I was thinking about them, and that's such a good sign in my eyes, because it again highlights just how real these characters felt to me. The story focuses on Greer Clovelly, Loveday Carter, Jesse Behenna and Mickey Chandler. Fern, amazingly, manages to fit a huge time-scale within her 400 pages, so that I truly felt, once finished, that I'd lived a lifetime right beside them. Fern takes us from childhood right the way up to fully grown adults, and still manages to include all of the small milestones in-between. Now, there's a real complication of feelings within the group, which had me eager to see how their lives would play out. It was a real tangle of feelings, yet beautifully managed by the author as the plot progressed. Each character came with their own uniquely prominent features, allowing me to set them apart neatly in my mind. Greer Clovelly was a very prim and proper girl, which continued well into adulthood. Bred from a rich family, Greer usually got what she wanted. What also became apparently rather quickly was that Greer's father pretty much had Greer's future set out for her, and that involved marrying Jesse Behenna. This was due to the fact that both Greer and Jesse's fathers owned chunks of the fishing industry within Trevay, and what better than to pull the two parts together and take the fishing industry by storm? Fern couldn't allow the plot to be so simple though, and to mix things up, Jesse wasn't interested in Greer Clovelly at all. In fact, he had his eye on Loveday, who wasn't as prim as Greer, was slightly overweight, and was adored by Mickey. See what I mean? It-was-brilliant. A real love triangle that brought these characters to life beautifully! If I hadn't already been transfixed by the mysterious prologue, then by this point I was desperate to watch these four lives continue. I just couldn't wait to see where Fern took them throughout the book.

And then BAM! Something happened (I won't tell you exactly what that something was), that changed the direction of these characters' lives entirely. I couldn't help but stare, gob-smacked, at the pages within my hands as I read on. This something took me completely by surprise, and quite simply, I'm surprised the pages didn't catch fire by the sheer pace of which I was began to turn them. It was incredible, and I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that things were about to get pretty freaking serious. I JUST COULD NOT GET ENOUGH! Of course, Fern takes the reader further forward in time with every few chapters, allowing the reader to see what's changed and what hasn't. I felt so emotionally connected to the characters, I just couldn't consider, for a single second, putting the book down. It wasn't that I needed to know what happened next, but rather that I HAD to know, for my own peace of mind. It was such a messy, tangle of feelings and relationships, and just wow. This was definitely one of those books that I felt desperate to finish but, at the same time, didn't want to finish.

When I began to near the end A Good Catch, I couldn't quite believe how much time had elapsed within the pages. I'd seen these characters grow up, make their decisions, take the necessary steps, and live out their lives. At times, it felt bitter-sweet, full of heartbreaking regrets and wishful longing, as well painful and sad. The circumstances of each of the characters lives took hold of me, and if I'm going to be honest, I wasn't happy with some of the decisions that the characters decided to make. I felt like screaming at them, to change their minds, to make things right! But of course they couldn't hear me, and so I was forced to watch their actions and the consequences that were sure to follow. God, it was beautiful and gut-wrenchingly melancholy. The twist and turns the characters' lives took left me feeling helpless as I watched it all play out in Fern's words, and I couldn't do a single thing to stop it. 

After finishing A Good Catch by Fern Britton, I believe I've learnt a little lesson, and that lesson is to always do what makes you happy, not anybody else. Regrets are a hurtful, awful thing to have to do deal with for the rest of a person's life, and sometimes, these regrets can become a little too much to handle. It just goes to show that when faced with a decision, always go with your heart. A Good Catch was a beautifully written and structured book, that truly captured my heart and had me tearful as I turned the few last pages. Trevay may have seemed like the perfect little Cornish fishing town at the beginning, but by the end of the book, you realise that there is so much more to Trevay than meets the eye. 

Becca's Books is awarding A Good Catch by Fern Britton with FIVE DELICIOUS CUPCAKES! This is the perfect book to lose yourself within this summer, beneath the sun and a blue sky. Never has a fictional place felt so alive and vivid to me. Never have I wanted to turn back time for a character and make things right as much as I wanted to with this. Absolutely, 100%, the book you need in your beach bag this summer, I promise you. 




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