I’m not a huge fan of the celebrity-writing-a-novel trend that seems to be blossoming, and so I approached Hidden Treasures by Fern Britton with some trepidation. After years of putting up with adulterous husband Gray, Helen finally makes the decision to do something for herself, files for divorce and escapes her London life to move to idyllic Cornwall village Pendruggan. Buying the beautiful ‘Gull’s Cry’ cottage, she finds that not only does she have a chance at independence and a different pace of life, she also has the opportunity to become part of a community.
Polly and ‘Simple Tony’ live next door – Tony in a hut at the bottom of Polly’s garden; Don and Dorrie run the pub; Queenie is a feisty old lady who owns the village shop, Simon is the vicar and Piran is the local historian. As Helen begins to settle into a new way of life, she begins to develop strong friendships. Tony helps her to convert her weed-strewn patch of grass into a beautiful garden, and Simon is thrilled that ‘Gull’s Cry’ Cottage has such a lovely new owner.
Helen cannot fully escape her London life, however, as grown children Chloe and Sean are always keen to visit, and her best friend, film producer Penny, decides that Pendruggan would be the ideal place to film her upcoming detective drama. Gray is also an added complication and continues to get in touch, unable to accept that Helen has finally let him go.