The Ferryman’s Daughter is an historical family saga set in Cornwall. The story begins in 1908 and focuses on Hester Pearce and her dreams to run a café. Her father rows passengers across the Hayle estuary near St Ives, while her mother keeps the house and uses her cooking skills to create preserves which she sells.
When Hester’s mother dies and her father is badly injured in an accident, Hester is forced to leave school, then take charge of the ferry herself. However, she is determined to make more of her life, so she learns to cook and bake. When World War One breaks out, Hester finds employment in a local house where soldiers are sent to recover; here she puts her resourceful cooking skills to good use.
I enjoyed the Cornish setting of this book, while the parts set during the war were some of my favourites, especially the creative ingredients used during times of shortages. I also liked the parts set in the gardens; I wanted to take part in digging and harvesting of the fruit and vegetables alongside the characters. Overall, a lovely story about a practical young woman and her ambitions to make a living for herself in a period of history when many women traditionally looked after the home.
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Can Hester help her family escape desperate poverty and fulfil her dreams?
1908: Hester always loved her mother best, her father had always been a hard man to like, spending more time (and money) in the local than with his family. After her mother’s sudden death, followed by an injury forcing her father to give up his job as the ferryman, Hester is placed in the position of care-giver for her young brother and sister.
As the years pass Hester must row the ferry night and day to keep them all from starvation, while her hopes of working in a kitchen and one day becoming a cook, slip further and further away.
But just how far is Hester willing to go to make her dream a reality? And as the threat of war comes ever closer to the Cornish coast, will it bring opportunities or despair for Hester and her family?