Books · Read in 2023 · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Visitor (Katherine Stansfield)

A beautifully written story that pulled me in in the end

★★★★★ – CALSPIE 9.29

Title: The Visitor
Author: Katherine Stansfield
Genre: Fiction / Historical
First published: 2013
Edition: Kindle e-book

Cornwall. 1880. Pearl, Jack and Nicholas play among the fishing boats of Skommow Bay, not understanding the undercurrents beneath their games. As they grow older, the choices they make shape the pattern of their lives. 1936 and everything has changed. The fish have stopped coming and the Pilchard Palace is abandoned. Pearl, exiled in favour of holidaymakers, turns to the memory of her great love, and her greatest loss. She’s waiting for her own visitor. Will he come for her? The sea’s ghosts are stirring. The past can be more alive than the present…


Wow, this one was a surprise. This is a very small story grandly told. I did not know when I started exactly what I would get myself into, but by the end I was blown away by this incredibly written novel.

If I had known what it was about exactly, I am not sure whether I would have read this. It deals with dementia from the perspective of the person affected by it and I am not sure I have read that before quite like this. You feel the confusion, or sometimes the non-confusion, the belief in what our main character Pearl is experiencing.

The setting in a small fishing village in Cornwell was beautifully described and you could feel it brimming with life and then the fear and despair of the people when the fish no longer come. Incredibly well done.

Although I loved the writing style from the start I was unsure whether it would be for me for a good while. The further I got into the story, the more I felt invested in Pearl’s wellbeing. The dual timeline worked beautifully. There is a bit of a mystery going on and I kind of loved the way that the story handled the solution and counted on the reader to solve it.

I kept it dry right until the last page and I can only say that this is a great story, even if I would not have thought it was my kind of read. I am so glad I read it!

4.75 out of 5 stars



  • Characters: 10
  • Ambience: 10
  • Language: 10
  • Story: 9
  • Pacing: 9
  • Interest: 8.5
  • Enjoyment: 8.5

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