"She glanced at her watch. They would be in Merlin Bay in less than half an hour now. Her heart began to beat more quickly. Something was waiting for her at Merlin Bay. She didn't know what it was yet, but she would know soon-in a day, in a week, perhaps. Certainly, when she passed this spot again at the end of the visit, she would know why Michael had wanted her to go there."
So begins Mrs. Paget's month-long holiday as she journeys with the rest of her family to visit her grown-up daughter Pen and her grandchildren, who have moved to Cornwall to reap the benefits of the fresh Cornish air.
But teeming beneath the calm surface of seaside life lies a whole world of secrets, infatuations, hopes and dreams. Over the course of their stay, visitors and residents of Merlin Bay become entangled in each other's lives, disrupting the stability of Pen's seemingly calm domestic life.
From the elderly Mrs. Paget, who visited the bay on her honeymoon nearly fifty years ago but who has never returned, to Pen's teenage daughter Stella, struggling to find her place in the world and feeling her first pangs of desire whilst her younger siblings play innocent childhood games on the beach, in Merlin Bay Crompton skilfully depicts the trials and tribulations of British domestic life. Will the hopes and desires of each family member be realized by the end of their stay? And what secret will Mrs. Paget unearth?
Richmal Crompton's adult novels are an absolute delight and every bit as charming as her beloved Just William series. A nostalgic treat for fans of the gentler brand of interwar fiction, this is the perfect heritage read for fans of 1930s fiction at its best.