12 February 2022

Book Review: The Haven, by Amanda Jennings


Available for pre-order from

It was meant to be paradise.... Winterfall Farm, spectacular and remote, stands over Bodmin Moor. Wanting an escape from the constraints of conventional life, Kit and Tara move to the isolated smallholding with their daughter, Skye, and a group of friends. Living off-grid and working the land, they soon begin to enjoy the fruits of their labour amid the breathtaking beauty and freedom of the moor.

I spent part of my childhood in Cornwall and remember visiting a remote farm for sale on Bodmin Moor. The appeal of the landscape was compelling, but the practicalities meant it was out of the question.

These same issues slowly become important to the small community who escape their bleak lives in the city and escape to the country in their ‘haven’ at Winterfall Farm on Bodmin Moor. 

I like the way Amanda Jennings switches point of view, with subtle shifts in writing style, to weave the experiences of different characters into the story.

After an idyllic start, one of the characters observes, ‘The trouble with Utopia is it looks ideal on paper, but when you add people it can never work. Each individual brings their own set of past experiences, their own hopes and expectations.’

This is the essence of The Haven, and I soon found I couldn’t put the book down as the pace increases from a leisurely amble to an unexpectedly harrowing ending.

In her author’s note Amanda Jennings mentions that she wrote this book during the pandemic, and there were many times when she yearned to be living in an off-grid farm on Bodmin Moor. Those feelings shine through in her storytelling, to create a book I will remember for a long time.

Tony Riches

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About the Author

Amanda Jennings was born in London in 1973, and her family moved to a village in rural Berkshire when she was young. She accepted a place to read architecture at Cambridge University, but it soon became clear it wasn’t for her and after a year she changed course to History of Art. After she finished university she set up a company with a friend writing copy for a variety of small businesses and then a year or so later was offered a job as a researcher at the BBC. But when she had her first child she found it hard to juggle home life with working, and could no longer ignore her yearning to write. When she became pregnant with her second child, and encouraged by the success of a shortlisted sitcom script in a BBC writing competition, she took the opportunity to be at home with her children, and grabbed every spare moment she could find to write.  Find out more at Amanda's website www.amandajennings.co.uk and find her on Twitter @MandaJJennings

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