A Year at Marshywood [Book Review] @BookSirens #Debut

A Year at Marshywood by debut author Marina McLune is an engaging, uplit story of true love and family life.

A Year at Marshywood by Marina McLune

A Year at Marshywood by Marina McLune (cover) Image: a rustic rural house

Genre/Categories/Setting: Fiction (satisfies the 50 year benchmark for historical fiction), Family Life, Sweet Romance (closed door), Coming of Age, Racism/Prejudice, England

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My Summary of A Year at Marshywood:

Thanks @BookSirens and the author for a complimentary e ARC of #AYearAtMarshywood upon my request. All opinions are my own.

In 1979, nineteen-year-old Amanda and her mother and father move from London to a rustic cottage in rural Sussex.  She loves being surrounded by nature and is eager to find work. It’s a bittersweet move because she misses her best friend, Samantha, and worries about her budding romance with Sam’s handsome cousin, Mark. Shocking events take place in the summer when Sam and Mark come to visit Amanda. Will this ruin her chance for romance with Mark? Is there another path to happiness for Amanda?

My Thoughts:


My favorite women’s fiction/romance stories have substantial substance. Romance is only one element of this heartfelt story of complicated family drama, friendship, and racial tension. We do get our expected HEA in a friends to lovers trope, but it’s hard won.

Main Character

Amanda is a strong, earnest, kind, and likeable main character whom you will cheer for as she strives to build a meaningful life and chases her HEA.


I often have a special fondness for debut novels, and I love discovering a new author I can support. There’s much to appreciate about this author’s careful character development and strong sense of place. Chaste romance is my preference and I enjoyed the old-fashioned feel of this story (closed door, no profanity). Engaging from the first page, I enjoyed the careful buildup to a later dramatic turn of events. I look forward to reading more by Marina McLune!


Thoughtful themes include coming of age, finding true happiness, rural life, family expectations and drama, prejudice and racism, inter-racial relationship, and friendship.

Recommending A Year at Marshywood

I’m enthusiastically recommending this heartfelt story for fans of family drama and chase romance, for readers who appreciate a rural English setting and strong sense of place, and for those looking for uplit women’s fiction with an independent and likeable main character. Also recommendable for YA readers.

My Rating:  4  Stars


A Year at Marshywood by Martina McLune (cover) Image: a rural rustic house

More Information Here

Meet the Author of A Year at Marshywood, Marina McLune

(photo unavailable) Marina has been passionate about creative writing since childhood. British-born to Caribbean parents and a solicitor by profession, she left London to move to East Sussex several years ago, and is now blessed to live at the foot of the beautiful South Downs National Park, where she enjoys nature and walks with her husband and three grown-up sons.


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  1. Great review, Carol. I was offered this one from Book Sirens a week or so ago and grabbed it. I am even more anxious to get to it now.

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