Blog tour: All Rivers Run Free by Natasha Carthew.

Hello, and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for All Rivers Run Free by Natasha Carthew!

'A lyrical novel in the vein of Sara Baume and Eimear McBride, about marginalisation, mental illness and the power of nature and motherhood in restoring hope.
A woman on the edge of the sea finds a girl on the edge of life. 

Brittle but not yet broken, Ia Pendilly ekes out a fierce life in a caravan on the coast of Cornwall - ravaged by floods, cut off from Europe and descended to military rule. In years of living with Bran - her embattled, battering cousin and common law husband - she's never had her own baby. So Ia rescues the girl. And the girl, in turn, will rescue something in Ia - bringing back a memory she's lost, giving her the strength to escape, and leading her on a journey downriver, in search of family. In hope of freedom.

Natasha Carthew tells a tale of marginalisation and motherhood in lyrical prose that crashes like waves on the sand; gritty, beautiful and utterly original.'

Natasha has kindly written a beautiful piece for today's blog post about the setting of All Rivers Run Free...


All Rivers Run Free is set in Cornwall and follows one woman’s journey downriver from the north coast to the south.
The Cornwall I write about is the second main character to Ia in All Rivers Run Free and is both friend and enemy, at times it trips her up, tells her lies and is not to be trusted and at other times it throws clues and sustenance her way.
It was important for me to create a hostile setting that Ia would have to navigate through, the country as we know it is unravelling around her. Through an almost unrecognisable Cornwall ravaged by floods and political unrest, Ia embarks on a journey that will finally bring her love and help her find the self she lost thirteen years ago.
It was central to the story that the setting I created was dystopian; through neglect, weathering and floods, I wanted the towns and countryside to be unrecognisable to the picture postcard image people think of when they think of Cornwall.
The places Ia comes across in All Rivers Run Free are real places on the tourist trail that sit near or alongside the River Tamar. Towns like Launceston and visitor centres like Tamar lakes and Morwelham Quay all play a part in the story. I visited these places in winter, off season, so it wasn’t hard to take the people away from them and imagine them abandoned, messed up, dirty. There is a stately home called Cothele that Ia takes refuge in on her journey on the banks of the river and this is where a lot of crucial things happen in her story, I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t read the book, but writing those scenes on that particular riverbank and in the ornate garden was vital in getting the atmosphere right.

Nature also paid a big part in creating a setting that reflected Ia’s emotional turmoil. She is a part of nature and that affinity is reflected in instinct and the way she trusts her environment to help her make the right decision. She is part wild animal, so is at home in the wild weather and the wild setting. The landscape and environmental issues raised in All Rivers Run Free weave their way into Ia’s story and her story in turn becomes a part of the environment; they are interconnected, whilst the river symbolises her passage to salvation.  

The beautiful, poetical and totally original All Rivers Run Free is out now (available here)
Watch out for my full review coming next week!

[Huge thanks to Ana at Quercus books.]

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