Zennor in Darkness was Dunmore’s debut novel. It is set in the Cornish town of Zennor, north of Penzance.
It is an imagining of DH Lawrence and his wife’s time in the town while in hiding during the First World War. With the unfolding drama of 1917 with U-boats sinking ships and the paper full of propaganda about spies, DH Lawrence and his wife Frieda’s arrival is treated with suspicion. They befriend a local artist, who struggles to try and comfort her shell shocked cousin. With its depictions of Cornwall’s brooding wartime wilderness and intimate view of the county’s farming community what is shown is that Zennor proves that it is neither a place of restoration nor escape.
Further recommended reading: Ingo Chronicles (2005), Birdcage Walk (2017)