Dunster’s Calling

Dunster’s Calling


What’s a heart to do when family and home are continents apart?

Sam knows exactly where she wants to spend her life: Exmoor, England. Its heather-clad moors and stunningly beautiful coastline own her heart and soul. She imagines no better existence than the life she leads with Dunster—her handsome and loyal, though always hungry, Exmoor pony. Why would she ever leave?

One transatlantic relocation, two decades, and an empty nest later, Sam desperately needs an answer to that question. An unexpected request from her American husband awakens the crushing realisation she may be living the wrong life in the wrong country. Her apprehension is compounded by the discovery of an ancient Cornish word: hireth. Its meaning—a deep yearning for home with a sense of loss—sends her tumbling through the longitudinal cracks of an expat life, crash-landing in national-identity-crisis territory. Second-guessing decisions made years earlier, she must determine where her heart truly resides. But will the answer force her to choose between her husband and her homeland?

Told with humour, deep reverence for England, and compassion for the human-equine bond, Dunster’s Calling speaks to world travellers and homebodies alike of the love between a girl and her pony, and a woman and the country she left behind.

Inspiration for the book

Dunster’s Calling was my attempt to cure my own bout of hireth—a Cornish word meaning homesickness for a home you cannot go back to, maybe a home that never was. As I contemplate returning to England after nearly thirty years in the United States, Dunster encouraged me to look deeper into what I thought I was returning to. The revelations left me both laughing out loud at long-forgotten memories and sobbing into my keyboard at all I’d missed during my time away. Writing this novel was a more emotional journey than I’d originally planned to take.

Quote from Dunster’s Calling

‘The little colt with a mealie muzzle and soft eyes stared at Sam, unblinking. They’d met before. Sam’s presence was acknowledged with the same interest as a breeze or a view or a starry night, and she knew what it was to be a truly naturalized citizen.’




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