A novel set on Exmouth’s former Shelly Beach – before the Marina development was built – is to be published next month.

Author Phyllida Shrimpton has created a character named Melody who lived in a small Victorian house, Spindrift, on the beach in the 1980s.

The book, The Storyteller by the Sea, describes how Melody spends her days beachcombing and weaving tales about the items she finds washed up on the seashore.

It comes as a shock to Melody, and the local community, when they learn that her home and the surrounding area are going to be demolished to make way for the upmarket apartment complex.

The book then goes back in time to Melody’s childhood in the 1960s and – as its author explains – explores ‘prejudices that now, in the modern era, we work hard to overcome’.

She said it ‘delves into an era when life, which seemed so much freer and simpler back then, was perhaps not all that it seems’.

Phyllida was inspired to write the book by her childhood summers spent visiting her grandparents, who lived in Exmouth, staying in the Victorian dwellings of 'old Shelly'.

From her girlhood to her teems she spent every summer at the Shelly Beach Bungalows until the 1980s when they were demolished and the docks were closed. 

While researching her novel she talked to locals at The Beach and reunited with old friends, including the former harbourmaster who used to spend time in Shelly.

The book will be published on September 14 and Phyllida will be signing copies at The Beach pub, which features in her novel, on September 21.

She will be happy to chat about the old Shelly versus the new marina development, and how she knows opinions are still divided about the dramatic change to this area of Exmouth.

The Storyteller by the Sea has been described as 'a story of love, loss, secrets and lies', and is praised for being 'heartwarming' and 'uplifting'.

Phyllida Shrimpton does live by the sea, but in Essex, not Exmouth. She said her move to the coast was a lifetime ambition and that writing about the water 'fills her with joy'.