2016 Blog Tours Books and the City Guest Post Heidi Swain Simon & Schuster
Blog Tour: Summer at Skylark Farm - Guest Post by Heidi Swain
Today, I'm over the moon to welcome Heidi Swain to Alba in Bookland. Heidi has just published her second novel, Summer at Skylark Farm, and to celebrate, she has stopped by to talk about summer reads. Who doesn't love a colourful summer read? Heidi, all yours:
Hello Alba! Thank you so much for inviting me along today to talk about my favourite books for reading on those long, lazy summer days in the park. I readily admit that sticking to just 3 has proved almost impossible and that I would have preferred to add at least another 33 but I’ve given it my best shot!
First up simply has to be The Darling Buds of May by H E Bates
Yes, I know it’s an oldie but it’s also a goodie and it is one of those few novels that I read every single year without fail. You all know I love vintage and retro, don’t you? Well the Larkin family stories set in the fifties are just utter perfection to me. Those meals eaten in the meadow under the shade of the trees, that fabulous cocktail cabinet in the shape of a ship, the hens wandering around the yard and the wonderful way the entire family is so in tune with the seasons, simply makes my heart melt. My mum has told me countless times that her dad had a truck very similar to Pop’s and how the entire family used to be put in the back and then driven off to work the land. What a wonderful image!
I guess it’s no secret that when I’m thinking up rural settings such as Skylark Farm, (along with a very special place to be revealed in Novel Number 4), the Larkin brood and their welcoming farm is very much on my mind. I’m not sure I could match their appetites but transport me back in time and I’ll give it my best shot!
Next up is The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon
This wonderful novel is pure escapism. Just the sort of book I like to have to hand if I’m not planning to go on holiday myself.
The beautiful backdrop of Florida’s Key West coupled with sultry Cuban scuba diver Leo makes for a heady mix and Paige’s beautiful and atmospheric writing quite easily makes me forget that I’m in my back garden in Norfolk rather than poolside Stateside!
I’m also big on settings. I always have been and more often than not it is the place my mind will conjure up before the people when I am planning a new novel. I like to have the scene set ready for the characters to enter stage left and the descriptions of Leo’s fabulous home in The Longest Holiday have me longing to pull the sofa outdoors (if only it weren’t for the weather) and sit chatting beneath the stars long into the night.
And last, but by no means least, anything by Milly Johnson (or Dame Milly Johnson as she is known in our house) and yes, I know I’m cheating a bit but there is one stand-out book of hers that I absolutely adore.
A Spring Affair is, in my opinion, Milly at her wittiest best. Her main character Lou is utterly transformed by the end of the novel, as is her home and her life thanks to some serious de-cluttering. There’s nothing quite so cathartic as a good clear-out and, combined with one very hot hero, cleaning the house is a pleasure rather than a pain! If only I could peel myself off the lounger to make a start…
If I’m struggling for inspiration when I sit down to write I now have a ‘what would Lou do’ moment and off I go to empty out a drawer or clear a cupboard. By the time I’ve finished I’m not only feeling like a Domestic Goddess but I’ve also come up with a gem of an idea or sorted through a knotty plot problem.
So there you have three (and a bit) of my favourite reads for Summer Loving. I hope you all enjoy a very bookish summer and do get in touch and let me know which 3 would make your list. Not as easy as it sounds, is it?
Thank you so much Heidi for sharing your summer picks with us! Milly Johnson and Paige Toon are also firm favourites for me!
About the book:
Amber is a city girl at heart. So when her boyfriend Jake Somerville suggests they move to the countryside to help out at his family farm, she doesn't quite know how to react. But work has been hectic and she needs a break so she decides to grasp the opportunity and make the best of it.
Dreaming of organic orchards, paddling in streams and frolicking in fields, Amber packs up her things and moves to Skylark Farm. But life is not quite how she imagined - it's cold and dirty and the farm buildings are dilapidated and crumbling.
But Amber is determined to make the best of it and throws herself into farm life. But can she really fit in here? And can she and Jake stay together when they are so different?
A story of love in the countryside from the author of the bestselling The Cherry Tree Café. Perfect for Escape to the Countrydreamers, Cath Kidston fans and Country Living addicts!