I have been posting recently using the writer’s platform Substack, which you can subscribe to for free to receive new posts and support my work.
Here is one of my Substack posts:
I absolutely love a wedding, don’t you? They’re just so exciting, the music, the clothes, the confetti, the happiness of the bride and groom or the two brides or the two grooms. The sheer hope and joy of a couple taking that leap of faith, entering into a life together. A wedding is such a wonderful, positive occasion.
I also love the excuse to dress up. It’s one of those no holds barred times to wear what you like. An excuse to buy a new outfit (not that I really need one of those but still).
And maybe I’m a bit addicted to love stories and after all a wedding is a mini love story in itself. Besides, I am a romance author so I guess I have some excuse. To be perfectly honest, I watched William and Kate’s wedding about a hundred times. My children who were little then, were thoroughly bored and asking when we could put CBeebies back on – lol! But it was so perfect. The groom, handsome and dashing, the bride radiant and glowing. The guests all garbed in vibrant splashes of colour.
But it’s the story behind the wedding that really captures my interest. My favourite part of the Royal Wedding was that moment between William and Kate which spoke so much more about their relationship than the lavish pomp and ceremony, the money, the status. And that was all captured in a simple look. The look of love. As though they were sharing a secret between them, an intimacy as if all the millions of viewers were not there. A moment in time between just the two of them.
And that’s what makes a wedding magical and the world go round.
It’s the story of what brings about such a great and sincere love, all the ins and outs that is so fascinating. It always frustrates me when writers of other genres, or those who have an intellectual snobbery about romance as a genre complain, ‘but we always know what happens. They get together in the end.’ I always reply, ‘it’s not the what, it’s the how that captures our interest.’ We are all able to fall in love all over again whilst reading a romance story. Along with the heroine, we witness first hand all those little nuances, the frissons, the looks, the brush of a hand like Mr Darcy’s in Pride and Prejudice. One of the best scenes from the 1995 Pride and Prejudice in my humble opinion:
And of course that hand gesture symbolises so much more. It is the not the first connection between Elizabeth and Darcy, but it is one of the major turning points in their relationship. When Darcy begins to feel a physician connection to Lizzie.
And speaking of love and weddings, this week, K and I celebrated our 24 year wedding anniversary. We have been together 31 years. I have to confess I forgot it was this week when I booked our trip to Yorkshire with G and F and little A. But it’s a lovely place to celebrate all together.
Yesterday we visited Fountains Abbey in Ripon. I’ve wanted to go there since I was a small child and my return visit yesterday did not disappoint. It was simply beautiful and the perfect way to celebrate love. I was much struck when we wandered down the path into the valley where the Abbey nestles by a sense of peace and tranquility. It was as though the monks had popped out for a while, maybe to gather some herbs and it was silently, patiently waiting for them to return at the end of the day when all the visitors went home.
The ruins are so romantic, positively picturesque with wild flowers protruding from the ancient stones.
It brings to mind Catherine Morland’s delight in the gothic and romantic in one of my favourite Jane Austen novels, Northanger Abbey. But alas, poor Catherine is to be disappointed…
..every bend in the road was expected with solemn awe to afford a glimpse of its massy walls of grey stone, rising amidst a grove of ancient oaks, with the last beams of the sun playing in beautiful splendour on its high Gothic windows. But so low did the building stand, that she found herself passing through the great gates of the lodge into the very grounds of Northanger, without having discerned even an antique chimney.
Being of a romantic sensibility myself, my mind always runs away with imaginings of mysterious happenings and desperate love stories with love lorn youths when I visit abbey ruins, so I can always relate to Catherine Morland in particular. This love of whimsy and amusement at both Catherine and my own ability to terrify myself with gothic stores provided the inspiration for my second novel, A Wedding at the Jane Austen Dating Agency.
And I’m super excited to announce that today is Audiobook Publication Day for A Wedding at the Jane Austen Dating Agency. It is being published by Saga Egmont, who have done a wonderful audio job as well as providing a lovely cover. Hurrah!
I’ve also been lucky enough to have received some lovely reviews from kind readers and listeners on Netgalley, so thank you so much for these 🙂
OMG!! What a fantastic book. When I selected this I did not know what to expect. The characters are just so great. I could just picture the book unfold in front of me, and was so crushed when it was over. It was like closing the door on a group of best friends. It was so easy to get swept up in the story. I was given a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest opinion.
I’ve already searched out, and am currently reading, the first book in the series. I received this audiobook through Netgalley. This book was everything that I wanted it to be! It has so many characters and I loved Sophie. Sophie faces a lot of relatable challenges that most of us have been through. I love all things Jane Austen and was the reason why I chose this audiobook. I didn’t see the ending coming, but it was exactly what I wanted. If you want a feel good book with some twists along the way, this is the book for you.
I feel super lucky to have such lovely readers and listeners, so massive thank you!
I also had one of the loveliest things any writer can wish for happen this week. A reader has messaged me asking when I am producing another book, as she has read all of my three published novels several times each. Well this is the kind of feedback that just quite simply makes my heart sing and has made this novelist a very happy bunny!
So yes, as I’ve replied to the lovely reader, my next book is due to be published on September 26th this year, so watch this space. Cover reveal and title coming soon!
And if nothing else this week, feel and spread the love. For who doesn’t adore a bit of romance?
Be kind to yourselves,