Less than one month till The Summer We Ran Away hits the shelves! I hope you’ll love it. And I hope it provides some much needed escapism. With summer holidays looking increasingly unlikely, what better way to take a break than with a book.
Early reviews have been fab:
‘The perfect summer escape whilst in lockdown.’ The World is a Book
‘Funny, warm, heartfelt and a lovely read. I actually think this is my favourite so far.’ Thispriceisusuallyright.com
‘It was a rollercoaster of ups and downs and I give it top marks. It kept me hooked all the way through. I absolutely loved this book.’ @healthandlifehappywife
‘Such a perfect summery read about being brave, taking chances and appreciating what you have. I loved it.’ overflowinglibrary.com
Don’t forget, you can preorder your copy online now, pop it in your trolley at the supermarket, or get in touch with your local bookstore to order it for you.
I’ve found reading one of the greatest escapes in these current times. My New Year’s resolution was to read as many books as I could from my bookshelf. Little did I realise I’d be granted the time to do so! Having never really read Orwell before – bar an attempt at 1984 when I was way too young – I read Keep The Aspidistra Flying and couldn’t quite believe how accessible it was. I’m guilty of shying away from anything I think is going to be hard work and it shamed me into realising my mistake! On that note, I read Pachinko which my mum gave me and has sat on my bookshelf unread for a while. But oh my god, I LOVED it. And still miss the characters now. Years ago, I bought The Thorn Birds from a car boot sale with the most amazing classic cover. TBH, I bought it for the cover rather than to read it, but I’m on the last few pages now and so pleased I didn’t let it sit on the shelf forgotten.
I haven’t stuck purely to the resolution, however. My shopaholic tendencies have been steered from browsing the TKMaxx and Hennes aisles to Waterstones.com, thehive.com and my lovely local bookshop, The Open Book, who are rustling me up a copy of Alexandra Shulman’s Clothes and Other Things That Matter. I love a book that’s hit the headlines, and I’ve just finished Such a Fun Age which had me gripped. As did American Dirt. And Daisy Jones and the Six was a refreshingly unique interlude. Yesterday a new box arrived on the doorstep packed with goodies including The Binding, Uprooted and a jigsaw (don’t get me started on my new OBSESSION with jigsaws!)
Lots of little things come together to create good things in troubled times. As well as reading, these have been mine:
The smell of Aesop geranium leaf body cleanser that I was given ages ago and saved for ‘best’. Well now seemed like a GREAT time for indulgence.
The family-walk ritual which is always to the same patch of parkland where we’ve flown a kite in the wind, fished unsuccessfully with a twig and a piece of nylon thread, collected too many pine cones and stared up at the clear blue sky.
Listening to Masterclass while doing the afore mentioned jigsaw and drinking a well-earned glass of post-homeschool wine.
Clapping on a Thursday for the wonderful NHS and seeing all the neighbours out on the road or on their balconies, the kids in their pyjamas bashing saucepans and drums. It’s amazing.
I’d love to hear what’s getting you through the day at the moment. What are you loving? What books are you reading?
Don’t forget, you can preorder THE SUMMER WE RAN AWAY now. It’s out in June. And CHELSEA HIGH, my debut young adult book, is out in August. Both perfect escapist reading 😉
In other news, THE SUMMER WE RAN AWAY is available for preorder and currently awaiting its gorgeously summery cover. I’ll update asap. It’s all about the perils of WhatsApp and fleeing your so-called perfect life under the worst circumstances! Join Julia and Amber on their Thelma and Louise-esque road trip across France in search of answers, forgiveness and themselves. Look out for it Spring/ Summer 2020
And last but not least, one of my all-time favourite books, THE HOUSE WE CALLED HOME, has been given a sparkling new make-over. Look out for it in bookshops/ supermarkets near you or buy now online…
I’m always really nosy when it comes to other people’s summer reading, so if you’re interested, here’s mine so far: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (fascinating and a real conversation starter in terms of what-would-you-do?); One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson, the second Jackson Brodie novel. I love these books, I didn’t want this one to end!; The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker. I seem to be on a bit of a Greek myth binge because I’m also reading Stephen Fry’s Mythos; and now I’m just starting I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe which I started a few years ago and didn’t finish but I’m giving it another go, except the typeface in my copy is really tiny so I’m off to the library to see if there’s a newer version with a bigger font!
What have you loved this summer? Let me know. Whatever it is you’re enjoying, I wish you very happy reading!
The paperback of The House We Called Home has hit the shelves. So if you’re looking for something to read in the sunshine this weekend then head to Sainsbury’s to get your copy in their Recommended For You promotion.
To celebrate publication there’s a fab blog tour and a Twitter competition run by @HQStories. You have to say what makes a house a home and there have been such lovely answers so far. For me it’s all about family and all my knickknacks! Pop over to Twitter and let us know what you think makes a house a home.
As always, I’d love to know what you think when you’ve finished the book so do come back here and let me know your thoughts.
For all those who were waiting with baited breath to see if anything grew in my new little garden, you’ll be VERY excited to find out that it did! There are flowers everywhere and I water them with a constant panicked watchful eye. More pics below.
Secondly, The House We Called Home, my brand-new summer book has gone into the great Kindle Summer sale and is currently a bargainous 99p. You don’t even have to wait you’re on holiday to read it seeing as we’re living one long hot summer right now. Download, enjoy and be sure to let me know what you think!
Almost as exciting, loads of my other books are also currently 99p, so you can have a Jenny Oliver bingefest, if you so desire. It’s too hot to be inside watching TV anyway, much better to be sitting outside with a book 😉
I moved house recently and have a garden for the very first time. It’s titchy and was covered in ivy which we spent hours hacking down. I have no idea what’s growing in it – what I thought was a weed is actually honeysuckle. There’s a toad the size of a baby rabbit living under a rock and more snails than it’s possible to count. But I’ve become quite obsessed with cultivating this little patch and have spent amounts of money in Squires Garden Centre that I can’t even justify in And Other Stories!
The result is this…
A huge cold water tank of earth. And a sink to match. (I can claim no credit for the already growing green-leafed plants which were the handy work of the people at Squires).
You can’t see it but there are a million different types of bulbs and seeds in these two containers. My money is under that soil. 98% of me thinks not a lot is going to happen. 2% (which is secretly dominant) thinks I’m going to get a riotous cascade of colour and blooms to rival anything I was forced to watch on Gardeners’ World as a child.
I thought you might be interested in sharing this journey. (If not, at the least you can snigger when nothing happens). And I will report back to all of you waiting with baited breath…