Originally published: 24 June 2021
Author: Kate Lord Brown
Published by: Orion Books
Length: 352 pages
Scandal, secrets and strawberries.
A recipe for disaster…
Every summer, Diana Hughes organises a famous baking competition at her beautiful castle in the south west of Ireland, to raise funds for its upkeep. But this year, amongst the bunting and scrumptious cakes, everything is turning out a little differently than planned!
First, her daughter Darcy arrives on the doorstep unexpectedly, after running away to the sunny hills of California with a broken heart a year ago. Then a mysterious stranger tries to sabotage the competition. Diana and Darcy soon find out that the past is quickly catching up with them – and it’s about to turn their lives upside down!…
A Summer at the Castle was published on 24th June and as part of the blog tour, Kate has kindly written a guest post for me to share with you here all about the love of physical book:
THE REAL THING
Books are gorgeous. Books are cheap. Books are a love affair that lasts a lifetime. These are just some of the reasons why we’ve all been dying to get back inside bricks and mortar bookshops. During (waves hands) all this, people have been reading more than ever and the pleasure of browsing in real shops and libraries again is joyful. There’s always that book you didn’t know you needed – a friend of mine reckons there are library angels nudging you in the right direction. Whatever you believe, books make people happy.
I just don’t believe e-readers will ever completely kill off real books. Travelling, an e-reader is a necessary evil for me rather than lugging around manuscripts and piles of hardbacks. But the joy of ‘proper’ books far outweighs the sterile convenience of downloading a file.
It goes without saying that most writers are readers, that they love books. I remember careers day back at school. They were encouraging all the girls to become engineers – my eyes were glazing over rapidly – then Wendy Cope stepped onto the stage. It was an epiphany. She was vibrant, smart, funny – her poetry was accessible but moving and well observed. Unlike all the engineers they had rolled out to talk to us, she looked like she loved her work. I thought to myself: now that is a career. I envisaged a future in libraries and studies surrounded by books – not toting a neat little piece of electronics. How can you ‘furnish a room’ let alone make a house a home without proper books?
I love the tactile quality of books – the ease with which you can flip through the pages, turn corners down, the satisfaction of caressing a crease into a spine. I adore fonts, a well designed jacket, the texture of paper. The summer before university, one of my temp contracts was working at a paper mill. I spent a week typing invoices in payroll with a chain-smoking Harley riding Hells Angel (she kept her lunchtime cider under her desk), before being spirited upstairs to be PA to the MD for the rest of the contract. It was probably more entertaining in payroll, but at least I saw the paper being manufactured – it was like going through the round window in Playschool, huge rolls of virgin white paper whizzing round, machines the size of houses. I was in heaven. As a leaving gift the MD gave me as much paper as I could carry, (even then I was scribbling fiction during lunch breaks). The scribbles were mostly rubbish no doubt – but the first story I ever sold was typed on that paper.
Maybe you’re like me – I not only love writing, but I love books, paper, pens, the swoosh of ink when the words are flowing well. If you see a blank sheet of paper (let alone vast whirling reams of the stuff), don’t you just want to write on it? A love of books, of words, is a love that will last a lifetime. There are so many reasons I love real books, but here are just a few:
- they are the great escape – you switch off from life. Anything too electronic makes me think of work
- I love the smell of them, the look of them (all those colourful spines on the shelves, favourite covers facing out like artworks)
- they are always there when you need them – I tend to have stacks of books at home in each room, in the car, usually too many in my voluminous handbag …
- they last for days, weeks, and often when you get back together years later they’re just as much fun as you remember. One glimpse of a yellowed cover in a second hand book store and the years fall away – it is like meeting an old friend
- they go wherever you go – and take you places you’ve never (or always) dreamt of. Would you risk an e-reader on the beach or reading in the bath? What are a few wrinkled pages among friends?
Thank you to Kate for my gifted and signed copy as part of the blog tour and for writing this fabulous post! Don’t forget to check out these other awesome bloggers!
About the author:
Kate was a finalist in ITV’s The People’s Author contest, and her novel ‘The Perfume Garden‘, which has been published in nine languages, was shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year 2014. She was regional winner of the BBC International Radio Playwriting competition this year, and she holds an MA in Creative Writing. Her books have been top ten bestsellers in the UK, Canada, and several European countries. In 2020 she was highly commended in the RNA Elizabeth Goudge Trophy.
Kate has also written editorial, reviews and regular columns for Traveller, Conde Nast, Good Housekeeping, Blueprint, The Bookseller, Bookbag, Writers’ News, Arts Business, Gulf Times, Woman, Oryx, the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Express and others. She wrote the first book club column in the Middle East for two years, introducing a host of writers to the region through the pages of Ahlan! After many years living overseas, she has returned to the wild and beautiful south west of England, where she grew up. Kate has two books out in 2021, ‘A Season of Secrets‘ and ‘A Summer at the Castle‘ with Orion, and ‘Die Schritte zu deinem Herzen’ (Silent Music) was published by Piper Dec 2020. Kate is working on her next novels.