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The Forever House By Veronica Henry

The “Forever House‘The Forever House’ is the latest book by Veronica Henry.

Hunter’s Moon is the ultimate ‘forever’ house. Nestled by a river in the Peasebrook valley, it has been the Willoughbys’ home for over fifty years, and now estate agent Belinda Baxter is determined to find the perfect family to live there. But the sale of the house unlocks decades of family secrets – and brings Belinda face to face with her own troubled past.

I started this book the other night and fell in love with the bittersweet tale.

When Sally’s husband, Alexander is diagnosed with Motor Neurone disease, they decide to sell up the family home, for something a lot more easier to manage. The home called ‘Hunter’s Moon’ has been in Alexander’s family for generations and holds many memories for the family and both Sally and Alex, as it was the place that they fell in love in, when Sally was hired as the family housekeeper many years. Deciding to move out of my their happy home, they invest their trust into Belinda Baxter, the local estate agent who invests her time and dedication to helping people find their forever home, the kind and gentle woman who feels an empathy towards the elderly couple.

The story is told in the past and present tense, when Sally and Alexander first met back in 1967 and Sally was employed as housekeeper for Hunter’s Moon, when Alexander’s mother, Margot was a bestselling author and invested all her time in writing and let the house go to wrack and ruin, but then Alexander met Sally and thought she would be perfect, homely and organised, she settled into Hunter’s Moon and quickly became part of the family. The present tense, is the elderly couple having to deal with the double blow of leaving their home as well as deal with Alexander’s as they both notice his health deteriorating. Meanwhile, Belinda has her own problems as she tries to find the perfect buyer for Hunter’s Moon, her past reappears bringing with them unhappy memories and old ghosts.

This is truly, a lovely story. It’s a warm hearted and whimsical tale that is filled with charm as well as sadness, as Sally and Alexander prepare to leave their family home and deal with his illness. The scenes about Motor Neurone disease were sensitively written and researched well and I felt a strong empathy for Alexander as he challenged the changes in his body. The relationship between Sally and Alexander is a tender and interesting one, reading through the past chapters, it’s lovely how they went from friends to lovers and how seamlessly their relationship developed. Margot, Alexander’s mother was a vibrant character, self absorbed and dramatic, she loved being the centre of attention and struggled when this wasn’t the case. I particularly loved Belinda, her warm and soft nature and genuine care for clients made for sweet reading and I really empathised with her at times.

Beautifully written, ‘The Forever House’ is a poignant tale of love and loss, with tender characters and storyline, this book was an absolute feel good page turner.

You can buy The Forever House from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops

Veronica Henry Writers Tips

Veronica HenryAuthor of ‘The Forever House’, Veronica Henry shares her writing tips for aspiring authors.

All budding writers should remember that anyone can start a book, but not everyone can finish one. So keep going until you reach the end. Writing is an endurance test. It’s not enough to have a brilliant idea. It’s got to keep going for at least 300-odd pages.

Veronica Henry

Veronica HenryVeronica Henry has worked as a scriptwriter for ‘The Archers’, ‘Heartbeat’ and ‘Holby City’ amongst many others, before turning to fiction. She won the 2014 RNA Novel of the Year award for ‘A Night On The Orient Express’. Veronica lives with her family in a village in north Devon.

  1. To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into this?
    I started out typing scripts on ‘The Archers’ and it was there I realised that people need an escape from everyday life, whether from books or radio or TV. I learned a lot about storytelling from reading the scripts and hearing them recorded in the studio. I went on to become a script editor for ITV, then when I had my first child I jumped over the fence and wrote scripts for ten years. I wrote for ‘Doctors’ and ‘Heartbeat’ and ‘Holby City’. Then in 2000 I realised my real love was for books and by a miracle I got a book deal! I’m now on my 17th novel.
  2. What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
    It’s a bit of a love/hate relationship. When it’s going well it’s as if someone is dictating the story to you and it just flows through your fingers. When it goes badly you can’t imagine being able to write another word. I like naming my characters, and decorating their houses – that can hardly be called work! I also like the big emotional turning points: the confrontation or the revelation or the secret encounter And parties – I love writing a party. There are always so many things going on underneath the surface glitter.
  3. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    Oscar Wilde, Jilly Cooper, Elizabeth Jane Howard, Hemingway, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. There would probably be wine too!
  4. What do you think makes a good book?
    Character character character. As long as you care about the characters, you will be engaged – even if you don’t actually like them.
  5. Was there ever a book that you read, that didn’t live up to the hype that surrounded it and left you disappointed?
    I’m not a massive fan of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ – I know that’s controversial, but I find it a bit irritating. Though I suppose that hasn’t been hyped as such!
  6. From books to films, what’s been your favourite adaptation?
    I absolutely love ‘The Railway Children’. It’s a wonderful book but the film version wrings every drop of emotion from the pages.
  7. Who is your all time favourite character from a book?
    I’m a little bit smitten by Boris from ‘The Goldfinch’ by Donna Tartt – he is so naughty and dangerous and reckless and ingenious. He would never bore you. And I am fatally attracted to unsuitable men.
  8. If you were starting your writing journey again, would you do anything differently?
    I would learn to worry less and care more. If you enjoy your writing, it shines through in your work.
  9. The “Forever House

  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    ‘Oliver Twist’, ‘Kitchen Confidential’ by Anthony Bourdain and ‘Madame Bovary’ in French to give me a challenge to occupy my mind.
  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    All budding writers should remember that anyone can start a book, but not everyone can finish one. So keep going until you reach the end. Writing is an endurance test. It’s not enough to have a brilliant idea. It’s got to keep going for at least 300-odd pages.
  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    My miniature Schnauzer, Zelda – who is named after Zelda Fitzgerald.
  13. And finally Veronica do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
    I’m writing my seventeenth novel – I can’t believe it. It’s still quite early stages – but I met someone last night and our conversation sparked something that gave me the missing ingredient. That’s why I love writing – a random encounter can develop into something really exciting.

    Oh – and my sixteenth novel ‘The Forever House’ is out now!

Follow on Twitter Veronica Henry for updates

You can buy The Forever House from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Nominations For The 2014 Romantic Novelists’ Association Awards

RONAThe annual shortlist for the RoNA awards were revealed and I am delighted to see that some of my recent favourite books are amongst the nominees.

The five category winners competing for the Romantic Novel of the Year are drawn from 30 finalists’ books; six each from the five categories – Contemporary Romantic Novel, Epic Romantic Novel, Historical Romantic Novel, Romantic Comedy Novel and Young Adult Romantic Novel.

The Category Shortlists
Listed in alphabetical order

The Contemporary Romantic Novel category is for mainstream romantic novels set post-1960 and includes genres such as chick lit, paranormal and romantic suspense.

Helen Chandler, Two for Joy, Hodder & Stoughton
Susan Elliot Wright, The Things We Never Said, Simon & Schuster
Veronica Henry, A Night On The Orient Express, Orion
Lisa J Hobman, Bridge Over The Atlantic, 5 Prince Publishing
Lisa Jewell, Before I Met You, Arrow
Pippa Wright, The Foster Husband, Pan

The Epic Romantic Novel category contains serious issues or themes, including gritty, multi-generational stories.

Jessica Blair, The Road Beneath Me, Piatkus
Mary Fitzgerald, The Love Of A Lifetime, Arrow
Emma Fraser, When Dawn Breaks, Sphere
Kate Lord Brown, The Perfume Garden, Atlantic (Corvus)
Jennifer McVeigh, The Fever Tree, Penguin
Lucinda Riley, The Midnight Rose, Pan

The Historical Romantic Novel category is for novels set in a period before 1960.

Charlotte Betts, The Painter’s Apprentice, Piatkus
Christina Courtenay, The Gilded Fan, Choc Lit
Liz Harris, A Bargain Struck, Choc Lit
Joanna Hickson, The Agincourt Bride, Harper Collins
Carol McGrath, The Handfasted Wife, Accent Press
Annie Murray, The Women Of Lilac Street, Pan

The Romantic Comedy Novel is for consistently humorous or amusing novels.

Jenny Colgan, Christmas At The Cupcake Café, Little, Brown
Jenny Colgan, The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, Little, Brown
Margaret James, The Wedding Diary, Choc Lit
Milly Johnson, It’s Raining Men, Simon and Schuster
Ali McNamara, Step Back In Time, Little, Brown
Fiona Walker, The Summer Wedding, Sphere

The Young Adult Romantic Novel features protagonists who are teenagers or young adults.

Liz Bankes, Irresistible, Piccadilly Press
Christina Courtney, New England Rocks, Choc Lit
Alex Gutteridge, Last Chance Angel, Templar Publishing.
Imogen Howson, Linked, Quercus
Marie-Louise Jensen, Smuggler’s Kiss, Oxford University Press
Beth Reekles, The Kissing Booth, Corgi

RoNA Rose Award – the finalists do not contest the Romantic Novel of the Year Award – recognises the best in category/series and shorter romance that focus on developing a love affair between the hero and heroine.

Louise Allen, Forbidden Jewel of India, Harlequin Mills & Boon
Caroline Anderson, Snowed in with the Billionaire, Harlequin Mills & Boon
Liz Fielding, Anything But Vanilla, Harlequin Mills & Boon
Joanna Fulford, His Lady of Castlemora, Harlequin Mills & Boon
Kate Hardy, Bound by a Baby, Harlequin Mills & Boon
Kate Hardy, Her Real Family Christmas, Harlequin Mills & Boon

The 2014 RNA Awards will be announced and presented by Darcey Bussell on 17th March in the Reading and Writing Room of the Gladstone Library in London. Good luck and best wishes to all the authors nominated.

Christmas At The Crescent By Veronica Henry

Christmas At The Crescent‘Christmas At The Crescent’ is the perfect evening accompaniment, a luxurious and delicious treat of a story that certainly makes your tummy rumble with the assortment of puddings and cakes and your mouth water at the conclusion of handsome men.

At Number 14, Josie Ballard is up to her ears in brandy, raisins and cherries as she battles to make forty Christmas puddings to sell at Bath Christmas Market. Ever since Giles walked out the day their baby was born, Josie has had to work twice as hard to make ends meet. Sacrificing a career as a chef, her famous steamed puddings keep her and her gorgeous baby boy Titus afloat. Almost. So when, in the middle of Stir Up Sunday, a new neighbour in the Crescent complains about the noise that Titus is making, Josie gives him a basinful…

Giles, meanwhile, is finding life in the fast-lane with his uber-glamorous new girlfriend Rebecca rather draining. With one party blurring into another, he’s now wondering if he hasn’t made a terrible mistake in abandoning Josie and his child. Isn’t it time he grew up, his mother asks, and Giles is starting to agree. So when he discovers Josie has a handsome new neighbour, Giles decides it’s time to step up to his parental duties…

The story is seen from the perspectives of separated couple Josie and Giles, one of them is moving forward whilst the other is stuck in a rut. Josie is a sweet, warmhearted character, who seems complacent in life, whereas Giles regrets leaving Josie for his ex-girlfriend on the day that Josie gives birth to their son Titus. Preferring to have a quiet life, Josie rarely speaks up and and wants nothing more than to make Titus’ first Christmas a perfect one. Struggling for money, she works part time at a local hotel, whilst making puddings for the local Christmas market, and Giles enjoys a more sociable life with his demanding girlfriend and slightly interfering mother, he reflects on the life that he could have had and longs to spend more time with his son. Meanwhile Josie has caught the attention of a new resident on the apartments. Harry, a handsome script writer, provides Josie with a welcome distraction and makes her feel desired again.

‘Christmas At The Crescent’ is a lovely Christmas story, that will warm the cockles of your heart with lovely characters and an adorably, inquisitive little boy, that will have you smiling throughout.

You can buy Christmas at the Crescent from Amazon .