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The Summer Fair By Heidi Swain

The Summer FairThe Summer Fair’ is the latest book by Heidi Swain.

Beth loves her job working in a care home, looking after its elderly residents, but she doesn’t love the cramped and dirty house-share she currently lives in. So, when she gets the opportunity to move to Nightingale Square, sharing a house with the lovely Eli, she jumps at the chance. The community at Nightingale Square welcomes Beth with open arms, and when she needs help to organise a fundraiser for the care home they rally round. Then she discovers The Arches, a local creative arts centre, has closed and the venture to replace it needs their help too – but this opens old wounds and past secrets for Beth.Music was always an important part of her life, but now she has closed the door on all that. Will her friends at the care home and the people of Nightingale Square help her find a way to learn to love it once more…?

For the last couple of days I’ve been reading the latest book by Heidi and even though I’m miserable and dosed with the cold, this book made me smile.

The story is seen through Beth, a carer an elderly person’s house who’s tired of living with people who take her kindness for granted. So when the opportunity arises to move into a beautiful cottage in Nightingale Square, she picks up her house plants and embarks on a new journey, along with handsome new lodger as well as a promotion in the nursing home. Beth is the absolute star of this story, she’s caring with a huge heart and has been carrying a heavy burden since the tragic loss of her mother. She’s deeply loved by the residents and staff in the nursing home and it makes for touching reading, as she arranges activities to get them entertained and see them reignite their lust for life. Whilst her housemate Elijah has also brought back her passion for music, something she has struggled with. Together the pair of them face fears and form a strong bond and this makes for wonderfully uplifting reading.

Once again, Heidi has delivered another beautifully written story that is bursting with warmth, heart and charm. Filled with hope and new beginnings, Beth’s journey made for tender reading as she embraced new challenges and put old ghosts to bed.

It was also wonderful to return to Nightingale Square and feel that sense of community as well as see them old faces from other books by Heidi.

Beautifully descriptive with warm characters, kind souls and a story to get lost in, ‘The Summer Fair’ was a joy to read and the perfect tonic.

You can pre-order ‘The Summer Fair’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 12th May 2022.

A Taste Of Home By Heidi Swain

A Taste Of Home‘A Taste Of Home’ is the latest book by Heidi Swain.

Fliss Brown has grown up living with her mother on the Rossi family’s Italian fruit farm. But when her mother dies, Fliss finds out she has a family of her own, and heads back to England with Nonna Rossi’s recipe for cherry and almond tart and a piece of advice: connect with your family before it is too late. Fliss discovers that her estranged grandfather owns a fruit farm himself, on the outskirts of Wynbridge, and she arrives to find a farm that has fallen into disrepair. Using her knowledge gleaned from working on the Rossi farm and her desire to find out more about her past, Fliss rolls her sleeves up and gets stuck in. But what will she discover, and can she resurrect the farm’s glory days and find a taste of home?

Heidi is back with another heartwarming story about family, new beginnings and love. The story is seen through the narrative of Fliss just after her mother’s death. Having to deal with the loss breaks Fliss’s heart but then she is given a letter from her mother about the unknown that she has in a small village called Wynbridge having spent her life in Italy with her family. So she plucks up the courage to find her grandfather and finds that they have even more in common than blood, both loving farming and decides to invest her learning from the Rossi family into making the farm a success.

I adore Heidi’s writing, it’s so warm, homely and glorious to curl up with. I loved the characters from the quiet determination of Fliss to her grandfather who’s quite similar in personality and it’s lovely to see them embark on their relationship and the delight of sharing new interests along the way. Other supporting characters include the handsome and charismatic Elliott, who read like the perfect man with his kind nature, whilst Anthony instantly read like a suspicious character. As the story is set in Wynbridge, it was lovely to return to the village and see some of the characters and see where they are now in their life journey’s such Jemma and Lizzie and the Cherry Tree Cafe.

The story is beautifully written and it’s obviously written with love, with the stunning descriptions of the backdrop of Italy to the stunning landscapes of the fruit farm. I found the story not only an aspiring tale but also so informative with regards to operating a farm, as well as the delicious recipes along the way. No Heidi book is complete without the inclusion of her mouth-watering recipes.

With a stunning setting and heartwarming characters, ‘A Taste Of Home’ is the perfect book to whisk you with this escapism read.

You can buy ‘A Taste Of Home’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

My Top Ten Favourite Festive Activities By Heidi Swain

Christmas RoomToday on the book tour for her new book Christmas book called ‘The Winter Garden’, Heidi Swain is sharing her Top Ten Favourite Festive Activities because she is a HUGE fan of Christmas!

So, here we go…

“Heidi

Reading
I’m sure it’s no surprise that books bagged the number 1 spot! December 1st is always reserved for Mr Dickens. The month simply wouldn’t work if I hadn’t reacquainted myself with A Christmas Carol. I also read Trisha Ashley’s Twelve Days of Christmas too and treat myself to new festive fiction. Louise Marley, Sophie Claire and Victoria Walters are on the list this year and I’m starting earlier than usual because otherwise I won’t fit them all in.

Carols from King’s
My Christmas Eve revolves around this choral festive treat. My to-do list has to be completed so I can be ready to watch and listen with a cup of tea and a mince pie. As a person of Pagan persuasion, I find this much-loved tradition of mine something of a surprise, but the voices are so stirring as the light begins to fade. I love it!

Christmas shopping
I love Christmas shopping, as long as I have my trusty list. The chilly weather, bustling streets and frequent tea and cake top ups make it all the more pleasurable. I know it won’t be the same this year, but I can hang on to the memory of those wonderful excursions for now.

Finding the right gift
Nothing beats the pleasure of watching someone opening their gift and seeing their face light up. Finding the perfect present isn’t always easy, but it’s totally worth the effort.

Baking
I’m certainly no Jemma from The Cherry Tree Café, but I do love some festive baking. My repertoire is limited, but nothing says Christmas like a stint in the kitchen assembling my easy cheat mince pies and sausage rolls, with the festive tunes cranked up, a glass of mulled wine to hand and my Santa apron in place.

Scents of the season
Not strictly an activity you might argue, but it can be! Mulling your own wine with festive spices and studding oranges with cloves to release that seasonal smell feels like a pretty good way to spend an afternoon to me.

Decorating
Dressing the house is always a favourite festive activity and generally happens the second weekend in December. I know exactly what’s packed in the boxes in the loft but opening them is always a treat. The hearth is dressed with holly, ivy and mistletoe and the tree is topped with two angels, both created by my son and daughter in Year R. Given that they are 25 and 20 now, the loo rolls and pipe cleaners have certainly seen better days, but up they go!

Festive films
I love snuggling under a blanket to watch a festive film. Like everyone else, I have a teetering pile of DVD’s and it’s an annual treat working my way through them all. I also love the Hallmark channel and all the made for TV films. A totally festive indulgence! I don’t think I could pick a favourite, but ‘Love Actually’, ‘Elf’, ‘Muppets Christmas Carol’, ‘Nativity’… nope. I can’t do it! I’ll just end up listing the lot!

Winter walks
As you may already know, I’m always trying to get folk outdoors in the fresh air, whatever the weather. Although I draw the line at heading out in driving rain! I love getting wrapped up in warm layers and striding out for a bracing walk around my local patch. It’s a great mood soother and in the run up to Christmas, when it’s tempting to stay inside, a super way to recharge the batteries. Throw some snow in the mix and I’m even happier!

'The Winter Garden

Taking in the sights of the season
This is a separate trip to the shopping expedition and with a completely different purpose. Norwich always has beautiful light and window displays and I really enjoy going up to the city, towards the end of the day, to simply admire the decorations and soak up the atmosphere. We’d had the lovely of tunnel of light for the last few years and then there’s the animatronic tableau in the Forum and Jarrolds. All so superbly seasonal!

Crikey, that was the speediest Top Ten I’ve ever written and I could have easily added more favourite festive activities to the list. I know there’s nothing unusual or surprising written here, but these are all things I love to do in the run up to Christmas and beyond and this year more than ever, I’m going to take comfort in the familiarity of them all.

Wishing you all a safe and healthy festive season.

With love
Heidi x

You can buy ‘The Winter Garden’ from Amazon and is available from other good bookshops.

Heidi Swain Reveals New Book – The Winter Garden

'The Winter GardenHeidi Swain has revealed her festive book for 2020 called ‘The Winter Garden’.

What the back cover says –

Freya Fuller is living her dream, working as a live-in gardener on a beautiful Suffolk estate. But when the owner dies, Freya finds herself forced out of her job and her home with nowhere to go. However, with luck on her side, she’s soon moving to Nightingale Square and helping to create a beautiful winter garden that will be open to the public in time for Christmas.

There’s a warm welcome from all in Nightingale Square, except from local artist Finn. No matter how hard the pair try, they just can’t get along, and working together to bring the winter garden to life quickly becomes a struggle for them both.

Will Freya and Finn be able to put their differences aside in time for Christmas? Or will the arrival of a face from Freya’s past send them all spiralling?

Sounds like the perfect festive story to curl up with.

You can pre-order ‘The Winter Garden’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 1st October 2020.

The Secret Seaside Escape By Heidi Swain

The Secret Seaside Escape ‘The Secret Seaside Escape’ is the latest book by Heidi Swain.

Tess Tyler needs a break. Weighed down by her high-pressure job and her demanding father, she’s left little time to take care of herself. But after a shocking discovery sends her spiralling, she flees to Wynmouth, the seaside town she fell in love with as a child, to escape it all. With its sandy beaches, stunning rock pools and welcoming community, Tess feels like she can finally breathe again. And as she grows ever closer to local barman Sam, she dares to dream that she might never return to her real life. But when a familiar face returns to town, Tess realises that there are secrets in Wynmouth too, and that her own past may be about to catch up with her.

I’ve only read two books by Heidi and both books were exactly what I needed. Heartwarming with lovely characters against the backdrop of the seaside.

Tess decides to return to her childhood holiday retreat when life in her busy marketing role becomes too much. Recovering from her mother’s death, she needs a change of scenery and goes to the sweetly named Crow’s Nest Cottage in Wynmouth. It’s whilst she’s there that she begins to relax and enjoy life whilst making new friends and becoming part of the bustling village.

This book is the perfect book to curl up with. Tess is a lovely, kind relatable character, she’s warm and immediately fits into the village with her enthusiasm and charm wanting to share her knowledge and skills with the locals to make their businesses thrive. It’s whilst she’s away on this retreat is that she makes some discoveries about herself and her family. Tess isn’t the only lovely character in the story, there’s also Sam, Joe and Sophie, who all add their own charm and warmth to the seaside story.

Heidi has written a gorgeous heartwarming and fun love story about family secrets and new beginnings against sandy beaches, with such vivid imagery that you can almost feel the sand between your toes. The perfect escapism story to enjoy right now.

You can buy ‘The Secret Seaside Escape’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.