Hello, gentle reader, and welcome to the first annual British Blooms and Books giveaway! This week, we’d like to celebrate the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show with you. After enjoying this post, please visit each of the other five authors’ blogs (links provided below) and, after a bit of reading fun, follow one simple instruction and then leave a comment on each, to be entered to win a fabulous, British Blooms and Books prize. (Enter by 5/28/16; US winners only, please, due to shipping the petit fours. Sorry, non-US friends.) Thank you!
Stop and Smell the…Flowers
As I write this, a small vase of lily of the valley sits nearby and the aroma—my favorite in all the world—envelops me. Ahhh… I planted the pips in my languishing garden years ago and thankfully the blooms reappear year after year, bringing their beautiful scent with them.
I used to garden more, but after my kids and first books were born, something had to go, and gardening was one of those things. But sometimes I miss it.
Since gardening is quintessentially British, I’ve lately made more of an effort to have the characters in my books “stop and smell the roses”—noticing the flora and fauna they pass, or pottering in the garden. To make sure I (hopefully) only mention plants that actually existed in England in the early 1800s, I have found a few sources to check, like In the Garden with Jane Austen. I don’t devote long passages to description, never fear, but characters in my various novels grow plants for medicinal reasons, cut and arrange flowers for the house, steal flowers on occasion, and in my most recent book, The Painter’s Daughter, paint a vase of them:
She picked one showy daffodil, yellow-and-white primroses, several bright orange tulips, a branch of pink camellias, and green fronds and ferns. These she took indoors with her and up the stairs. In the schoolroom, she found an old sunny yellow vase. A crack marred one side, but it would work well for the composition she had in mind. As she set the prepared canvas on the easel, the old rhythm returned to her, and peace like a long-lost friend descended. She’d missed this….
Later, when she asks Captain Overtree, the husband she barely knows, to sit for her, he protests, self-conscious about his scarred face:
He raised his hands. “Oh no. No one need paint this battered mug. Not when more pleasant alternatives abound.” He gestured toward the vase of flowers, then hesitated, looking again at the cracked vase with a frown. “I’m sure we could find you a better vase.”
“No, thank you. I like that one.”
He turned back and studied her….
This is just one moment in their “budding” relationship as their marriage-in-name only becomes so much more. I’ve been receiving such kind compliments about this book, and I hope whoever wins a copy will enjoy it, along with 5 other novels set in England.
Please sign up for my email list, and comment below to be entered to win the grand prize. (If you are already on my list, simply comment below. Either way, be sure your name is included in your comment.)
One grand prize winner who comments on each of the six authors’ blogs by 5/28/16 and agrees to the one boldfaced condition posted at the end of each post will win a signed copy of each of the books plus delivery of six English hat petit fours to enjoy while you read–I want those myself. Enjoy!
(Name will be drawn via random.org)
Sandra Byrd’s Post
Melanie Dickerson’s Post
Kristi Ann Hunter’s Post
Carrie Turansky’s Post
Roseanna White’s Post