19 May 2017

Blog Tour: The Forever House by Veronica Henry

Today, I am thrilled to welcome one of my favourite authors of all time to the blog - it's Veronica Henry! I think I have read everything Veronica has ever written, and have enjoyed every single one them... that's how good she is! I have also read her brand new novel The Forever House which was a joy to read from start to finish, quite possibly Veronica's best novel yet.

For her blog tour stop with me, Veronica has written a piece about 'Books in Fiction' - one of the main character of The Forever House is an author herself, so this is an interesting look at that! Enjoy, and make sure you pick up your own copy of The Forever House!

Buy 'The Forever House' on Kindle and in paperback now.

Just like the heroine of The Forever House, Belinda Baxter, my father was in the services, so every two years we packed up our belongings and moved house. I think that expains why I have become so obsessed with houses, because until I was about 15 we didn’t have a home of our own. Whenever I went back to somebody’s house for tea, I felt a sense of envy that they had somewhere they belonged. Four familiar walls they could put pictures on – in an Army quarter you aren’t supposed to bang a nail into the wall –or decorate just as they wished. 

If moving every two years taught me anything, it was how to make friends easily, and not to become upset when you had to leave them behind. But my survival strategy was reading. Wherever I was in the world, bookshops and libraries were a safe place, and amongst the shelves were hundreds of potential friends who could remain my constant companion. I could take Laura Ingalls or the Moomins with me wherever we went. I became a bookworm, and every time the removal van arrived to take our belongings to the next ‘patch’, in would go my books.

I would spend every Saturday rearranging them, sometimes into alphabetical order by author, sometimes by size, sometimes by colour. I read and re-read my favourites –even today I will pick up my childhood favourites if I need reassurance. Because even the most turbulent childhood stories usually have a happy ending and order will be restored: The Little Princess will get her daddy back, Heidi’s friend Clara will learn to walk. 

And I always loved the houses within those stories. I could see them so clearly in my mind’s eye. I could even smell them: the sharp clean smell of the wooden walls cut by Pa in The Little House in the Big Woods; the musty smell of Professor Diggory’s mansion in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

And as I grew older I was still drawn to fiction featuring houses: Manderley in Rebecca, Thornfield Hall in Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Brideshead, Cold Comfort Farm. To me, they were characters in their own right, drawing the characters in under their rooves.  

And that’s probably why houses feature so strongly in my own books. My first, Honeycote, takes place in and around Honeycote House, belonging to the high-spirited and party-loving Liddiard family. An Eligible Bachelor features Eversleigh Manor and Guy, the lord of the manor, who is looking for someone to share his legacy with.

And The Forever House is firmly based on my own fantasy dream home, Hunter’s Moon. Not too big, not too small, it’s nestled in the Peasebrook valley and has belonged to the Willoughby family for generations. I wanted to reflect the heartbreak and dilemmas people have when it comes to selling a much-loved home, and the ramifications that has on everyone who has lived in it. But I also wanted to show the lengths people will go to in order to get the house of their dreams!

It’s up to Belinda to keep everyone happy.

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