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The Books and the City Gin Fling

Liz Robinson

By Liz Robinson on 9th September 2019

The Books and the City Gin Fling Event with Hillingdon Library for five Simon and Schuster authors was just fabulous. A perfect September evening welcomed us to the truly Great Barn at Ruislip. A G&T and nibbles, while Libraries Group Manager Lara introduced us to the authors, went down a treat. Bestselling author Alice Peterson, debut novelists Anstey Harris and Claire Frost, Winner of the 2016 Romance Novelists’ Association (RNA) Romance Novel of the Year winner Iona Grey, and Sunday Times Bestselling Author Heidi Swain chatted about their latest books to have been published.

-The lovely authors, left to right, Alice, Anstey, Claire, Heidi, and Iona.

I always love hearing about the moment a book came into being, the thought process, love and attention that has gone into the words, and imbues every page. Each author actually had a very different story to tell. From writing in fabulous beach huts with views of France, to squashing into a space on the dining room table. First books being published after entering a RNA competition, or actually being the seventh novel written (but the words and characters are never ever wasted, as they come back to visit). The utter joy of being told they had a publishing deal at the side of a public swimming pool where the mobile had been sitting ready (just in case). Not actually believing that the book had been published until it was sitting in their hands (too late for them to change their minds now!). Being asked to write about Huntington’s Disease, and realising the story about relationships and decisions, just had told. The waiting for a story to arrive, to declare itself ready to be written, and when it does it’s while you’re in the shower, or walking your dog. The chat made me smile, made me feel all warm and full of book love. 

A scrumptious bowl of food was followed by the chance to win a bottle of gin. Five audience members teamed up with the authors to taste and guess the gin flavours. Blood orange, cucumber, and rhubarb tipples ensured a fun and relaxed evening became even more smiley.

SJ from Books and the City was a strict (and amusing) judge, I must apologise for nearly spoiling the game before realising the rules, by declaring the orange gin divine! A time for Author questions at the end revealed writing spaces and standout moments on becoming a published author. This was a really, really lovely book event, all about sharing the book love, which as you know, we at LoveReading truly believe in.

-SJ from Books and the City and Lara from Hillingdon Libraries

The books: 

If You Were Here by Alice Peterson

The Truth and Triumphs of Grace Atherton by Anstey Harris

Living My Best Life by Claire Frost

Poppy’s Recipe For Life by Heidi Swain

The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey

Of the five books, I have already reviewed two for LoveReading: 

The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton by Anstey Harris, which was a Debut of the Month and LoveReading Star Book. A book about love, friendship, and relationships, from rock bottom depths to glorious highs. This was a completely magical novel for me, and while a book to read with joy, it isn’t a gooey ride… it made me flinch, question, and delve into thoughts. 

The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey, one of our Books of the Month and also a LoveReading Star Book. Focusing on the time between the First and Second World Wars, this is a stunning tale that speared my awareness and left me reeling. I felt wonder, tenderness, aching sadness, and just as a warning I cried, really, really cried at the beauty in front of me. 

The books available all sound (or are) wonderful. I have a copy of each and will be delving into those I’ve not yet read, just as soon as I can.

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