books of the month newgen books for YA readers win prizes
Search our site
Moonlight Over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan Read the opening extract of the brand new Sarah Morgan book before its publication on 05/10/2017

Gardens of Delight by Erica James
  

Gardens of Delight

Relationship Stories   All Shortlists and Winners   Romantic Fiction   eBook Favourites   

RRP £8.99

Download an extract Discuss on Facebook Discuss this book on our Relationship Tales Facebook group Share this book

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

Winner of The Romantic Novel of the Year 2006. Warm, romantic fiction with the Italian Lakes and a love of gardening thrown in. She’s a delight!

Similar this month: Fiona Walker, Rebecca Horsfall
Comparison: Maeve Binchy, Isla Dewar, Amanda Brookfield.

If you like Erica James you might also like to read books by Susan Sallis, Amanda Brookfield and Melissa Nathan.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

Synopsis

Gardens of Delight by Erica James

The Gardens of Delight brochure promises the opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful and enchanting gardens in the Lake Como area of Italy.

For Lucy, the chance to go to Italy offers more than just gardens. Lake Como is where her father lives and the last time she saw him was when she was just a teenager.

Recently married Helen and her wealthy husband have just moved into the Old Rectory. With her husband spending so much time away from home, Helen throws herself into caring for the garden that was the pride and joy of its previous owner. But Helen needs help - and friends - and so decides to take the plunge and join the local Garden Club.

Conrad isn't the least bit interested in gardening. Widowed for five years, his life revolves around work and humouring Mac, his curmudgeonly elderly uncle who lives with him, and who has expressed a desire to go on the Gardens of Delight tour. But only if Conrad will accompany him. Reluctantly, Conrad agrees. 'Anything for a peaceful life,' he concedes.

But a peaceful life is the last thing any of them are in for...

Reviews

"Erica James has established herself as one of the doyennes of romantic fiction."
BELFAST TELEGRAPH

"Erica James' speciality is showing what follows when extraordinary things happen to ordinary people and this latest novel is no exception. James is a skilful writer possessing great sympathy and humour and this moving tale will not disappoint." GOOD BOOK GUIDE

About the Author

Erica James

With an insatiable appetite for other people's business, Erica James will readily strike up conversation with strangers in the hope of unearthing a useful gem for her writing. She finds it the best way to write authentic characters for her novels, although her two grown-up sons claim they will never recover from a childhood spent in a perpetual state of embarrassment at their mother's compulsion.

The author of many bestselling novels, including Gardens of Delight which won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award, and her recent Sunday Times top ten bestseller, Promises, Promises. Erica now divides her time between Cheshire and Lake Como in Italy, where she strikes up conversation with unsuspecting Italians.

Author photo © Rebecca Braund

Below is a Q&A with this author.

Who’s your favourite author?
My favourite author is currently Anne Tyler. I love the way she writes about the complexities of family life and relationships. Her writing is always penetrating and incisive and pared right back to the essentials. In my opinion, she’s a classic example of less being more.

What’s the first book you remember reading?
The first book I remember reading was a library book and I was probably about four years old. I have a vague memory that the story was about a mouse. Funnily enough, it’s not the words I remember, but the pictures, especially those of the mouse trekking through the snow in the night beneath a starry, moonlit sky to reach whatever destination he was heading for.

Where do you live? And why?
I live in Cheshire in a small rural hamlet. Moreover, I actually live in a converted barn which I used as the setting for my novel A Sense of Belonging. It’s purely by coincidence that I’ve ended up living here, and it certainly felt a little surreal in the first few weeks of moving in – every time I opened my front door, I kept expecting to bump into my characters.

Typewriter, Word Processor, or pen?
I use a computer to write my novels and because I can touch type, I find this by far the easiest way to go about things. My only problem is that if there’s a problem with the computer then I’m stuck. I haven’t a clue how it works and doubt I ever will. In my defence(and it’s a pretty poor defence, I admit), I’ve managed all these years to drive a car without knowing what goes on under the bonnet so I’m happy to apply the same logic.

Name your favourite literary hero and villain
Without doubt, my favourite literary hero is Reggie Perrin from David Nobbs’ novels. I love the wit of the man, and his quiet desperation to beat the system. The man is a legend!

Would it be very crass of me to say that my favourite literary villain is of my own creation? If it’s allowed, I’d like to name and shame Dominic McKendrick from Love and Devotion. He’s the archetypal misunderstood man!

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Surrey but grew up on Hayling Island in Hampshire after moving there at the age of four. As a teenager I lived in a flat directly opposite the beach and next to a funfair. During the summer months I would go to sleep to the sound of music blaring and the smell of fish and chips wafting through the window. Growing up by the sea has left its mark on me – a holiday isn’t a holiday unless I’m a stone’s throw from the water.

Did you enjoy school? What is your most vivid memory of your school years? School for me was a secondary modern that morphed into a comprehensive. I did CSEs (I wasn’t smart enough to do O levels) and whilst I was content enough at school, puttering along in my happy ignorance, I’m appalled now when I think just how little I actually learned. The teachers’ expectations for us were non-existent, so surprise, surprise, few of us did well.

My most vivid memory of school was when I was at primary school. I was about six years old and together with a girl I didn’t really know that well, we took it upon ourselves to flood the outside toilets by stuffing yards and yards of slippery toilet paper down the pan and then yanking on the chain until the water level rose and cascaded over the seat and down onto the ground. We’d successfully flooded three cubicles when another girl – the horrible sneak! – went and fetched a teacher. I should imagine the teacher is no longer with us, but the ‘horrible sneak’ became my best friend, and still is to this day.

Name your top 5 pieces of music.
I have an eclectic taste in music but if forced to choose my top five pieces of music they would be as follows:
R.E.M.’s Find The River.
Nanci Griffith’s Waiting For Love.
Kathleen Ferrier singing What is Life? from Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice.
Michael Nyman’s Chasing Sheep is Best Left to Shepherds.
Judy Garland singing It’s Yourself.

Who do you most admire and why?
The people I admire most are my sons, Edward and Samuel. And why? For putting up with me!

What jobs did you have before you started writing?
Compared to most other writers, my CV is extraordinarily dull and reads something like this:
Aged 13 chalet maid in a holiday camp.
Aged 14 - 16 ice cream and burger vendor in a beach kiosk.
Aged 18 secretarial work in an Oxford college.
Aged 19 - 24 a series of secretarial jobs ranging from a mining explosives company to a firm of estate agents.
Aged 24 - 35 mother and general bossy-boots.
Aged 36 - ta-daar! - published author.

If your house was burning down what would you save?
If my house was burning down and I could save only one thing (assuming the obvious, that no one needed rescuing), it would be the manuscript of the current book I was working on. The thought of all that hard work going up in smoke would be too awful.

Tell us about your best or worst holiday experience.
My best holiday experience is a recurring one and does wonders to bolster up my ego. People often mistake me for either my sons’ sister, or a girlfriend of theirs. We’ve been on several holidays recently when hotel staff or other guests have asked what the relationship is between the three of us. If it wasn’t so embarrassing for my sons (aged 18 and 20), I’d say we were a nice little ménage a trois!

What do you do when you are not writing? How do you relax? What are your hobbies? When I’m not writing I relax by reading (I try to read a book a week), going to the gym (in an effort to stave off the dreaded writer’s bum!), gardening and travelling. Ever since I was 16 years old and travelled to Paris on my own to stay with a friend, I’ve had the travel bug. I love going somewhere new, but am equally happy to return to a favourite place, such as Corfu or Venice. But I’m afraid I’m not one of those adventurous types who enjoy roughing it – a trekking holiday across the Sahara wouldn’t be for me!

What single thing might people be surprised to learn about you?

I think a lot of people would be surprised to know that I’m such a big fan of the band R.E.M. I travelled all the way to New York to see them last year. It was a very extravagant and impulsive thing to do, and I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited to get on a plane as I was that day, but it was worth every penny.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

5th June 2014

Author

Erica James

More books by Erica James
Author 'Like for Like'
    recommendations

Author's Website

ericajames.co.uk/

Author's Facebook Latest

Loading facebook updates...
Loading twitter updates...

Publisher

Orion Publishing Co

Format

Paperback (b Format)
496 pages

Categories

Relationship Stories
All Shortlists and Winners
Romantic Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9781409153450

Lovereading recommends, honestly reviews and promotes books-what more can I say?!

Rachel Bridgeman

I love that Lovereading handpicks very special debut reads.

Magda North

The books for review are always great reads, brilliantly written, and introduces me to a huge variety of, established and new, authors.

Lesley Hart

A well laid out site, I love the fact that is separates paranormal fiction from fantasy and horror, which other sites don't.

Jen Rainbow

I love the honest opinions, recommendations for every genre and every reader, wish lists and Like for Like.

Amrita Dasgupta

A great place to go to find your next literary escape, and where you don't have to judge a book by its cover!

Suzanne Beney

The best new books on the market, reviewed honestly, to give your readers the best choices.

Julie Cook

Books of the month/debuts of the month, kids/adults, fiction/non-fiction, free prize draws and free extracts, what's not to love?

Emma Smith

Lovereading4kids

Lovereading4schools