I was approached by Little, Brown to be involved in a blog tour for this wonderful little book.
First off, can I just point out that this isn’t generally a book I would have picked up, although I must admit, I’m a bit of a history buff so I jumped at the chance of giving this a read.
Charlotte Betts is a best selling author, multi-award- winning author of The Apothecary’s Daughter. And this little beauty is the next jewel in her crown.
The story takes place during the years of Queen Victoria and is mainly based in London. What’s great about the story is that there are two female leads and two stories that take centre stage of the book; Venetia (the now proud owner of a shop) and Kitty (her servant and housemaid). Both are strong characters, and there are a few strong female characters, and it’s so nice to see that the male characters are cast in a supporting role and let the females lead.
Take a look at the info from the Press Release and see what you think!
1813. Venetia Lovell lives by the sea in Kent with her pretty, frivolous mother and idle younger brother. Venetia’s father, Theo, is an interior decorator to the rich and frequently travels away from home, leaving his sensible and artistic daughter to look after the family. Venetia designs paper hangings and she and her father often daydream about having an imaginary shop where they would display the highest quality furniture, fabrics and art to his clients.
When a handsome but antagonistic stranger, Jack Chamberlaine, arrives at the Lovell’s cottage just before Christmas bringing terrible news, Venetia’s world is turned upside-down and the family have no option but to move to London, to the House in Quill Court and begin a new life. Here, Venetia’s courage and creativity are tested to breaking point, and she discovers a love far greater than she could have ever imagined…
Sounds good right?
I love the fact that there is so much art in this story, Betts really seems to focus on the art and graphics of the story, describing even the smallest vase or large wall hanging, (Venetia is a bit like a old-fashioned graphic designer). Italy is also firmly planted in the story, what with character names, the designs and of course the place, the readers are transported back to the time and place where this is happening.
What surprised me, is that Betts is not afraid of certain themes; death, loneliness, gore, it all takes it place in this book and at the end of the day, at least some characters get a happy ending. A wonderful sunny read for the height of summer.
Doesn’t stop you wishing you lived in a house next to the sea…