Monday, June 23, 2014

Beach Reads for Writers: Katie Fforde Provides a Masterclass

From Kate's Writing Crate…


As a reader, I always love finding books that appeal to me. As a writer, I am twice as pleased when the authors also provide masterclasses within their books.

        Masterclasses take place when performance artists and musicians work one-on-one with students. Writers don't generally have this option, but I have found some books to be masterclasses for characters, backstories, plots, settings, voice, and/or creativity.


        If you want some light beach reading and you enjoy books by British authors, try Living Dangerously, Stately Pursuits, and Practically Perfect by Katie Fforde.

        The characters are charming, the romantic situations complicated, and the grand homes and countryside provide beautiful backdrops. Enjoy English manners and tea breaks along with the love stories.

            Who knew saying yes to an invitation for a "cozy evening, just a few friends" from a long-ago school chum was a pretense to get Polly Cameron to even up the numbers at a formal dinner party? Or that it would lead to romantic disturbances in Polly's life?

A potter by trade who works at Whole Nut Café to make ends meet, Polly dresses in her own style with a wardrobe filled with pieces from second-hand shops. Her dinner partner, widower David Locking-Hill, is a man of means not sure what to make of Polly. Ever the gentleman, he does his best to make the evening pleasant, but they have little in common.

Fate doesn't care. In Living Dangerously, Polly and David meet again at a charity auction. Then while on a date with another man, she prevents David's son from driving drunk by driving him home in a violent storm. Their lives become more and more entwined. Polly can't believe it will all work out, but David is intrigued by the possibility.



After finding her boyfriend in bed with another woman and needing a change of scenery, Hetty Longden's managing mother has arranged for her to care for her great uncle Samuel's country manor while he recuperates from a serious operation in Stately Pursuits.

Not content to merely house-sit, Hetty sets about trying to raise money to pay for necessary repairs. Meeting neighbors who agree the manor should be saved, they work together setting up a boot sale (yard sale) then decide the place could be rented out for events.

Unfortunately, Connor Barrabin, Samuel's heir, shows up and puts a spanner in the works. He thinks Hetty is out of her depth, but she's determined to succeed. He reluctantly helps out; however, complications pile up until Hetty has to take drastic action which leads to more trouble.




        Practically Perfect is for dog lovers as Anna, an interior designer, takes in a rescued greyhound named Caroline while she fixes up a cottage for resale. The villagers are ever-helpful as she makes a new, if temporary, life there.

        As she heads to the open market for the first time, Anna brings a leashed Caroline along. Everything is going well until a car backfires startling Caroline into running away. Anna's purchases go flying as the leash is wrenched off her wrist. Frightened for Caroline, Anna calls for her frantically as she quickly disappears.

Luckily, a stranger is able to catch ahold of Caroline's leash. Unfortunately for Anna, he's the recently named rehoming officer for the local greyhound rescue center who is not impressed with Anna's handling of the situation. Will Anna overcome this disastrous meeting?


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