I am very pleased to welcome Daisy James to the blog today. Daisy’s debut novel The Runaway Bridesmaid is published today by Carina. You can order a copy here: The Runaway Bridesmaid My review is below but first let’s find out a bit more about Daisy.
First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself?
Hi Joanne, first of all can I thank you for featuring me and my debut novel – The Runaway Bride on your blog.
About me – well, I’m a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. I write contemporary romance stories and whenever I can I include baking in the stories – strawberry cupcakes, basil-infused biscuits, lemon meringue pies – to name just a few in my novel. Whenever I’m not scribbling away, I love making cakes, sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. I adore meeting up with friends and indulging in a spot of Afternoon Tea – china plates and teacups are a must.
What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve been writing for years – since school really. I used to read under the blankets until my eyelids drooped and I was determined to write my own novel. The first attempt is still in a shoe box on the top of my wardrobe – written longhand! But I kept going and was over the moon when CarinaUK said they wanted to publish The Runaway Bridesmaid.
In a nutshell, what is your book about?
I love weddings – everything about them from the glorious dresses, the delectable flowers, the shoes (oh the shoes!) – so my novel had to feature a wedding. Rosie is the main character – she’s the bridesmaid at her sister Freya’s wedding which takes place in Connecticut. It’s her seventh outing in a bridesmaid dress -this one a frothy, flouncy, bubble-gum pink, and she thinks that being a bridesmaid for her spoilt little sister Freya can’t get any worse.
But discovering her boyfriend in bed with the bride, ten minutes before Freya is due to say ‘I do’, is the icing on the sequinned wedding cake – and Rosie’s cue to pack her bags.
Swapping her Louboutins for Wellingtons, Rosie throws her bridesmaid bouquet in the air and flies from bustling New York to sleepy Devon. Her late Aunt Bernice’s cosy countryside cottage is the only place that’s ever felt like home.
Now, for the first time in her life, and with the help of her beloved Aunt’s diaries and her Bake Yourself Better journal, Rosie must put herself first for a change – and decide what she really wants…
There are recipes in the book that Rosie tries (and fails) such as ‘Strawberry Tarts for Broken Hearts’ and ‘Lemon Meringue Pies for Sun-filled Skies’.
What’s your favourite book you’ve read so far this year? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!
I loved The Tea Shop on The Corner by Milly Johnson. It was a great story with characters that stay with you long after the book is finished. I cried buckets at the ending.
What are you reading just now?
Actually I’m reading a memoir – Tout Sweet by Karen Wheeler – Hanging up my high heels for a new life in France. It’s about a fashion journalist who escapes the daily grind for a tiny, ramshackled cottage in northern France. I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I love travel memoirs – just finished Patricia Atkinson – Under the Ripening Sun about a very courageous writer who took on a vineyard single-handedly.
Tell me about your reading habits: book or kindle, bed or bath, morning or evening?
I like both paperbacks and kindle reads. I read in bed at the end of the day – too late mostly.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
I’d love to hear from readers – especially if anyone has had a go at the recipes in the book.
FB Author Page https://www.facebook.com/daisyjamesbooks
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
Any book? Any book at all? Well, as I have a young son and have read widely in his favourite genre – that would have to be Hermione Granger. Who wouldn’t want to wave a wand and have to housework done with a flick of a wrist?
My thoughts on The Runaway Bridesmaid
I thoroughly enjoyed reading all about Rosie and what happened to her after she ran away from her sister’s wedding. Rosie is a great character and such a caring person. She has always put her family’s needs before her own, particularly her sister, and now in her inherited cottage in England, she starts to think about what she wants in life. In New York, her life had revolved around her high powered job, high fashion and high heels. In England, she starts to discover the joy of more simple pleasures such as gardening, baking and walks in the rain!
When Rosie first arrives in England she is grieving for many things. Her beloved Aunt Bernice has just died, she has just broken off her relationship Giles who was also her boss, resigned dramatically from her job and thinks her relationship with her sister is probably over too. I feel she also hadn’t had time to properly grieve for her mother who had died quite young leaving Rosie to keep her family of her father and much younger sister together. Aunt Bernice, being recently deceased, is very much a background character but her presence is felt through the journal and recipes she left for Rosie. Bernice has obviously been a wise lady and knew that Rosie needs time to heal. She guides and advises Rosie even after death. And how I wish her baking book existed: Bake Yourself Better has some wonderful sounding recipes with fantastic names such as Cherry Scones for Aching Bones, Fig Delights for Passion Filled Nights and Sweet Basil Biscuits for New Love Interests. And I was so pleased to find the recipes at the end of the book – I’ll definitely be giving some of them a try!
I can’t finish this review without mentioning that there is of course love in the air as well. Rosie goes on a few dates with Austin, a sleek lawyer who is dealing with the sale of her aunt’s house. He is very much her type: handsome, groomed and ambitious. And then there is Charlie, a rather more scruffy, dark haired part time chef at the large nearby manor house, who bakes with Rosie, takes her quadbiking in the rain and generally makes her heart flutter – but he’s just not her type…..
I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel: it was sweet and romantic and Daisy James certainly made me care about her characters a lot. Just the thing when you want a feel-good read to leave you with a smile on your face. And why not find out if “baking is the new therapy for the pursuit of happiness” by trying some of Bernice’s recipes?