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#Blogtour #TheCancerLadiesRunningClub @HQStories @JosieLloydBooks

Thank you so much for this. I’m delighted you found the book inspiring xx

Rutherford Reads

Thank you to HQ Stories for my place on the blog tour.

My Thoughts

I normally avoid books about Cancer for fear they will be very sad but, this is hugely up-lifting. This is such a beautiful story of friendship, hope, positivity and how the strength of family, friends and a good support network can get you through anything.

The author describes in detail the processes and procedures in Keira’s cancer diagnosis and treatment, it’s a very honest account and feels very real. It made me realise how very vital the support roles a patient needs when undergoing treatment and the wonderful resources that are available, although none of this matters if you are treated like a number and the doctor forgets to tell you their name. It feels a very enlightening account of living with cancer and how it affects those around you. Yet, it isn’t sad, Keira takes…

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The Cancer Ladies’ Running Club is just around the corner…

My new Josie Lloyd book. Out 13th May 2021.

This week, my Josie Lloyd novel, The Cancer Ladies’ Running Club hits the shops. It’s a big moment. I haven’t written a solo Josie Lloyd book since ‘It Could Be You’ way back in 1997. To say I’m nervous is an understatement, because this is by far and away the most personal thing I’ve ever written.

This book came about because in 2017 I was diagnosed with breast cancer after a routine scan and it came as a terrible shock. Overnight, it felt as my life as I knew it had come to a screeching halt. It felt to me as if a big ‘Cancer’ label had been slapped on me and I had no means of getting rid of it. I hated it.

My first instinct was to look for a book. In difficult times, I always turn to fiction for answers and clarity, but whilst there were plenty of memoirs and non-fiction books about various ways to get through cancer, they all felt a bit subjective. I wanted a comforting story. A story that would tell me that everything would be OK. I didn’t want something mawkish or sad, or more depressingly – about mothers dying with tubes up their noses. I needed to believe in a more positive outcome.

Representation in all forms of media matters. There’s a great organisation, SeeJane.org whose motto, ‘If she can see it, she can be it,’ promotes bringing positive female role models to the screen, so that young girls can imagine being astronauts, or politicians.

In the same, (but very small way), my hope with this book is to fly the flag for women who, like me, are not just surviving cancer, but positively thriving as a result of going through it. My hope is to do some debunking, because one in two of us will get cancer in our lifetimes and one in eight women get breast cancer. We need to start talking about it to stop it being so scary. Because, yes, it is terrifying and not everyone has great outcomes, but we have amazing treatments in this country and the means of early detection with scanning. Believe me, I thank my lucky stars every day that my cancer was picked up in time.

It’s important to get the message out there, too, that getting outside and exercising is massively beneficial, both physically and mentally. I know that for me, putting on a pair of trainers and being out in the sunshine was the most effective way of putting two fingers up to cancer. Running made me feel as if I was reclaiming my mojo. And it’s the same for Keira in the book. Because when she joins a group of women who have all experienced cancer, she finds her tribe and in doing so, finds her feet.

This week, I’m doing loads of publicity and was on Michael Ball’s show on Radio 2, which I’m delighted to say, resonated with some women who got in touch with me to share their stories. Hearing from people, who, like me are sensitive to bad-news cancer stories and found the message of positivity and hope inspiring has made me so happy. I’ll be delighted if the book is a best seller, of course, but if I can make a difference to just a few people, then that will be the best outcome ever.

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Get with the programme

                  But last night, I dreamt about going to the theatre to see a show.  It was very vivid and whilst I fully understand how terribly boring it is to hear about other people’s dreams (I know, believe me) this is such a rare occurence, I can’t help myself sharing.

The Bugsy Malone programme from 1983

There’s been a lot of talk about odd sleep patterns during lockdown and certainly in my family, there’s been some weird dreams going on.  I’m always a bit jealous, as I’m a sound sleeper and never, ever remember my dreams.  On a nightly basis, my husband and kids go off to far flung places, wrangle with mystical creatures, explore other worlds whilst I’m lucky if I dream about something as mundane as waiting in a queue outside Boots.

But last night, I dreamt about going to the theatre to see a show.  It was very vivid and whilst I fully understand how terribly boring it is to hear about other people’s dreams (I know, believe me) this is such a rare occurrence, I can’t help myself sharing.

In my dream, I felt the full excitement of walking down the narrow steps between plush banks of red velour fold-down seats, carefully checking our tickets and the row and seat numbers and trying to open packets of sweets so they didn’t make a noise. I was even prepared to spend gazzilions of pounds on the tiniest tub of ice-cream, such was my excitement at being in a theatre, although – and this is the relevant bit – in my dream, I did draw the line at buying a programme. It always makes me irrationally cross that the programmes are so expensive (even when I’m asleep, it turns out). I woke up just as the curtain was about rise.

Maybe this dream is something to do with lockdown easing and going to the theatre is now a possibility on the horizon, or maybe it’s because I drove over to see my Dad – the first time I’ve seen him since October.  On the way, my nearly twenty-one year old daughter Tallulah curated the Spotify playlist, and, since we didn’t have my husband with us, who can’t bear public singing (even in the confines of a car), we belted out show tunes at the top of our lungs the whole way. 

Some of the favourites from the repertoire were from Bugsy Malone and I was recalling how we did the show in school in 1983 and then went on a school trip to see the West End production in May.  She wanted to know if it was a bit suspect – children dressing as adults and Tallulah (after whom she is named) singing about how she got her ‘training in North Carolina’. Honestly, it never occurred to me once that the Bugsy ‘Tallulah’ might have been singing about prostitution.  All I remember is the excitement of being in the theatre.

And, lo and behold, in a box of old stuff Dad gave me was this gem: the actual programme from that very show! I was so delighted to have this rare glimpse back to the thirteen year and elven month old me, four foot nine inches me (I know this from the audition form I actually filled out) that in the future, I have resolved to splash out on the programme. It is worth it.

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The dancing dress that inspired a novel

There’s no doubt that in these lockdown days, one of the things I’m missing most is wearing a frock.  I can’t wait for the moment I’ll be able to crack one out and flounce up to town for a fancy lunch, or shimmy my way to a night of dancing.

I have some lovely dresses, but there are four that have major historical significance.  The first is the midnight blue shot taffeta affair which I wore to a May ball in Cambridge in 1988 and felt utterly fabulous.  Then there was my wedding dress that I based on a fifties dress of my aunt’s and the glamorous dress I had designed for my Platinum book launch, complete with rhinestones and a slit up to the thigh.  And now this beauty – the dress that inspired a whole book.

When I was writing The Hidden Wife, which is set in Paris in 1928, I needed my character Vita to be immersed in the world of fashion and to learn the ropes from a real-life couturier.  I didn’t want it to be Coco Chanel, as everyone knows so much about her, so I was very pleased when I came across an article in an old copy of Vogue about a designer called Jenny Sacerdote.

Looking up the company, I realised they still had a website and wrote, explaining that I was an author and asking for more information.

I had the most fantastic reply from Anne Vogt-Bordure, the CEO of La Suite Jenny Sacerdote and I jumped on the Eurostar to Paris to meet her.

Anne met me at the Gare du Nord and we hit it off immediately.  She took me to Dreyfuss, the incredible material emporium I feature in the book and then to the Champs-Élysées where Jenny’s once famous salon is now a Marriott Hotel.  Over lunch in an achingly cool terrace restaurant with a view of the Eiffel Tower, she told me Jenny’s story.

The Marriott hotel now
How it was in Jenny’s day

Jenny Sacerdote

Jeanne AdèleBernard was quite a woman, it seems. Born in 1868 to a single mother, she showed early promise. Being very bright, she followed a path to academia, but at the of 39 she decided to open her own fashion house and styled herself as Jenny Sacerdote. 

By the mid 1920’s Madame Jenny produced as many as 800 pieces a year, including coats, daytime dresses, wedding dresses, bathing suits and lingerie and it was actually Jenny who invented the ‘little black dress’ before Chanel.  By 1928, she’d become a worldwide celebrity, and won the coveted Grand Prix de l’Elegance. 

The women who made Jenny’s dresses. It was easy to see my character, Vita, fitting in with them.

Everyone who was anyone came to her modern salon on Paris’s famous avenue, where I had my character Vita, looking in awe at the beautiful gates and then blagging her way inside for an interview.  Vita even spots Hollywood starlet Mary Pickford, who was a big Madame Jenny fan. I have Vita looking through the visitors book, which really did include the cream of Parisian society, along with the sister and mother of Fred Astaire and even the Empress of Japan.

It was so brilliant to have these images and to be able to write Vita into this wonderful world. This is the sofa where she first meets debonaire Irving King, who Vita thinks might be the solution to all her problems (he’s not!).

In 1940 when the war came, Jenny, who didn’t have any descendants, closed the business and left Paris. It was the end of an incredible era.

But, inspired by Jenny’s fashion legacy Anne Vogt-Bordure revived the brand and in 2018 formed La Suite Jenny Sacerdote paying tribute to her name. Just like Jenny – movement is at the heart of the design.

Behind an unassuming door in one of those large Parisian buildings, Anne showed me into a flower garlanded courtyard where she has her studio. She showed me lots of old pictures of Jenny’s designs and her modern interpretations of them. The resulting dresses were just glorious.

Anne Vogt-Bordure, CEO of La Suite Jenny Sacerdote with one of Jenny’s original designs
This pink tennis-inspired dress appears in the book

This black dress was so chic, but I fell for this beautiful silk dress that is simply made for dancing.

It inspired the plot of the book, because in it, I have Vita at her interview with Jenny who asks Vita to decide where the braiding should be placed on this very dress.  It’s a test that Vita passes and she joins Jenny’s team.

The original dress in 1928 which I featured in the book
The dress now. I chose the red one.

Writing my Stitch In Time trilogy has been such a good excuse for me to channel my inner-flapper girl.  What a treat is is to have a dress that will always remind me of Vita and Paris. All I need now is a party…

For more information on these amazing dresses, please visit http://www.jennysacerdote.com

You can follow on Instagram @jennysacerdote

The Hidden Wife, by Joanna Rees is published by Pan Mac 18th March 2021. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hidden-Wife-Stitch-Time/dp/1529018870/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1615909106&sr=8-2

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My Book Problem

This summer we had the hall painted, which meant that the enormous pile of books that are stacked on the wardrobe on the landing, from head height up to the ceiling had to come down.  I’d say, roughly, around five hundred seriously dusty books.  Hmmm, actually maybe more…possibly twice that.  And this is just the overflow stack.  The bookcases in every room are already rammed, the shelves in the loos teetering, plus the towering piles next to each side of our bed.

So I’ve had to take stock, which is not easy.  You see, if I can remember a detail from a book – like a character, or an atmosphere or setting, or even just a good line of dialogue – it’s like they’re part of me.  They’re my friends and it pains me to get rid of them, even though I’ll shortly be taking boxes and boxes of them to charity. 

I’m a writer, primarily because I like writing, but also because I love books.  For me, there is simply no better form of escapism. I can’t be doing with electronic books, or taking a tablet to bed. No, I need a physical book, where I fold over the corner of the page before I go to sleep, or leave it splayed on the sand next to my beach towel.  Books whose pages get slightly crinkly with moisture as I gallop through them whilst reading in the bath.  Books that have red wine, or gravy splattered on them as I’ve stood by the stove stirring a pot. 

I’m not a deliberate book hoarder.  If I read a book and love it, I pass it on immediately to a friend with strict instructions for them to read it.  I often end up missing the book so much, though, that I buy another copy of the book, just to have it.

Keeping books I love isn’t necessarily a problem in itself, it’s just after thirty odd years of collecting books, the problem is sheer volume.  And it doesn’t help that I’m married to a man who is exactly the same.

Problem one is of course, of my own making.  I’m talking about all of my own books and the ones I’ve written with Emlyn.  This is not meant as a humble brag, or even a brag, but as an author, it feels immoral to throw one’s own books away.  Do I need two Polish copies of A Twist Of Fate? Can I even read the title? No, but even so.  Someone, somewhere in another country, speaking another language I’ll never understand actually read the words I wrote.  It’s a fact that doesn’t get less amazing with time. 

Then there are the books of friends who are authors.  There are a lot of them, many of them personally signed at launches.  I have to keep those out of sheer solidarity with our fellow scribes.  I’ve been dusting off rare proofs, celebrating the life of these books that went out into the world, full of potential and hope.

Also in the collection are dozens that I’ve been carting around since university.  Ones that I think make me look clever – like Milton’s Paradise Lost, a battered set of Thomas Hardys, (plus the books I actually read, rather than swatted up on the Lett’s notes), the Edith Whartons and George Elliots. 

Then there’s all the  non-fiction books  –  on all sorts of eclectic subjects, from health, to all the history of various wars, out of date travel guides, to obscure books we’ve used for research – The Mabinogion anyone?  Oh, and let’s not forget the books we’ve inherited – like my father-in-law’s grandmother’s set of embroidery books.  What to do with them?  They’re so pretty – all embossed in gold.

I think the book problem would be easier to deal with if I didn’t keep buying new books, but I can’t help myself.  Bookshops are like sweet shops for me.  I just can’t resist. 

So recently I’ve tried a new tack.  I’ve decided that I’ll try and re-read books I’ve forgotten about.  Earlier this summer, on my first post lock-down trip to the very brilliant City Books in Hove, I bought a copy of The Magus, by John Fowles.   Admittedly, this was a first stumbling block in the new strategy.  I knew I had it somewhere in ‘the pile’, but who knew where, so I treated myself to a new copy.

Back in the late eighties, when I first read The Magus, it was incredibly popular and I remember loving it, but couldn’t remember very much about it.  It turned out to be a good summer holiday book – the setting is a sun-soaked Greek island. It follows the story of Nicholas Urfe, an arrogant young graduate who sets off to teach in the island’s school where he comes across a private estate, ‘Bourani’.  He soon meets its owner, the bonkers-rich recluse, Maurice Conchis. 

The Magus of the title – it was revealed about half way through – refers to a tarot card which represents a magician, and soon Conchis is conjuring up some weird mind-games that keep Nicholas – and the reader – guessing as to his purpose. The plot gets thicker and twistier. About three quarters of the way through, I nearly gave up, but I persevered and in the end, I did feel the re-read was worth it.  It’s a keeper.

Ah, but, damn it, I’m trying to create space.  So I have a copy going spare.  It’s a bit sandy, but any takers?

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Lessons of Lockdown

Sometimes, people ask me, ‘how do you write?’ This is in an interesting question, particularly as lock down has shed some light on the matter.

The truth is, I’ve always been a bit embarrassed about my writing process.  I’d like to tell you that I have a writing shed, filled with colour-coordinated shelves of erudite books, framed motivational quotes from literary greats and healthy pot plants.   I’d like to tell you that I squirrel myself away in this tasteful, Instagram-worthy shed for up to eight hours a day and write at least a thousand words in a stint.  I’m thoughtful, considered, committed.  A ‘proper’ writer.

But no.  That’s not me.  I write in my ‘study’ – which is basically the boot room by our back door.  The dog comes in and out relentlessly, as do the kids.  It’s messy, noisy and it’s where I spend most of my days faffing amongst teetering piles of paperwork, trainers and anything that’s been brought in from the garden in a hurry – usually piles of yet-to-be-folded washing, chair cushions, trowels and bags of compost, plus a skateboard I constantly trip over.

In this space, I spend a lot of time doing almost anything to avoid actually writing.  I dither and procrastinate, until (usually about thirty minutes before I have to leave the house, for a school run or social appointment) a tiny snippet of conversation will appear in my mind.  I chink of light into a scene.  Then I will sit and hastily clatter out a thousand words. 

This has always seemed to me to be a terribly shoddy way of working, even though I’ve come more and more to trust the power of my subconscious mind.

I’ve always felt embarrassed – guilty even – because writing is the thing I love doing most.  I’m utterly in love with writing…still, after a quarter of a century doing it for a living.  Surely I should treat it with more respect?  Give myself over more completely?

I’ve always thought that the problem was time.  If only I had more time to write. If only I didn’t have such a busy life and didn’t stack up my life with commitments, then my productivity would go through the roof. 

But in these past three months in lock down, this is what I’ve learnt: That the absolute opposite is true.  OK, so factoring in the issue of us being in the middle of a global pandemic and the stress that it entails (not to mention having three hungry teenagers roaming freely through my workspace),  there’s been no excuse not to work.  There’s been time.  Oodles of time to write, but my productivity has nose-dived.

A friend told me about something Elizabeth Gilbert said.  I can’t find her exact quote, but the gist is that you should treat writing like it’s an illicit lover.  That it’s best to write in snatched, pressurised moments. Write as if you’re being pressed up against a wall having a furtive snog at a dinner party.

And that’s so true.  I’ve realised that I do my best work under pressure. That my mind is firing when I’m busy.  That between phone calls, lunches, shopping, booking holidays, seeing friends, those are the snatched moments where the scenes bursts forth. Without the pressure of normal everyday life, I can’t find my writing mojo.

I’m delighted that now lock-down is going to ease, it won’t be long before I can start to make arrangements (although I know this will annoy the hell out of my husband, who loves being a hermit writer). 

With time being filled again, there’s even the possibility that my long lock-down ‘to-do’ list might finally happen.  One item has already been scratched out, though.  I’m not going to be building a writing shed anytime soon.  I’ll spend the money I’ll save on lunch.  

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The Death Of A Tree

The Death Of A Tree

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Today is a sad day. Today the apple tree in the garden of my childhood home was chopped down, then chipped and removed from the premises – all before 8am.

Or so I heard. I wasn’t there. But if I had been there, what would I have done? Put a hand on the familiar, gnarled knotty trunk, perhaps? Thank the old tree for its service? Hugged it? Yes, I wish I’d had the chance to hug it.

My parents moved to their Victorian semi in 1972 when I was three years old. One of my first memories is of the day we moved in, the mustard swirling carpet, the grubby ceiling tiles. I can recall Nanna plugging in a sparky electric kettle in the corner of the kitchen to make the first of what would be many tens of thousands of cups of tea to be drunk there.

Over the years, the house got decorated and made into a home by our parents, the ceiling tiles replaced by snazzy artex, William Morris print curtains in the lounge, but it was the kitchen that was – and still is – the heart of it.

I can picture my mother by the sink now, apron on looking through the north facing windows at the garage, bemoaning her lack of a view, telling my sister and I to always get a view when we had houses of our own. The garden itself, though, was lovely and made up for the view of the garage. A thick line of fir trees along the back masked the fence that backed onto a school playground and slap bang in the middle of the L-shape of grass, the apple tree, taking up most of the space.

It was already mature by the time we moved in and it always gave me a sense of a link back to previous owners of the house. Its solidity seemed to suggest that the garden was, and always had been, its domain.

It punctuated our year, the buds in May the first indication of summer, and heralding the dusting off of the garden chairs. In the summer, we’d lunch looking at it, play badminton next to it, jumping up to get the shuttlecock from its leafy branches. When we lost all the shuttlecocks, we’d use the hard little apple buds instead. In 1977 when we all went mad for the Queen’s silver jubilee, my June birthday party was a summer fete in the garden, the games laid out in the shade of the tree, red white and blue bunting fluttering from the branches. On my twenty-first birthday, I lay on a tartan rug beneath it and drank champagne, dreaming grand dreams of my future from the security of its shade.

As children, we climbed it constantly. I can picture my sister standing in the crook of the main branch, her flared jeans flapping above me as she reached down to hoist me up in a shower of white and pink blossom. At one point there was a rope ladder up to the main branch. When we had children of our own, they climbed it too and played confetti beneath the boughs.

When the apple tree produced fruit – often in abundant amounts – not one of its green and red treasure was wasted. My parents decreed that every windfall should be collected, regardless of how close they had fallen to the dog poo that Whisky, our characterful West Highland Terrier had left.

I remember standing on a stool to reach the metal sink full of water where the windfalls bobbed or sunk, worms and grubs floating on the top, as we cut out the bruises and holes, salvaging the good bits to be stored in freezer bags in the chest freezer.   The apple tree provided the only ‘proper’ desserts we got in our house. On weekdays, Mum would stew some apples and serve it with the zingy yoghurt she made from the mysterious culture she kept in a jar shrouded in a muslin cloth. Sometimes she’d bake them with raisins and brown sugar in the centre, the skins crinkly, the flesh molten hot. On Sundays, I’d help make the apples into a crumble, sometimes with blackberries from the lane and Dad would crack open a carton of Ideal milk.

Our family’s obsession with the apples didn’t stop there. Throughout the seventies and eighties, there were demi-johns in the back kitchen bubbling away, full of Dad’s apple wine. Undrinkable stuff that got everyone plastered at our teen parties. His experiments with the many ways of using the apples kept coming. When Mum became too infirm to cook, he took it upon himself to make apple soup, which both he and mum assured us was delicious – a culinary experience that has gone down in family folklore with my kids.

In autumn, once all the apples were bagged up in the freezer, Dad, ever practical cut off the shoots, or ‘soldiers’, as we always called them. One year, he tied a bunch of them together to make a broom. It became the staple Halloween prop for a decade. We were always the hosts of the big neighbourhood Halloween party and of course the apples were the central point. Not the windfalls, but the good ones that we saved for bobbing. The fun was to bury our faces in plates full of Smarties in flour and then to kneel by the half-barrel full of water, hands behind our back, trying to skewer the apples with our wonky teeth.

In winter, the apple tree’s branches collected peaks of snow and we had snowball fights under it and admired the robin above us. When Whisky finally died, we dug a big hole under the apple tree to bury him. It was the first time I’d ever seen Dad cry.

The apple tree was also the frame for our family photos. Grainy black and white group shots of uncles in flares, my Nanna in the Lloyd loom chair looking serene, my sister’s wedding portraits all set against the its leafy backdrop. Then there was the time when I missed my junior school photograph day and Mum dressed me up in my ironed uniform on a Saturday and sat me beneath the tree for a photoshoot which the dog wanted to join in too.

When Granny died and Grandpa left South Wales to come and live with us for his final years, our neighbour, an artist painted him in a chair beneath the apple tree. And when my sister and I had babies of our own, five beautiful girls between us, we photographed them in pretty dresses in the crook of the tree. Beloved images that our Mum cherished right to the end when she was bed-bound with Parkinson’s disease.

But now its gone. Dad has been worried about the tree’s health and a tree surgeon stuck an instrument into its trunk and discovered that it was rotten nearly all the way through. In danger of falling on the house, it had to go.

My sister sent me a picture of sad pile of sawdust that Dad had forwarded and I have to admit that I shed a tear. Because losing a tree that you’ve loved all your life is a little bit heart-breaking. A sad reminder that nothing – however seemingly solid – is permanent.

RIP apple tree.

 

 

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Remembering sunny days in Paris

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I’m extremely excited to be sharing the new jacket for The Hidden Wife, which is out in ebook in June and hits the shops in August.  It’s the second in my Stitch In Time trilogy and follows on from The Runaway Daughter.

Evoking Paris in 1928, the era of jazz, fashion, flapper girls and all the fun that went with it was an absolute joy.

I’ve always been in love with Paris, ever since I went there as a teenager and spent ten days one summer wandering around with a boyfriend, soaking in all the sights.  Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight In Paris’ only made me want to write about it more, so I was delighted to be able to set a book there.

This time I roped in my three girls and Emlyn for a research trip. We had so much fun going to the Sacre Couer and Dreyfus, the fabric emporium nearby, which features in the book.  This street is where I chose Vita and Nancy to have their fictional apartment, run by the fearsome consierge, Madame Vertbois.

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My girls at Le Sacre Coeur.

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After her ill-fated fling with Fletch, the sexy trumpeter, Vita has lunch in the famous Cafe de Flore, where we had a sensationally expensive salad for lunch.

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And Les Deux Margots gets a mention too, when Vita and Nancy are exploring the sights of Paris.

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We went to Le Galleries Lafeyette, where Vita goes to buy Marianne a dress and to try on perfume.  As mentioned in the book, I found out a wonderful french word: ‘Sillage’. It refers to how much of your essence you leave behind.  I tried on a particularly pungent perfume and I can tell you, there was plenty of sillage for the rest of the day. Here’s the wonderful dome inside, and the stunning view from the roof.

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As mentioned in the book, we had to try the famous Macrons from Laduree…

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…and chocolate eclairs from Stohrer – all in the name of research!  Tough, huh!

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And here I am at the famous Folies Bergere, where The Hidden Wife starts.

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There were all the other sights, too.  I had to include the splendour of Notre Dame (pictured here in all its glory, just weeks before the devastating fire)

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and the Eiffel Tower, of course gets its own romantic scene.

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In these strange times of lockdown, I do feel lucky to be a writer and to have a world to escape to of my own.  But, oh, how I miss those sunny days in Paris, when we could just mooch around without a care in the world.

If you want to escape to Paris too, The Hidden Wife is out in ebook on 25th June and in UK shops in August.

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New Year, New Book

the runaway daughter tpb rees vis2

It’s so exciting to kick off 2019 with a new book.  I’m delighted to be writing the second in my Stitch In Time Trilogy for Pan Mac.  The first, The Runaway Daughter’ is out in July and I had so much fun writing it, I’m thrilled to be cracking on with the story.  This time, the action is all set in Paris, so I’m having a wonderful time revelling in the hey-day of La Folies Bergere and the Moulin Rouge, when Paris was full of writers, artists and Jazz Musicians.  Just the distraction I need on these cold January days.

 

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THE GIRL FROM LACE ISLAND

So here we are again – publication week.  It´s always a terrifying time for an author and after so many books, it never gets any easier, I can tell you. Which is why it´s so fabulous to get my first review.  This one from the lovely Laura Lockington.

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Oh my goodness! This has to be the perfect beach read. Sophisticated, glamorous, romantic and gripping. And with a rather beautiful cover that you won’t mind being seen with. There are two women, decades apart, their lives tangled with love and betrayal that are unknowingly linked through a tiny exotic island off the coast of India. In 1989, Leila who has known nothing but happiness on Lace Island, helping her mother keep her high flying glamorous guests happy is sent to boarding school in cold grey England. That’s when her troubles really start. Then, in 2016 we meet Jess who dreams of far off places and keeps a tattered poster on her wall of a beach with white sand, blue seas and palm trees. After the death of her best friend she finally gets her dream job as cabin crew, perhaps taking her to those places that she has only ever seen in pictures before. But then she meets the seemingly perfect Blaise, who captures her heart in a whirlwind relationship that catapults her into the world of the unscrupulous super rich. The two women meet up years later under extraordinary circumstances. I defy anyone not to enjoy this epic tale; it will have you reaching for your cold drink under the sun umbrella and slathering suntan lotion on whilst turning the pages. This is a big hearted book that leaves you walking on sunshine.

Joanna Rees will be appearing at The Bookish Supper Salon on September 14 . Tickets from Tabl.com

Read more at: http://brightonandhoveindependent.co.uk/girl-lace-island-joanna-rees/

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