Posted in Writing

A Monumental Error

In the April edition of the Hawkesbury Parish News, I’ve been focusing on a prominent village landmark: the Somerset Monument.

cover of book showing painting of column
Cover #1 – I loved it, but readers insisted I lose the Italianate column

“But that looks like Italy!” “Definitely Italian.” “No, that doesn’t say English village at all.”

Such was the feedback when I showed foreign friends the proposed cover for All Part of the Charm. This new book brings together all my Parish News columns with my essays about village life.

My friends’ reaction astonished me. Like most people who live here, I’m used to the Monument serving as shorthand for Hawkesbury Upton. Its portrait is everywhere, including the cover of the Parish News. The only challenge is to find an original way to illustrate it. I was using a watercolour painted by my dad.

Then I remembered some basic facts about the Monument’s 170-year history. Its architect was Lewis Vulliamy, who also designed Westonbirt House, now a private school. The Monument echoes the style of the splendid mid-Victorian House. Italian Renaissance was all the rage in those days. Classic Cotswold country cottage it ain’t.

With reluctance I rejected the Monument picture. The new cover design features a more typical Cotswold scene: sheep in rolling fields (also painted by my dad). I just hope nobody thinks the sheep look French.

Cover of All Part of the Charm
Now available in paperback – ebook to follow shortly (click on the image to order from Amazon)

 

Author:

Author of warm, witty and gently funny fiction and non-fiction, including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mystery series, beginning with "Best Murder in Show", inspired by her life in an English Cotswold community, short stories and essays about country life. As Commissioning Editor for the Alliance of Independent Authors' Advice Centre, she writes guidebooks authors. She speaks at many literature festivals and writing events, and is part of BBC Radio Gloucestershire's monthly Book Club broadcast. She is founder and director of the free Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival which takes place in April, a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association, and an ambassador for children's reading charity Read for Good and the Type 1 diabetes charity JDRF.

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