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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)



English author of warm, witty cosy mystery novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and the Gemma Lamb/St Bride's School series. Novels published by Boldwood Books, all other books by Hawkesbury Press. Represented by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agents. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. Course tutor for Jericho Writers. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors. Lives and writes in her Victorian cottage in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

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