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)



Optimistic author, blogger, journalist, book reviewer and public speaker whose life revolves around books. Her first love is writing fiction, including the new Sophie Sayers Village Mystery novels (out 2017), short stories and essays inspired by her life in an English village. She also writes how-to books for authors and books about living with Type 1 diabetes. She is Author Advice Centre Editor and and UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) Advice Centre blog, an ambassador for the children's reading charity Readathon, and an official speaker for the diabetes research charity JDRF.

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