If you’re an Anglophile and/or a lover of travel, books, good food, and good friends, you might want to take a peek at Susan Branch’s A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside. Prior to this, Branch was the author/illustrator of keepsake books like Christmas from the Heart of the Home and Girlfirends Forever, so be forewarned — if you have a low tolerance for whimsy and sentiment, you might find her latest endeavor a bit twee.
A Fine Romance is a scrapbook of Branch’s two month holiday through the English countryside. (A trip bookended by transatlantic voyages on the Queen Mary 2 — Eeee!) As the official blurb says, the book is “part love story, part travel guide,” and its pages are chock-full of photographs, illustrations, musings and recipes. I found the book quite charming, and I especially appreciated Branch’s emotional visit to the home of Beatrix Potter. If you dream of visiting your favorite authors’ homes and walking in their footsteps, you might shed a few tears when Susan finally gets to explore Hill Top Farm. (It made me long to see Miss Potter again!)
Branch includes many delectable recipes in the book, including sweets like Hot Milk Cake, Lemon Butter Cookies, and Sticky Toffee Pudding, but a revision deadline and sprained foot kept me from attempting any of them. So this month’s offering is tea only: Tea Palace’s Smooth Caramel.
See you again in October, hopefully with a wonderfully CREEPY book for Halloween!