The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

A Spell in Provence

A Spell in Provence

Friday, 30 May 2014

THE SECOND TIME I SAW YOU by Pippa Croft

Publishing 22nd May 2014 Penguin

It's the beginning of a new term at Wyckham College, Oxford, and a fresh start for Lauren Cusack. Her fingers were badly burnt when a whirlwind romance with gorgeous English aristocrat, Alexander Hunt, became too hot to handle - and now she's determined to keep her distance.
Her resolve is shaken when Alexander appears on her doorstep - he's been completely torn apart by some devastating news. Lauren knows that she should stay away, but their chemistry is undeniable and she soon finds herself back in Alexander's arms.
Can Lauren handle the drama that comes with Alexander Hunt? Or will she have to sacrifice the most exhilarating passion she's ever known . . .
(THE SECOND TIME I SAW YOU you is the 2nd book in the Oxford Blue Series.)
About the Author

I am delighted to welcome Pippa Croft on the blog today to talk about her writing and her novel.

Hello Pippa. It is a pleasure to meet you today. Can you tell us a little about you?
I’m the daughter of a miner, the wife of an engineer and the mum of doctor... my daughter has just graduated as a PhD in May so I’m feeling very proud of her. I live in a small village in Staffordshire and I like reading, walking, swimming, body boarding and shopping.

What did you want to be when you were a child? Did you always know you wanted to write? 
I didn’t know or want to be a novelist until I was about 42, which is mad really, because from as early as I can remember, I used to write. However, I didn’t write ‘stories’, I used to make up little brochures and booklets about places I’d been and facts I’d read and illustrate them. After I left Oxford, where I read English Lit, I worked as a copywriter and journalist until I finally decided to write my first piece of fan fiction, which was inspired by a TV drama called North and South.

Where do you get your ideas for your stories?
Everywhere. Inspiration can strike at any moment and rarely when I’m looking for it. Once you start writing fiction, you seem to unlock the gates of your subconscious to likely ideas and characters. The problem is, the gates can never be shut again.

I know the feeling! I sometimes think it's lucky nobody can see what goes on in my mind. When and where do you write? Do you have a special 'writing' time?
I try to keep office hours, which may be anytime from seven am to eight pm, and I work on Sundays quite often. I write in various rooms of the house so I don’t get bored or stuck in one chair.

What comes to you first, the characters or the plot?
Usually both, they tend to grow organically alongside each other.

What kind of man is Alexander, your hero?
Alexander is a darkly sexy and wealthy aristocrat, who is also a member of UK special forces – he’s been given a sabbatical from his unit to do a master’s at Oxford but that doesn’t stop him from disappearing off on ops from time to time! He seems to have it all, but under all the bravado, he’s a very troubled soul though he hates showing his feelings which causes anguish with his family and Lauren.

He sounds absolutely fascinating. What kind of woman is Lauren, your heroine?
Lauren is an American senator’s daughter. She’s smart and sassy, and adamant she won’t take any flak from anyone, least of all a bunch of snobby Brits. However, underneath it all, she feels like a fish out of water at Oxford and she’s also nursing a broken heart at the start of the series. She’s determined to enjoy her year in Europe and avoid any entanglements, especially not with someone as dangerous as Alexander!

So, what did Alexander think the first time he saw Lauren?
He’s intrigued, annoyed, maddened and completely bowled over by his response to her. She’s sexy, feisty and very different to the type of woman he’s gone for before. When she refuses to fall into his arms – or bed – he can’t resist the challenge. What Alexander wants, Alexander gets... but he has no idea what he’s getting himself into!

And what did Lauren think the first time she saw Alexander? 
Her physical reaction is instant and overwhelming – in fact, the sexual chemistry between them is so powerful, it terrifies her. She also thinks he’s arrogant, emotionally repressed, and to be avoided at all costs, but fending off Alexander is like trying to stop the tide.

THE SECOND TIME I SAW YOU is the second book in a series. How many books are you planning to write in this series and why did you choose to write a series of novels?
Three are planned so far – but you never know! The series has been inspired by my own student days at Oxford, and also by hearing all the stories my daughter shared me from her time there.  I love writing passionate steamy stories about dark brooding alpha heroes and feisty women and I’ve been dying to write a book set at Oxford. This is my dream project!

Thank you so much Pippa for coming on the blog today, and good luck with THE SECOND TIME I SAW YOU! You can meet Pippa on


The First Time We Met is the first novel in the sizzling new Oxford Blue romance series from Pippa Croft.  When US Senator’s daughter Lauren Cusack arrives at the enchanting Wyckham College of Oxford University, she hopes to mend her broken heart by throwing herself into her studies.
But then English aristocrat Alexander Hunt walks into her life and everything changes. Handsome, brooding, and with his own dark past to escape, Alexander is exactly what Lauren doesn’t need – but she finds herself helplessly drawn towards him.
Both Alexander and Lauren know that they should stay away from each other . . . but sometimes desire is so powerful that it conquers all else.



Sunday, 11 May 2014

'Meet My Main Character' Blog Tour - THE LADY OF BELLEFONTAINE

Thank you very much Diane M Denton for tagging me and suggesting I take part in this fun blog tour. I have just signed a publishing contract with Áccent Press for my contemporary romantic suspense THE LADY OF BELLEFONTAINE so this is the novel I will be talking about today.

1. What is the name of your character? Is she a fictional person?
My heroin is called Amy Carter and she is totally fictional.

2. Where is the story set?
THE LADY OF BELLEFONTAINE is set in a hill top village in the beautiful Lubéron region of Provence, in the South of France. This part of France is absolutely breathtaking, with golden stone farmhouses - 'bastides'- villages and little towns surrounded by orchards, vineyards and forests. And of course, lovely old fountains, which were the inspiration for the story.

3. What should we know about your heroine?
After being made redundant from the UK bank where she used to work as a translator, Amy decides to follow her dream and start a new life. She buys a very old 'bastide' called Bellefontaine she plans to turn into a guesthouse.

4. What is the main conflict?
After a series of unsettling and downright scary incidents, Amy realises that her arrival at Bellefontaine isn't welcome by everybody in the village. 

The romantic conflict of the novel is her stormy relationship with Fabien Coste, the aristocratic owner of nearby luxury hotel Manoir Coste. Despite finding an ancient love spell that binds the ladies of Bellefontaine to the ducs de Coste, Amy has no intention of falling in love with Fabien...But how long will she resist his dark, enigmatic charm?

5. What is the personal goal of the character?
Although she knows nothing of the hospitality industry, Amy is determined to set up and run a successful guest house. She is a fast learner and a hard worker, and isn't easily discouraged even if Fabien mocks her naive and at times 'hippyish' ideas. This is her big chance, her dream come true. When she discovers that Bellefontaine has a sinister past and that it was for centuries linked to the bloodthirsty cult of a local Gallic goddess, she doesn't run away but resolves to find out more and unmask those who put her life in danger.

6. Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
The working title is THE LADY OF BELLEFONTAINE. I can only at this very early stage post the provisional blurb for the novel. Here is it below.

'The spell flows with the spring, binding hearts together until death tears them apart.' This is what a Latin inscription says on an ancient stone Amy Carter finds in the overgrown garden of the farmhouse she just moved into. If Amy has big plans for Bellefontaine and her new life in Provence, none of them involves falling in love - least of all with Fabien Coste, the handsome but arrogant owner of nearby Manoir Coste, the ancestral family chateau he turned into a luxury hotel.

Yet local legends talk about past romantic entanglements between the ladies of Bellefontaine and the ducs de Coste, and despite herself Amy soon finds herself falling in love with Fabien. As springtime turns Bellefontaine into the paradise she always dreamt of, Amy discovers that her home is at the centre of a mystery involving the evil cult of an ancient Gallic goddess, and that it isn't only her heart which is in terrible danger, but her life too. Can she trust Fabien to help solve Bellefontaine's dark mystery? Is he genuinely attracted to her or does he have his own motives for wanting to keep her close? And will the love spell between them turn out to be a deadly curse?

 7. When can we expect the book to be published?
I only just signed the contract with Áccent Press, so I cannot at this stage say when the book will be published.

Thank you again Diane for tagging me. I hope you found the interview interesting and would love to read comments and answer questions!


Diane Denton can be found at http://bardessdmdenton.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/it-happened-quite-by-chance/