Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Romance of the Lake District by Helena Fairfax

I am delighted to have author Helena Fairfax on the blog today. I always love Helena's romantic stories, and I am very much enjoying reading her latest novel, FELICITY AT THE CROSS HOTEL, a wonderful romance set in the spectacular Lake District, which was released last Friday.
Hello Helena and congratulations on the release of your novel. I have to say that I absolutely love your cover! The Lake District has just been designated a World Heritage Site by Unesco, and deservedly so. I am lucky to live not too far away and try to visit at least once a year. We went to Coniston last August and absolutely loved it, even if we had a bit of a misadventure when walking up The Old Man, but that's another story...

Tell me, why did you choose to set your romantic novel in the Lakes?

Is there a better setting for a romance novel than the Lake District? With its spectacular landscape, its green mountains and the shining lakes, Cumbria has been inspiring writers for centuries. In the nineteenth century Cumbria inspired a whole school of poets – the "Lake Poets" of the Romantic Movement. The most famous of these poets is Wordsworth. Nearly every school child has heard of Wordsworth's host of golden daffodils, and in some ways his poetry has become devalued because it's now so often quoted. But actually, even in his day Wordsworth had his critics. Byron once said of him, "What will any reader out of the nursery say to such namby-pamby?"

To be honest, I have to agree with Byron about the "namby-pamby". I find Wordsworth's poetry a bit too simplistic and a little childish in its optimism. Here is the last verse of "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud":

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

It's strange that Wordsworth wrote mainly about the gentle beauty of the Lake District – the dancing daffodils - when there is also so much that's dark and dramatic. Besides the romance of the landscape, the setting of the Lake District is also perfect for a novelist because a soft, sunny day can swiftly turn threatening. Patrick Cross, the hero of my novel, is grieving the death of his friend, who died because of an act of recklessness while diving in the still, green waters of the lake. There have been many deaths in the mountains and lakes of Cumbria, and in my book I've dwelt on the contrast between the beauty and the danger of the landscape.

Derwent Water
It's a shame that nowadays some parts of the Lake District are inundated with tourists, and the roads in summer are very often clogged. But it's only in recent times that the Lakes have become a tourist destination, and there are many quieter areas that have remained unchanged for centuries. Alone in this magnificent landscape, away from the traffic, you can't help but feel a part of a long, long history of the soil that stretches back thousands of years.

Lots of people have fallen in love in this wonderful setting, but there are some exceptions. Bill Clinton was famously moved to propose to Hillary for the first time by the shores of Ennerdale Water, but she turned him down. Obviously there are some people who remain unmoved by the romance of the Lakes!
Ennerdale Water, scene of Bill Clinton's proposal, Trevor Harris via Wikimedia Commons
Will love blossom for Patrick Cross and Felicity Everdene, the hero and heroine of my novel? Here is the blurb to Felicity at the Cross Hotel:           

A quaint hotel in the Lake District. The Cross Hotel is the perfect getaway. Or is it?
Felicity Everdene needs a break from the family business. Driving through the Lake District to the Cross Hotel, past the shining lake and the mountains, everything seems perfect. But Felicity soon discovers all is not well at the Cross Hotel …
Patrick Cross left the village of Emmside years ago never intending to return, but his father has left him the family’s hotel in his will, and now he's forced to come back. With a missing barmaid, a grumpy chef, and the hotel losing money, the arrival of Felicity Everdene from the notorious Everdene family only adds to Patrick’s troubles.
With so much to overcome, can Felicity and Patrick bring happiness to the Cross Hotel … and find happiness for themselves?

Author Biography:

Helena Fairfax is a British author who was born in Uganda and came to England as a child. She's grown used to the cold now which is just as well, since these days she lives in an old Victorian mill town in the north of England, right next door to the windswept Yorkshire moors. Helena walks this romantic landscape every day with her rescue dog, finding it the perfect place to dream up her heroes and her happy endings. Subscribers to Helena's newsletter receive news of free stuff, competitions with prizes, gossip, and links to cool websites she's been looking at when she should have been writing.

Thank you very much for being my guest today, Helena. I had no idea Bill Clinton has proposed to his Hillary in the Lake District! Congratulations once again on your release. Felicity at the Cross Hotel is a wonderful read.

Amazon universal buy link for Felicity at the Cross Hotel: http://mybook.to/FelicityCH

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  1. Thank you very much for being my guest today, Helena!

    1. Thank you for having me, Marie. The post and photos look lovely!

  2. I loved Helen's story in Letterbox Love Letters and this new novel looks great. I agree about the Lake District being a superb setting. I used to go walking there with my young family years ago and I have seen how it suddenly changes.

    1. It's lovely weather in the north of England today, Jenny, and I expect the Lake District is looking at its best. We're making the most of it! Thanks for your kind words about my story for our Letterbox Love Stories anthology, and thanks for dropping in!

    2. Thank you for visiting, Jenny. You are right about how quickly the weather changes in the Lake District. Last year we went up The Old Man of Coniston in glorious sunshine. Once at the top, clouds came over and in 2 minutes we couldn't see anything and it became really cold. We missed the path down and carried on walking for another 4 hours! It was a bit scary.

    3. Your weather is better than ours today, I'm sure. It was 36ยบ overnight. I may have to spend the day in the pool.

    4. Here it's a nice 20 degrees C, Jenny! Good luck with the heat.