Posted in Between the Pages, Kees 2 Romanticism, Meet an Author

A Most Romantic Place

Today, I welcome travel blogger, Jen Peyton. Jen is a keen reader with a big TBR list who loves to travel. Today she takes us to the most romantic destination in the world … France.  Welcome, Jen!

About Me

I’m Jen and I run the Eating, Reading and Traveling Blog;

My passions are enjoying food, books and travel…and then writing about them! I am relatively new to the Romance genre; my other favourites include historical fiction, crime, thriller and mystery. However I recently started reading the occasional romance novel, and now I’m hooked! I really love being a part of the Book Blogging Community, which I only discovered last year, as it has such an amazing community feel with some of the most passionate and wonderful people I’ve ever met. I’ve made several friends through my Bookstagram account (for those unaccustomed, that’s Book-Instagram!), and have discovered countless new authors through these platforms. Bloggers are some of the most supportive people ever, and I love talking with like-minded people about characters that I love and even that I hate, and which books I think everyone should read.

The Most Romantic Place I’ve Ever Visited…

When I visited parts of rural France, including the French countryside a few years ago, I fell head over heels in love with the luscious countryside, the views, (the wine), the people, the markets and the little typical French cottages that seemed to be everywhere.

I couldn’t help but be brought back into one of my favourite books of all time, All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I find stories set in World War Two have some of the most romantic storylines you could imagine. The relationships between the characters are intensified because of the looming threat that everything could be lost at any moment. This book follows the story of two youngsters, a blind French girl and a German boy, as they try to survive in war-torn Europe. Throughout the book they slowly make their way through increasingly dangerous scenarios unintentionally towards each other. When they eventually meet towards the end of the book it is one of the most emotionally bitter-sweet moments I’ve ever read.

Despite the horrors present in the region during this time, I found this book to inject a certain romance into the characters’ stories and the setting, much of which takes place in rural France. The entire time I was exploring France, I could not help but make close comparisons to the book, and the story of the two main characters as they made their way through the war unintentionally towards each other. The journeys the two characters made, and the horrific challenges they overcame really hit me when I was walking through some of the locations from the book, 70 years since the end of the war. Many of the sites had recovered, but reminders of the pain and suffering of war were everywhere.

This isn’t any typical romance novel. But the romance is there to be found if the reader is willing to look for it. Romance can be found in the lyrical way the author describes the feelings of the characters, the inexplicable draw that slowly brings the two characters closer and closer together from locations across Europe, and even the overall message that love and light can always be found in a situation, one just has to look for it.

Visiting the French countryside was so special to me. You couldn’t visit there and not soak up the beautifully romantic atmosphere. I don’t know whether it’s the obligatory wine and cheese picnic that you absolutely have to do, whether it’s the bike ride you embark on through the wineries, or if it’s the quaint little French villages with market stalls selling fresh vegetables that are just like something out of an old movie. Perhaps it’s all these things together that are the key to the romance that inevitably washes over you from the moment you arrive. I have never seen or experienced anything like it in my life.

The region felt like it was frozen in time, and that I very well could have been there back in the days of war, far enough removed to avoid any of the major destruction, but close enough to maintain the old fashioned, simple, technology free feel of war-torn France. Reminders of the horrors of the past are easily found, in the forms of memorials, cemeteries and war-damaged buildings. These mementos placed against the backdrop of such a beautiful place reminded me of the parallels in the book that were drawn between love and romance and war and hate. It was such a powerful feeling to experience while exploring this amazing place, but it further cemented what I’d suspected all along. Love and romance will win every time.

The connection I felt with France, in particular, the French countryside had such a profound effect on me that I’m already planning my next visit as soon as possible. I hope to return this time with my partner, so that we can experience the romance of walking through a quaint French village market together, while enjoying the parallels we see between the towns and some of our favourite books.

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Posted in Between the Pages, Kees 2 Romanticism, Meet an Author

Just Add Passion

Isn’t that a great name for an emporium where the owner, Michelle Greening, is passionate? About everything.  Just Add Passion has art, books, coffee, crafts – you name it, they have it. And this beautiful, picturesque, historical building is also the venue of regular, hosted events such as WA Author Day where you can meet and greet some of WA’s finest talent.  Chat to an artist, have your favourite author sign a book, grab a coffee from the Just Add Coffee vintage caravan (it’s awesome stuff!) or browse the wide range of hand-crafted gifts inside the shop.  A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Perth’s hills.

Earlier in March, I was honoured to be a guest at WA Author Day, along with some truly awesome local talent like Jennie Jones, Anne Marlene Kuhn and Demelza Carlton. It was a small crowd but we had an amazing day. In between signing books and chatting to readers, we drank tea and coffee, ate cake and sandwiches, laughed a lot and talked some more. Michelle is a warm and friendly hostess, and a generous soul. I think all of us came away richer for the experience.

Thanks to Michelle, you can now purchase signed copies of Home to Bindarra Creek and Finding Paradise at Just Add Passion gift emporium.

About Just Add Passion:

Photo courtesy of Just Add Passion

Situated in Stoneville, just 3 minutes from Mundaring, you will find an adorable little old house with a rich history, now acting as a Book, Gift & Art Emporium. We are an Emporium full of delightful handmade treasures and an ever growing range of WA Authors books. The added touch of our permanent coffee van, which you will find situated out the front of our gorgeous building, is quite unique in itself. Next time you visit our little slice of heaven, why not indulge yourself and enjoy a beverage with perhaps a delectable homebaked treat on our lovely front deck, while taking in the beautiful ambient surrounds and then browse the many rooms, behind the Purple Curtain, at your leisure. Read More…

Featured Books at WA Author Day:

The quiet suburb of Oakleigh may never be the same again. Not as long as the gods are in town…

From the shores of Mykonos to Melbourne Australia, Arian and Ajax find that sometimes in life or death true love is worth fighting for.
Arian Kendrick has always felt she doesn’t quite fit in. On holiday in Mykonos she rescues a little girl from drowning and discovers powers she didn’t know she had. As her long-dormant mystical talents blossom, so does her heart when she meets Ajax, the handsome, mysterious Greek-Melbournian who swears he is destined to be in her life.

When fate brings together two lost souls, it’s time to leave the shadows behind and come home to Bindarra Creek…

With rejuvenation of her small home town in the pipeline, Park Ranger, Alice Pritchard has no choice but to let go of the past. Dan Molyneaux roars into her life in his high-powered V8 and reopens the Riverside Pub, forcing her to face her ghosts, his possum problem, Curly the cockatoo who swears like a sailor, Old Man Jake who’s appointed himself caretaker of the property, and Grandad Charlie who’s determined to find her the man he thinks she deserves. Alice would love to ignore them all and keep living in the cocoon she’s created for herself in sleepy Bindarra Creek, but fate has other plans for her.

Actress Edie Granger is in a spot of trouble.

When a big–time producer threatens to ruin her career–and possibly the rest of her life–she flees to her remote hometown in the Snowy Mountains and opens a theatre to put on her comedy whodunnit Who Shot the ProducerEdie is suddenly centre stage in the biggest role of her life. Can she pull it off ? And can Ryan ensure everyone survives to make it to the curtain call?

Three sisters. An absent prince who promised to protect them. And the wolf is at the door…

When war breaks out, Rudolf promises Portia and her sisters he will protect them. But his father falls in battle, and Rudolf is forced to return home to command his father’s armies.
Shifting alliances turn Portia and her family from friends to sworn enemies. To win the war, Rudolf must conquer her home, and risk losing her forever.
When the wolf is at the door, who will win – love or war?

A true story of courage, faith, love and tragedy…

Ice Cream in the Desert is a journey into the hearts and minds of an Australian family struggling to survive in the most isolated desert regions of Australia during the 1900’s. Based on real events, it is a story that is filled with faith, adventure and tragedy. Most of all, it is a story about the ability of the human spirit to channel strength from an unconquerable source of love.