At their family hilltop villa, Lucy awaits the arrival of her brother and sister for their mother’s annual birthday party. Although this time, their mother won’t be there.
Struggling at Malaga airport with her fractious four year old, Jo has already lost her case and is dreading arriving without its precious contents.
For Tom, returning to Casa de Sueños stirs up all sorts of memories – then a beautiful face from his past appears . . .
Over one long, hot weekend, past secrets will spill out as three siblings discover more about their family and each other in this gorgeous, warm and witty new novel from Fanny Blake.
Firstly thanks to Orion for having me on this summery blog tour and my copy of the book.
I’m not sure if I have read any of this authors books before so was looking forward to starting this one .The cover is stunning and really sets the scene of the storyline .
This is a story of family and the secrets that can be revealed .
A great summer read perfect to escpae with as its set in spain and if like me your not able to whisk Fannys writing can 🙂
Tensions build as the temperature rises and everyone has their own dilemmas and stress .
This was a slow burner for me but is a layered read which gives real insight into other families and what happens after a death of a loved one .
As part of my turn on this blog tour I’m pleased to share with you a look into how Fanny researched this book .
Researching House of Dreams was particularly tough since most of the research had be done over a gorgeous sunny few days in southern Spain …
In the novel, three siblings return to their childhood home to celebrate their late mother’s last birthday in traditional fashion as she wanted but also to scatter her ashes. Unfortunately her ashes are lost in transit. Over the course of a long weekend all sorts of family secrets spill out that will change the way the siblings see themselves and each other. I wanted a setting that would be remote, beautiful but also easily reachable from the UK.
Their bohemian mother grew up in the sixties and, in her twenties, went to live in Ibiza before eventually moving to southern Spain where she settled with her husband, an artist, and three children. Her house, Casa de Sueños or House of Dreams, is at the heart of the novel.
The novel is set in a beautiful part of rural southern Spain, in the mountains that rise up behind the ribbon of residential development that hugs the coastline. I chose it because I have always remembered visiting the region some years ago when I went with my mother on a walking holiday there. We spent a week making our way through cork forests, visiting idyllic white villages, following goat tracks over mountains until we eventually fetched up in the town of Rondaperched above the plain.
But memories, a few old photos and Googlemaps weren’t enough. Although they were helpful, I wanted to be there again to soak up the atmosphere, the sounds, the sights and the smells.
I rented a small house in Gaucín, a white village with views across the countryside all the way to the coast. On a clear day, you can see the coast of Africa where the lights twinkle at night. I found a birdwatcher and walking guide who took me on a walk through a cork oak forest, the trees trunks stripped of their bark. He pointed out the different birds and butterflies while I made frantic notes about them and the wildflowers that were everywhere. In the evenings, I’d sit on the terrace, glass of wine at hand, watching the swallows swoop and turn above the terracotta roofs.
I visited three different houses in the area that belonged to ex-pats generous
enough to show me around them and tell me about their experience of moving there from the UK. When it came to writing the book, I designed my own house and located it on the hill side just below Gaucín. My characters take the walks I took, visit versions of the restaurants I visited and eat the food I ate, and most of all they see, hear and smell much of what I did.
Did I say Researching House of Dreams was tough? I lied. I had a great time in a wonderful part of the world, and I hope that comes across in the novel.
House of Dreams (Orion) by Fanny Blake is out on June 2nd
Do check out the other blogs taking part