Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Christmas Wishes, Mistletoe Kisses - Settings 2

I know it’s been a while since I posted and this book has been out for a couple of months now, but I couldn’t not write about these settings in Christmas Wishes, Mistletoe Kisses. Blame flu, Christmas chaos, book deadlines and family crises. But better late than never...

Across the river from Louise’s house is the little village of Lower Hadwell. Those of you who have read Her Parenthood Assignment will recognise it as the same hamlet in which Luke and Gaby live. They even get a quick mention in Christmas Wishes, Mistletoe Kisses – but if you blink, you’ll miss it.

Dittisham from Greenway Quay

Lower Hadwell is based on the real village of Dittisham on the River Dart in Devon. It’s a beautiful, chocolate-box kind of place with cottages painted in pastel colours and the steepest hill ever. Louise and her son, Jack, walk backwards up the hill to try and stop their calves from screaming. Been there, done that, felt the lactic acid building up in my muscles…

The other key location in this book is Louise’s boathouse. I had no idea when I sailed past it hundreds of times during my teenage years that it belonged to the mysterious white mansion up on the hill (see previous post). The boathouse always looked so idyllic, with its arched windows and balcony – just the place to spend a lazy summer’s afternoon.

A view of the boathouse taken from the river

In reality, it’s a pretty sparse place inside, with only a tiled fireplace and some old cane furniture, but in the book I embellished. The fireplace was still there, but Louise chose this as her bolthole, her hiding place, when life wasn’t going as planned, and renovated it to make it a little more comfortable. Think New England creams, pale blues and deep reds, a roaring fire and a wrought iron daybed covered with a quilt and you’ll be pretty much there.

The inside of Greenway boathouse, which once belonged to a certain Mrs Mallowan - better known as writer, Agatha Christie.

This is the place where Louise goes to lick her wounds when she has to spend her first Christmas without her son – and the place where her Christmas Wishes start coming true. Ben realises how miserable she is and decides to cheer her up by bringing Christmas to her solitary pity party – whether she likes it or not! And this is the place where Louise and Ben’s romance both starts and ends – in terms of the book, anyway. I like to think the romance keeps going even when there are no more words left on the page…

A sign on the boathouse jetty that inspired Louise's loathing of tresspassers.

The view from the boathouse balcony