The Soft Whisper of Dreams: Getting away from it all

Christina Courtenay’s novel The Soft Whisper of Dreams (sequel to The Secret Kiss of Darkness) is now available in paperback. In this blog Christina talks stately homes and escaping to the country…

ChristinaCourtenayBooksAug12RD-e1382742229329The lovely Choc Lit team ran a competition last week where readers were asked ‘where is your favourite place to go to get away from it all and why?’

In The Soft Whisper of Dreams, the heroine Maddie travels to Devon to stay with friends, which sounds like a great way of getting away from all her worries.  For me this was sort of wish-fulfillment as well since Maddie’s friends live in what I can only describe as a stately home and that would be my idea of a perfect getaway location (at least for shorter holidays – for longer ones I’d go to Japan)!

There’s something very special about stately homes and I feel very lucky to live in a country where there are hundreds (if not thousands?) of them.  I can never enter one without starting to imagine scenarios from the past or daydream about owning such a house myself.  It’s like being inside a fairy tale – all I’m missing is the silk gown and Prince Charming.

Saltram House, Plymouth (Wikimedia Commons image)

Saltram House, Plymouth (Wikimedia Commons image)

The house in The Soft Whisper of Dreams (and the prequel The Secret Kiss of Darkness) was based on several visits I made to Saltram House, which is just outside Plymouth in Devon. I’m not sure why this house in particular caught my imagination, but it’s definitely my favourite one so far.  It’s very grand, but at the same time feels inviting and not overpowering somehow.  The rooms are big, but not too big, with magnificent plaster ceilings, huge windows and gorgeous furniture. And the very best one is the library – my dream room!  Lined with bookshelves full to bursting, comfortable chairs to sit and read in, plus several desks and a gaming table among other things, it’s the sort of room you just can’t resist.

Then all you need is the perfect hero – in this case Alex Marcombe, the archetypal ‘bad boy’ trying to reform himself. I think we’ve discussed ‘bad boys’ here before and I know some of you would find it hard to live with one, but to me that doesn’t spoil the attraction. There’s always the chance that you could be the one woman who can tame him and who can resist such a challenge? My heroine can’t anyway.

SWOD_hirespackshot RGB-150dpi copyFind out more about The Soft Whisper of Dreams:

Christina’s Twitter: @PiaCCourtenay

Christina’s Website: Christina Courtenay

Christina’s Facebook: Christina Courtenay Author Page

The Soft Whisper of Dreams is available from all good book retailers:

Amazon UK   Amazon US   Amazon AU  Amazon CA

10 thoughts on “The Soft Whisper of Dreams: Getting away from it all

  1. Congratulations on the paperback publication of your latest title, Christina. Devon is full of gorgeous houses! My favourite is the one just down the road from me – A La Ronde. It’s not a stately home, just a quirky, delightful folly. I love it.

  2. We are so lucky to live in a country that has so many fantastic houses – and a National Trust and English Heritage, that allow us inside! I love poking around in old houses – never found myself a bad boy in one yet, though!

  3. It’s one things I miss living in Tennessee – if something is an old house here it’s probably a log cabin! I love Lanhydrock House in Cornwall and must revisit it soon.

  4. I’ve loved wandering round stately homes since I was a child; that glimpse into another world is fascinating, and definitely fuels the imagination. And the addition of Alex Marcombe makes the set-up all the more irresistible! 🙂

  5. I must go to A La Ronde, Margaret, and I’ve long wanted to go to Lanhydrock, Angela! It’s just never worked out but I’m determined to get there one of these days 🙂

    Jane – there’s time yet! 😀

  6. I’ve just returned home from a visit to the north of England, and there I was spoiled for choice. Yorkshire is rich with the most wonderful old houses, each with a tantalising history of its own.

  7. Well, if the bad boy is trying to redeem himself … OK, I’ll give him a chance. 🙂 Loving that title, Christina. And the cover, wow! xx

  8. Liz, I saw some of your photos – fabulous! I think it’s time I went north soon too 🙂

  9. Thank you, Sheryl 🙂 Yes, nothing like a reformed bad boy – my favourite kind of hero! And thanks re: the title and cover, I love that cover as well, another great one from Berni!

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