Catherine Alliott, queen of romantic comedy
As bestseller and Tring author Catherine releases her 16th novel, Behind Closed Doors, Living caught up with her to talk about her favourite places around the area
Catherine’s latest novel, Behind Closed Doors, is set in Oxfordshire, when her heroine moves in with her elderly parents after being unexpectedly widowed. But she says, ‘I’ve kept the area vague. It’s in the Chilterns and about half an hour from Thame – which we are here! I purposely keep my locations vague otherwise people call up and tell you that your character couldn’t possibly have caught a bus from here or there because the bus service stopped three years ago. It’s so lovely here why wouldn’t I set my novels around the Chilterns – and setting them somewhere I didn’t know would take such a lot of time to research!’
Favourite walk: ‘We live right next to the Ridgeway. It’s beautiful, we are near Ashridge so walk along there and towards Pitstone Hill and down onto the Downs.’
Favourite restaurant: ‘On special occasions The King’s Head in Ivinghoe. We still mourn the loss of The Regal Chinese restaurant in Berkhamsted.’ (Ed’s note – so do we all!)
Favourite Takeaway: ‘We’ve just discovered a wonderful Indian restaurant called Papad, in Chesham.’
On Tring High Street: ‘I love the hardware shop Metcalfes. It has a lovely, old-fashioned feel, as you collect picture hooks or whatever and place them in a paper bag! I like the Market House for things such as linen napkins and milk jugs and Almars is very good too.’
Favourite place for coffee: ‘I meet my friend in Waitrose in Berkhamsted and when we have filled our trolleys we have our coffee there and sit and chat. You feel like you’ve done something useful, not just had coffee!’
Behind Closed Doors
By Catherine Alliott
Published by: Penguin Michael Joseph
When Lucy is unexpectedly widowed, she doesn’t know where to turn.
She seeks refuge with her elderly parents in Oxfordshire, hoping for an escape from past memories – and from her overbearing sister-in-law.
But she gets much more than she bargained for when she returns home. Her parents’ bungalow is falling apart, and their surprisingly busy social life throws her in the path of an old childhood friend she hasn’t seen for decades.
Yet as Lucy begins to move on, others start to ask questions.
Is she running away from her grief? Or did she leave something far worse behind . . .
Witty, poignant, at times heartwrenching, and drenched in Catherine’s characteristic warmth and humour, this is Michael Joseph’s lead Mother’s Day title – a story about love, loss, family, and above all, second chances.
Die in the Dark
By Dave Sivers, Ivinghoe
The sixth book in the popular Archer and Baines series.
A vicious homophobic attack sees the start of a new investigation for Aylesbury Vale detectives Lizzie Archer and Dan Baines. As they search for answers, another woman is found left for dead, her partner missing – and this time the victims are closer to home for the team.
Dave is a founder of the annual BeaconLit festival of books and writing.
Your Children are Boring
By Tom James, Berkhamsted
Are you sick of a society that seems obsessed with children? Do you find modern parents insufferable?
A wry, light-hearted look at modern parents’ obsession with their children.
Tom also wrote Fifty Shades of Gravy: The Cookbook, and the comedy podcast I am Idiot.
Prince of Dragons
Book one of the Ashridge Adventures
By Pam Howard, Little Gaddesden
Thrilling fantasy adventure set in Ashridge Forest. The book’s castle is based loosely on Ashridge House. For ages nine and over.
Pam lives in Little Gaddesden and was inspired by walks in Ashridge Estate. She says: ‘It’s a truly magical place and if I close my eyes I can imagine elves flitting through the trees and dragons flying high above.’
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