Sunday, 14 July 2019

A Postcard from Italy by ALex Brown

I am thrilled to have one of my favourite authors, Alex Brown joining us back on the blog today to talk about her new release A Postcard From Italy.

What inspired you to write the storyline for A Postcard from Italy? 
Connie’s character had been percolating away for ages, years in fact, after I bought a beautiful handmade vintage coat in a charity shop. Every time I wore the coat I imagined who its original owner had been, what was her name, what was her life like and Connie was the culmination of those thoughts. I’ve always had a fascination for women in history, ordinary women and how they lived their lives and how that compares to women’s lives today. Plus, I find storage units intriguing, what do they contain? A lifetime of memories in Connie’s case, and so the storyline developed from there.    

Can you tell us a little about the research you undertook for this novel? 
The Italian scenes were written from memory of when I visited the breathtakingly beautiful Italian Riviera over fifteen years ago. I always knew that I would write a book set there and even though my trip was in the days before Instagram, the scenes and atmosphere were as vivid today as they were back then. For the inheritance legalities, I was very lucky to be put in touch with an extremely patient solicitor who specialises in inheritance law. The very emotional scene set on VE day was written after watching old newsreel and reading accounts from people who were actually there like my nan, Edie, the nippy who works in Lyons tea house on the Strand, it was very lovely being able to immortalise her in A Postcard From Italy.     

If A Postcard from Italy was to be made into a film who could you see playing Connie and Grace? 
Obviously, A Postcard From Italy film is a fantastic idea, I can just see Grace and Ellis wandering around Portofino and then discovering Connie’s powder pink villa on the hillside bathed in the scent from the lemon and orange groves … I think Emily Blunt would make a great Connnie and for Grace, it would have to be Gemma Arterton 

I loved the cover for this book, was it all you hoped it would be and did you get much input. 
Thank you. Yes, it is all I hoped it would be … and more. I did have some input, we tweaked the font and a few other small details, but to be honest I loved it so much when I first saw it that I really didn’t need to add or change anything about it.    

Are you currently working on your next book and if so can you give us a little teaser and do you see a return to Tindledale in future novels? 
I’m just about to start writing the next book and feel very excited about it. As soon as I can say more I will, I promise. Sorry to be mysterious about it but get superstitious if I talk about it before my agent and editor have rubber stamped the idea. I’d love to return to Tindledale in future novels … Carrington’s too, perhaps, one day! I’m a great believer in that old adage of never say never. 

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us Alex, I am excited to now finally be able to share my thoughts on A Postcard from Italy with you all.

My Review

I have long been a fan of Alex Brown’s novels and I remember in October last year seeing the cover reveal for her next novel A Postcard from Italy and being totally wowed and I couldn’t wait for the book to come so I can be transported off to Italy!

Grace carries this storyline whilst we get to know her as a character and her background she is finding out about an interesting client whose valuable personal belongings have been left in the storage company where she works for years and now the unit is in arrears so she is determined to find out all about the owner Connie and make sure that the belongings are given to the rightful heir. As Grace uncovers Connie’s diary’s and some letters she finds herself becoming so invested in this woman and her heart is so touched by her story.

This was a sweet and touching storyline and I found I was equally interested in learning about Connie’s life as I was about Grace and I soon found that both women have had a strained life due to other peoples actions and I think this was one of the reasons why it was so important for Grace to find out all she could about Connie’s story as she saw a bit of herself in her. Grace was such a selfless character who despite her own struggles is always first to put others needs and wants before her own which only made me love her even more.

Not all of the book is set in Italy but when we are transported there everything was described so vividly it was easy to see in my mind the picturesque surroundings, the change of pace and I really wish I was there with the characters soaking up the atmosphere.

I am a hopeless romantic so I love the little sprinkle of romance that was weaved into the storyline which gave a lightness and uplifting feel to an otherwise moving and emotive read. I loved the mystery surrounding Connie and I enjoyed finding the next piece of the jigsaw as they were uncovered by Grace. The storyline was unpredictable and the epilogue rounded up this delightful storyline unexpectedly and perfectly. This was another flawless read by Alex Brown even if I was a little hesitant about coming away from my much loved fictional place of Tindledale ( although there is a mention here and there!) I knew I would be in safe hands with this authors skilled writing style and I wasn’t wrong.

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