Friday 30 September 2011

Renovation, Renovation, Renovation by Nell Dixon

This week sees the e-publication of Nell Dixon's latest romantic comedy, Renovation, Renovation, Renovation by Myrmidon, with the paperback to follow 2012. Nell won Love Story of the Year in 2010 with Animal Instincts and having read her books, I can assure you this will be a fabulous read.

Kate insists she's had enough of her boyfriend, Steve. After seven years together she was hoping to settle down, get engaged and maybe start to think about having a few babies together. Instead, Steve invests in Myrtle Cottage, a rundown Elizabethan cottage with, it seems, occupants other than themselves from the English Civil War. Her sister suggests they sign up for Evening Classes and Kate agrees to join the course, Research The History Of Your House. If she's going to discover what's making the suspicious noises in her home, this seems like a good place to start.

This book is great fun and well worth reading. Here's an excerpt:

Overworked, over budget and just so not over him! Kate would like an engagement ring from Steve but instead he's lumbered them with a thirteenth renovation project, and doing up Myrtle Cottage disturbs a ghost from the English Civil War who has romance troubles of her own.
“This bloody door is stuck again!”

The door was old, possibly original and it wedged tight every time it rained. Steve had been promising to plane the edge ever since we’d moved in. My family usually used the back door when they visited, unless it was wet, like today, when picking their way through the weeds tended to be a slippery and soggy exercise.

Whoever was on the other side gave the door a helpful shove, and sent me scooting backwards straight into Steve who’d come into the hall behind me. He caught me in his arms and steadied me. He held me securely but gently around the tops of my arms.

“Kate?” My sister was on the doorstep clutching a bag containing what looked like a takeaway and a very welcome bottle of wine.

I jerked myself back upright away from the familiar comforting hardness of Steve’s bare chest. My heart thumped against the wall of my chest and I had become a little breathless.

Lou’s mouth was a round ‘o’ of surprise.

I glared at her. “Damn door, I nearly broke my neck.”

Lou raised an eyebrow and stepped into the hall. “Thought I’d better come in the front way to dodge the jungle you so fondly call your back garden. I bought us an Indian.” She gave a Steve a pointed look.

“Catch you later, LouLou.” He flashed her a smile and slipped past us both, disappearing up the bare wooden stairs of the cottage.

“I didn’t interrupt anything, did I?” Lou asked as she made her way into the kitchen.

I followed behind her clutching the mug I’d rescued from the stairs. “Puhlease, you know how it is between me and Steve. It’s over, done, finished. If we could get this bloody house completed and off our hands I would be so out of here.” I ignored the little voice at the back of my mind that tried to suggest that my statement wasn’t entirely truthful.

(C) Nell Dixon 2011

Available from October from all good e-tailers.


Rosemary Gemmell said...

That does sound interesting - and fun!

Shirley Wells said...

What a great excerpt. Thanks for sharing!

I love Nell's books. Animal Instincts is a wonderful read and I can't wait to read this one.

Karen said...

I definitely want to read on now - sounds great :o)

Nell Dixon said...

Thanks all of you - we're hoping the techy glitch that's held up the release will be solved by Monday or at worst Tuesday - love technology when it goes wrong.

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

Good luck with the book, Nell, I thinks it's great.

galant said...

I cannot make a comment about the story as I've not read it, but on the cover design alone I would not buy this book. This must rank as one of the most awful covers I've seen in a long time, and I feel sorry for the author who must've worked hard to produce a novel. It's worse even than all the pink and turquoise covers put together; those with stillettos and champagne flutes; those with 'headless' backward-glancing females, etc. Surely it couldn't have been beyond the publisher's ability to come up with something even slighlty better than this? Even a plain cover - as Persephone books has done most successfully - would be better.
Margaret P

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

margaret - I'm sorry you feel so strongly against this book and I hope the cover doesn't put you off what is a lovely book.

LindyLouMac said...

For some reason I have only just discovered your blog! Signing up to follow you at once. Nell Dixon is not an author I am familiar with but having read your review it sounds like a fun light hearted read, so adding to my wishlist.

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

lindyloumack - thanks so much for visiting and for your comment. Nell's books are wonderful, I've enjoyed them all.

I'm off to visit your blog now.

Talli Roland said...

Yay! I love Nell's writing - I devoured 'Animal Instincts'. I'm definitely getting this one!

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

Talli - thanks, me too.

galant said...

Yes, Debs, the book appeals, but I think the cover has done it a disservice. But maybe others will think I'm being too fussy or maybe they like the thought of a chap up a ladder, although his can of paint it on the floor.
However, I must stress that the cover is a book's shop window; if it doesn't look good enough to read, it woun't be peeled open.
My current reading: My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart - Mary Stewart's books have recently been reissued and have 1950s-style covers; simple, but striking. Not everyone loves them, but I think they are extremely stylish.
Margaret P

Nell Dixon said...

Well, it's finally released - hurrah! Thank you all for the lovely comments. It's so difficult with covers isn't it? What some people love, others can't stand. It was interesting with this one. My publisher produced five different covers and they were shown to various reading groups, members of the public etc and people voted and they went with the one most people liked. Hopefully people will try it and see if it's their cup of tea, but it's lovely to hear feedback and I'll be sure to pass it on.

HelenMWalters said...

Sounds like a fabulous book!

D.J. Kirkby said...

I love that title!

Nell Dixon said...

Thanks Helen and D.J. I loved writing this book, I got to try lots of new things and visit some fabulous places.

Phillipa said...

Hi, I read the book as an ms and loved it - I laughed and cried!

Galant - interesting about the covers. Of course, you are so right, publishers market covers very carefully to readers - and I think Perspehone are one of the cleverest in appealing to their particular readership. I have their version of Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day bought for me by a friend who thinks all books should be issued with plain covers. Persephone have certainly captured her attention but I don't think that approach would be appropriate for Renovation.

galant said...

Hi, Phillipa, and Nell, too,

First up, I hope I didn't cause any offence by my remarks about the cover and it certainly appears from Debs' review that it could well be a book I would wish to read. Next, yes, I totally agree, Phillipa, that a plain Persephone cover wouldn't quite do for this type of book, but I am a sucker for a really attractive cover. Favourite covers of late have been:
Katharine McMahon's The Rose of Sebastopol; Rosie Thornton's The Tapestry of Love; Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs books, the most recent of which is A Lesson in Secrets (very 1930s Art Deco-ish design); Charles Finch's mystery series, the most recent being A Stranger in Mayfair (Victorian mystery series); and Elizabeth Speller's The Return of Captain John Emmett ... all of which were strong reflections on the contents.
Covers of chick-lit must similarly reflect content but I wish that those designing the covers had more imagination than using pink and turquoise ad nauseam. Chick-lit, sadly, has become a rather over-worked name for a genre which still has a huge following and the novels themselves are often far superior than their covers suggest. All I would like to see are well-designed contemporary-styled covers, covers which look romantic and youthful but not silly.
Margaret P

Kitchen Benchtops said...

Renovation, Renovation, Renovation is well written and the human spirit shines through to create a beautiful story.