27 September 2014

Weekend Cooking (& Giveaway): A Fine Romance by Susan Branch

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

A Fine Romance by Susan BranchI'm not quite sure where I first learned about Susan Branch, but once I peeked inside one of her books, I became a fan. I adore her paintings, photographs, and recipes, but I really love her zest for life. She has a positive outlook and finds the beauty around her. Even when seasick, she remembers her ancestors who sailed in much less comfort and raises her teacup in awe of their bravery.

So what's A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside all about and what does it have to do with Weekend Cooking? Well, the book is an illustrated diary of the author's two-month trip to England in 2012--and it contains a descriptions of meals and even a few recipes!

Although Branch and her sweet Joe had been to England before, they always dreamed of returning. Once their second trip was booked, the couple decided to keep a diary of their experiences; A Fine Romance tells the story of that incredible journey.

The pair left New York aboard the Queen Mary 2 on May 3, 2012, arriving in England about a week later. From Portsmouth to Kent to the Lake District and back, Branch used words, paintings, and photographs to record everything they saw and did, including much of what they ate, over the next two months.

copyright Susan BranchWhat kinds of things does Branch share with us? Pubs, history, birds, walks, castles, cottages, people, and gardens. I laughed at her descriptions of getting used to driving on the "wrong" side of the road and car (I can tell you from personal experience it's not easy), and I was fascinated with the information about the historic sites they visited. I was glad to see that Branch included several pages about British authors (Kipling, Austen, and Potter, for example) whose homes they toured.

Her own observations are supplemented by charming literary quotes, sweet paintings, and beautiful photos. We even get a few recipes, from an upscale grilled cheese to simple lemon butter cookies. Take a look at the scan (click to enlarge it), to get an idea of her style and how fun this book is to read. I couldn't decide what pages to share because each one is interesting and visually pleasing. In the end, I just opened the book to a random spread and went with that.

Susan Branch's A Fine Romance will appeal to Anglophiles, artists, travelers, gardeners, and cooks. There are hours of enjoyable reading between the covers.

Giveaway. I was fortunate enough to meet Susan Branch at BookExpo America this past June, and she kindly signed a copy of her book for me. She was thrilled to learn that I was planning on offering that book to one of you. This giveaway is open internationally, so don't be shy. You'll get lost in A Fine Romance and start to dream of your own magical trip to the English countryside.

All you have to do to be entered for a chance to win is fill out the form. I'll pick a winner via random number generator on October 6. Once I've verified the winner, I'll erase all personal information from my computer. Good luck!


Tina 9/27/14, 6:43 AM  

That sounds like an amazing book. You're right, it has something for everyone if you are an Anglophile
Or cook or gardener. Love the illustrations you posted.

Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 9/27/14, 7:32 AM  

Upscale grilled cheese sounds good to me! Those were all the rage in NYC a few years ago and it's a delicious trend!

Mason Canyon 9/27/14, 7:49 AM  

Sounds like an intriguing book you could easily get lost in.

JoAnn 9/27/14, 9:00 AM  

I love Susan Branch's books! This one looks a little different, but every bit as wonderful.

Katherine P 9/27/14, 9:15 AM  

I have never heard of Susan Branch but from the looks of it I definitely need to fix that! That book looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing!

bermudaonion 9/27/14, 9:16 AM  

Lucky you getting to meet Susan Branch! Thanks for this great giveaway!

(Diane) bookchickdi 9/27/14, 9:26 AM  

Oh, how could I have missed this at BEA? What a lovely book.

rhapsodyinbooks 9/27/14, 9:31 AM  

She creates such beautiful books!

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity 9/27/14, 10:01 AM  

I wasn't so sure when I first saw the title of the book but I LOVE the idea of journaling a trip with pictures and paintings and the such. Something that I long to do during my own trips...but sleep usually wins. ;) Sounds like a fabulous little book.

Esme 9/27/14, 10:11 AM  

I always admire an author who can illustrate a book like this. I think these books are so adorable.

It reminds me of Le Road Trip by Vivian Swift.

Esme 9/27/14, 10:12 AM  

I always admire an author who can illustrate a book. This reminds of Road Trip by Vivian Swift.

Debbie 9/27/14, 10:15 AM  

I love Susan Branch!
I have a couple of her cookbooks.

Jackie McGuinness 9/27/14, 10:27 AM  

As a true Anglophile I am adding this to my TBR list!

Beth S. 9/27/14, 10:29 AM  

What a lovely book! Thanks for sharing!

Carole 9/27/14, 2:45 PM  

Thanks so much for opening this up to international folks llike me. This looks like a fabulous book. Cheers

Create With Joy 9/27/14, 3:55 PM  

Thanks for hosting and for offering that fabulous giveaway. I'm a long-time Susan Branch fan and appreciate the opportunity to win this fabulous book!

Vicki 9/27/14, 4:26 PM  

I'm sad to say I don't think I've ever heard of Susan Branch.

The book looks so interesting!

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 9/28/14, 7:22 AM  

I think her books are like visiting a good friend, they invite comfort. I have several myself. Thanks for hosting!

Les 9/28/14, 9:30 AM  

This sounds like a winner! I have a few of her cookbooks and several of her small seasonal books. She has such a great outlook on life!

carin 10/1/14, 9:37 AM  

Thank you for this! And for the introduction to Susan Branch. Win or no win, I'm thrilled to have discovered this... Cheers!

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