The Runaway Bridesmaid
Rosie Hamilton Character profile
Have you ever wanted to run away from a situation and never look back? I’m sure most of us have been in that situation when the flight or fight instinct kicks in. But would you run away from your sister’s wedding - when you are holding the bridesmaid’s posy?
Well, that’s exactly what Rosie Hamilton does. A fancy wedding in Connecticut which she has single-handedly arranged for her beloved, but spoilt little sister, the fabulous, floaty dresses, the elegant flowers and the spectacular catering - she leaves it all behind. After finding Freya in the linen closet with her wedding date, she slings her bouquet out of the window and storms away in her hired red roadster. Enough was enough!
And whilst Rosie adores the vibrant buzz of Manhattan, its vertiginous glass buildings, its quirky, cosmopolitan residents and its awestruck tourists, she needs to get away from the overwhelming sense of loneliness that had infused her bones. So she ditches her Louboutins for Wellies and flies off to London - well, Devon to be precise - where she holes up in her late Aunt Bernice’s thatched cottage hoping that her heartache seeps away.
Rosie doesn’t know what to do with herself in the tiny hamlet of Brampton where there’s only the village shop and the village fête for entertainment. She’s uncomfortable with the invasion of privacy masquerading as community spirit and yearns to return to her old life of social indifference. But then she discovers her Aunt’s hand-illustrated recipe journal entitled ‘Bake Yourself Better’. Not only is the diary crammed with beautiful drawings of flowers and herbs from her Devonshire garden, it is also contains recipes to ‘bake yourself better’.
She decides to take her aunt’s advice. The first recipe Rosie tries just has to be …‘Strawberry Tarts for Broken Hearts’ where her aunt has recorded:
‘Strawberries are often referred to as the fruit of love. When the strawberries in this recipe are sliced as directed they appear heart-shaped, bursting with sweetness and zinging with a luscious rich red, the colour of love and passion. They are nutrient-rich and packed with healthy antioxidants, especially if grown in your own garden! Some believe they possess healing qualities and can alleviate melancholy. And if that isn’t enough to tempt you, darling Rosie, the strawberry plant is part of the rose family.’
And she sets to - to bake, bake, bake until she’s liberally doused in flour and sugar and exhausted from her culinary exploits.
There are many other recipes from her Aunt Bernice’s Bake Yourself Better journal to try out on a wet April afternoon - ‘Fig Delights for Passion-filled Nights’ and ‘Sweet Basil Biscuits for New Love Interests’ - all of which Rosie bakes - with varying degrees of success.
But will Rosie find the solace she craves? Or the love and happiness her aunt has urged her to find?
All will be revealed in The Runaway Bridesmaid!
Here is a taster for your lovely blog readers:
‘Sweet Basil Biscuits for New Love Interests
One of the meanings of the herb basil is love and I know we can all do with an extra sprinkle of that in our lives! It is written in some folklore that a young man who accepts sweet basil from a woman will fall in love with her. I love that story so I had to include this recipe for you, Rosie, especially as I have grown basil in my garden since I bought the Lodge. Be careful who you select as a sampler, darling! We wouldn’t want to tempt the fates, would we?
150g butter, softened
75g caster sugar
75g ground almonds
150g plain flour, sieved
Large bunch of basil
Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy. Add the ground almonds and mix. Fold in the flour and knead gently. Wash the basil and dry with a paper towel. Remove stalks and chop. Roll the basil into the mixture until it resembles a speckled green sausage 8-10 cm in diameter. Wrap in cling-film and refrigerate for ten minutes whilst you clear up. Cut into biscuits approx. 1 cm think and place on a greased baking tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden (gas mark 6, 200˚C). Cool on a wire rack.’
I’d love to hear from readers who’ve tried out any of the recipes in The Runaway Bridesmaid - either via Facebook or Twitter or Instagram - and photos would be a bonus!!!
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Thanks ever so much for having me.
Happy Reading Everyone.