Letters to the Lost

Letters to the Lost. 1943, in the ruins of Blitzed London… Release Da...

new SLC hamper graphic text

last-letter-home-9781471156946_hrFollowing the huge success of The House on Bellevue Gardens, Rachel Hore is back with her brand new novel, LAST LETTER HOME, which we are thrilled to share the beautiful cover for.

Writing what she writes best – rich, exotic and compelling tales of love and family secrets –­ Last Letter Home may just be Rachel’s strongest novel yet. And, as told by Tracy Rees, is ‘A gorgeous read. Packed full of fascinating historical detail, romance and intrigue.’

ITALY, 2016: On holiday with friends, historian Briony Wood becomes fascinated by the wartime story of a ruined villa in the hills behind Naples. There is a family connection: her grandfather was a British soldier during the Italian campaign of 1943 in that very area. Handed a tattered bundle of letters found in the villa, Briony sets off to trace the fate of their sender, Sarah Bailey.

NORFOLK, 1938: Mourning the sudden death of her father, Sarah Bailey returns from India with her mother and younger sister to take up residence in the Norfolk village of Westbury. There she forms a firm friendship with Paul Hartmann, a young German who has found sanctuary working as a gardener at the local manor house. But when their bond deepens, the outbreak of war threatens to tear them apart . . .

This sweeping story of love, loss and war spanning seventy years, from the bestselling author of A Week in Paris, publishes in hardback and eBook in March. Available to pre-order NOW!


I know there are a lot of Catherine Bennetto fans out there desperately awaiting news of her second novel, so without further ado, I am thrilled to share the fantastic cover for MAKE or BREAK.

mock up4 (2)We loved How Not to Fall in Love, Actually for the humour: ‘RomCom at its very best’ said the Sun. And with Make or Break Catherine has somehow managed to come back even stronger.

Jess, a 29-year-old Londoner with a Kate Beckett fringe and a tendency for dramatics, gets taken on a surprise trip by her long-term boyfriend, Pete, to attend her best friend’s last minute wedding in South Africa. Jess imagines sun, sand, wine and safaris and returning to London with an ethically mined diamond on her left hand…

But this holiday isn’t set to be quite the fairy tale Jess has planned… and suddenly she finds her world tilting on its axis. And things are only set to get worse when Jess returns home…

Catherine Bennetto is back with her trademark wit and an equally hilarious cast of characters who will have you rooting for them from the very first page. This novel really moved me and we see a lot more emotion as Jess deals with a life-changing crisis. You won’t be able to put this book down!

I know for a fact that you will all enjoy this brilliant novel, which we publish in eBook in March and paperback  in July. It is an emotional roller-coaster that will have you laughing-out-loud and sobbing as dramatically as our leading lady, Jess! AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER NOW!


Culture-Bite-logo-straplineThank you to everyone who came, our authors Dani AtkinsHeidi SwainHolly HepburnJuliet Ashton and Penny Parkes and to Lara and Sam from Hillingdon Libraries for arranging our fabulous #GirlsOnTour afternoon tea on Saturday at Haste Hill Golf Club, we had a wonderful time!



Thank you to our friends at Grosvenor House Hotel who kindly audio recorded the Jackie Collins Literati event on 8th September 2015 – Jackie’s last public appearance.  Do have a listen.  As you would imagine, she was warm, wise and witty.  Everyone here at Books and the City is devastated by her loss. We will miss her every day.

RoNAs news!

We were SO excited to report that not one, but two of our fabulous authors were shortlisted on the 2017 Romantic Novel of the Year Awards (RoNAs), sponsored by those wonderful folk over at Goldsboro Books.

At a glittering ceremony in the Gladstone Library, One Whitehall Place, London SW1 on 13th March all the category winners, and the overall award – the prestigious Goldsboro Books Romantic Novel of the Year Award – were presented by Prue Leith.  It was only last year that our very own Iona Grey won the overall award, with her beautiful novel – Letters to the Lost, and Milly Johnson won the Romantic Comedy Category with Afternoon Tea at the Sunflower Cafe – so we were crossing our fingers and toes for another wonderful night!

The awards comprised seven categories – Contemporary Romantic Novel, Epic Romantic Novel, Historical Romantic Novel, Paranormal or Speculative Romantic Novel, Romantic Comedy Novel, the RoNA Rose Award (for shorter and category romance), and Young Adult Romantic Novel – with a range of authors shortlisted for each one.

The Contemporary Romantic Novel category was for mainstream romantic novels set post-1960 and includes genres such as chick lit and romantic suspense.

The Epic Romantic Novel category contains serious issues or themes, including gritty, multi-generational stories.

The Historical Romantic Novel category is for novels set in a period before 1960.

The Paranormal or Speculative Romance Novel category was for romantic novels that include elements beyond the range of scientific explanation, whether paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, time slip or worlds that include ghosts, vampires or creatures of legend.

The Romantic Comedy Novel was for consistently humorous or amusing novels and included our very own Penny Parkes.

The RoNA Rose Award recognised the best in category/series and shorter romance that focus on developing a love affair between the hero and heroine.

The Young Adult Romantic Novel featured protagonists who are teenagers or young adults, including our very own Paige Toon.
And we are delighted to announce that Penny Parkes triumphed in her category, winning the Romantic Comedy Novel for Out of Practice!

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On Saturday evening, 17th September 2016, Santa MontefiorePenny ParkesJane Costello and Juliet Ashton were joined by Isabelle Broom from Heat magazine for a very special Books and the City: Girls on Tour event at Chiswick Book Festival, and a wonderful time was had by all!!

With a glass of fizz to keep us going, our panel covered all manner of cracking questions such as ‘What does it take to be a modern woman?’, ‘Which women inspire you?’, most iconic female literary heroines, best things about being a writer,  ’What’s the best thing about being a modern women?’,  writing inspirations and even some nuggets of advice for aspiring writers, the event was frank, fun and fabulous!

Thank you so much to the team at Chiswick Book Festival, and especially Jo James for looking after us so well – we had a brilliant time!



Hillingdon Libraries called it their ‘event of the season’ and we couldn’t agree more!  On 26th May 2016 we toured four of our authors for a very special #GirlsOnTour Literary Afternoon Tea at the beautiful and historic Great Barn in Ruislip, Middlesex – bestselling authors Jane CostelloPaige ToonJuliet Ashton and Dani Atkins were our VIP hosts for the afternoon, and joined our guests for a very indulgent tea provided by local bakery Honey Bees Cakes - with extra fizz on the side!

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Last night, @TeamBATC uber’d it’s way down Whitehall way to take our seats at (lucky?) table number 14 at the Gladstone Library, One Whitehall Place, to attend  the star-studded annual #RoNAs (Romantic Novelists’ Association Awards) now sponsored by those fabulous chaps over at Goldsboro Books.

Imagine if you will, a beautiful library, steeped in history and packed to the rafters with 200 odd guests, nominated authors, members of the RNA, publishing bods and agents, sequined up to the eyeballs in their best gowns, with all the glamour and fizzing excitement of the Oscars, but with far less ego and Botox.

We were delighted to have the beautiful Isabelle Broom from Heat magazine as our guest, together with bestselling author Milly Johnson and debut author Iona Grey - each shortlisted for an award.

After a round of delicious nibbly savoury delights, pink fizz and pink cupcakes (natch), the event kicked off…

Oh my.  Let me tell you, I was giddy with anticipation – so god alone knows how all the nominated authors managed to keep a lid on it. I’d be running around screaming with a goat on my head.

In amongst the brilliant compering by Jane Wenham-Jones and guest presenting by the hilarious Fern Britton, the fizz fizzed, the laughter rang out loud and proud, and the warmth radiating from the room could have powered a small village for a week.  Let me tell you, the RNA is a very special Association and long may it continue.

Anyho. To cut a long story short, we were triumphant. Not only did Milly and Iona both win their category awards, for Romantic Comedy and Historical respectfully, but Letters to the Lost triumphed to win The Goldsboro Books Romantic Novel of the Year.  I KNOW!  Cue tears, hugging, tweeting a–go–go, proud mother moments for Editor of both novels, Queen of the Red Pen of Doom (and Delight!), Clare Hey and a giddy round of cheers!

Team BATC are incredibly proud and honoured to be the publishers of such a diverse and wonderful group of excellent authors, and whilst it goes without saying we love ALL our authors in equal measure, sometimes hearing a room full of less invested ladies whoop and cheer for our girls really does make the heart sing.  It really really does….

Here are a handful of my favourite snaps of the night….

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On 30th and 31st October 2015, Clare Hey and I were delighted to bring 3 cracking events to the Hillingdon Library CultureBite Festival.

First up, on Friday night, we had an evening with Jane CostelloAndy Jones and Paige Toon, at Winston Churchill Theatre…

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Saturday lunchtime, we were delighted to be joined by Sandra HowardMilly Johnson and Iona Grey at The Great Barn for Afternoon Tea…

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And then on Saturday evening, we held a fabulous How To Write A Novel And Get It Published event at Uxbridge Library with bestselling authors Rachel Hore and Susan Elliot Wright in conversation  with  Clare Hey, Fiction Editorial Director here at Books and the City HQ….

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Thank you so much to all our authors, the team at Hillingdon Library for looking after us so well, especially Sam, Lara and Jo, and the wonderful audiences at each of the events for coming!

Afternoon Tea at the Grosvenor House Hotel with Milly Johnson

In June 2015 we invited a group of readers, bloggers and fans to celebrate the launch of the fabulous Milly Johnson novel - Afternoon Tea at the Sunflower Cafe - at our favourite London hotel, Grosvenor House.

Here are a couple of our favourite snaps from the day.

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Thank you to everyone who came, the lovely team at Grosvenor House Hotel who looked after everyone SO well, and Emma who kindly delayed her holiday to attend!


A fab time was had by all at Waterstones in April 2015, at our first ever Liverpool Girls on Tour event.  As ever our brilliant chair, Clare Hey, grilled the authors following a short reading from each of them from their novels - The Love ShackThe Two of Us and Letters to the Lost, with a Q&A session to top it all off.  Thank you so much to Waterstones for hosting, and Janes dad for filming this great video!

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masterclassOn Saturday 15th November 2014 we held our very first (but hopefully not our last!) Creative Writing Masterclass here at Books and the City HQ, aimed specifically at writers of commercial women’s fiction.  The day was split into two, with morning one-to-one sessions with editors Jo Dickinson and Clare Hey and afternoon panels for a wider audience with uber literary agent Lizzy Kremer, bestselling author Milly JohnsonPeter Saxton (Publisher Liaison Manager at Waterstones Head Office), Isabelle Broom (Book Reviewer at Heat Magazine) and Lindsey Mooney (Content Lead UK & Ireland  from Kobo).

We all had a fabulous time, our Panel Sessions were brilliant – with some cracking hints, tips and advice from the very best in the business, all topped off with fizz and cake at the end of the day.  Perfect.  Here are just a few of my favourite snaps from the day…






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In October 2014 Grosvenor House Hotel played host to a #Literati event with the one and only Richard Madeley   A wonderful time was had by all, including our fabulous compère for the evening, Hannah Beckerman, The Croydon Massive Reading Group, Catriona the Fabulous Book Fiend and Sam Everett from Hillingdon Libraries.  Thanks to Lorna, Rosie and the brilliant team at Grosvenor House for looking after us all so well again and be sure to look out for details of more events at our favourite 5* London hotel coming soon…

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In August 2014, we hosted a fabulous Girls on Tour event at our favourite 5* hotel bar – Red Bar – at Grosvenor House Hotel with bestselling authors Ali HarrisJane Costello and Paige Toon.  It was a brilliant night with lots of chat, fizz, cocktails, cupcakes, doughnuts and an awesome goody bag for everyone that attended.  We were also lucky enough to have our friends from Benefit Cosmetics on hand to give complimentary ’make-uppers’ to all guests and the wonderful Hannah Beckerman as our compère for the evening!  We are hoping to go back to Red Bar for another #Glitterati event in 2016, so will let you know as soon as we can!


In June 2014 Girls on Tour visited Waterstones in Birmingham for a fabulous evening of book chat, cupcakes and pink fizz with Ali Harris, Milly Johnson and Paige Toon.  A wonderful time was had by all, so many thanks to everyone who came, our marvellous authors and the team at Waterstones for looking after us so well.  We look forward to announcing the date of the next event soon, so keep an eye out for details!

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In June 2014 we hosted a very special Afternoon Tea at BB Bakery in Covent Garden to celebrate the partnership between Melissa Hill’s paperback edition of A Gift To Remember and Bourjois.  The cakes were delicious, the pink fizz flowed, we talked about books and make-up all afternoon and our guests left with an exclusive goody bag!

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GET READY FOR #DigitalOriginals #ONEDAY – 15th July 2016
2016/06/15  |  Features  |  Comments are off

What do Andy Jones, Heidi Swain, Holly Hepburn, Juliet Ashton and Penny Parkes have in common.  All lovely people?  Natch.  All smart?  Totes.  And funny?  Yes, YES.  All writers?  Absolutely.  All five publishing/published under our #DigitalOriginals programme? BOOM! So here’s the news… for the third year running (on 15th July), we are throwing away, ripping up, laughing …