ShortBookandScribes #BlogTour #Extract and #Audio Sample from A Springtime to Remember by Lucy Coleman @BoldwoodBooks
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A Springtime to Remember by Lucy Coleman. I have a written extract and an audio extract to share with you today so double the joy. My thanks to Megan from Boldwood Books for asking me to be a part of the tour.
Let Lucy Coleman transport you to glorious, sun-drenched France, for the perfect feel-good read.Paris and the Palace of Versailles have always meant a lot to TV producer Lexie. Her grandma Viv spent a year there, but her adventures and memories were never discussed, and Lexie has long wondered why they were a family secret.
When work presents the perfect excuse to spend Springtime in Versailles, Lexie delves into Viv’s old diaries and scrapbooks, and with the help of handsome interpreter Ronan, she is soon learning more about the characters that tend to the magnificent gardens, now and in the past.
In amongst the beauty and splendour of the French countryside, a story of lost love, rivalry and tragedy unfolds. Can Lexie and Ronan right the wrongs of the past, and will France play its tricks on them both before Lexie has to go home? Will this truly be a Springtime to Remember…?
Let Lucy Coleman sweep you away with this perfect feel-good love story. Perfect for fans of Holly Martin, Sue Moorcroft and Heidi Swain.
First up is the audio extract which is from the beginning of the book.
And now for the written extract which is from a bit further through the story.
We cross the lightly gravelled area, walking along, adjacent to the rear of the main palace building.
‘The extensive renovation programme in recent years has brought the building back to its former glory.’ She slows to a halt a short distance away to stand and admire the rear façade.
At ground and first-floor levels it comprises a long row of double French doors set within beautiful stone arches that seems to stretch out forever. Room, after room, after room.
‘There are seven hundred rooms, in excess of two thousand windows and sixty-seven staircases,’ she confirms.
At first-floor level it’s slightly set back to accommodate a stonework balcony, only broken by blocks of staunch pilasters, which are rectangular projections. Above each of these is a wide plinth displaying a series of marble statues depicting Roman deities and emperors. Some are netted, undergoing renovation work still, and even from this level it’s clear to see how damaging exposure to the elements has been over time. It serves only to make the condition of the building even more astonishing and a credit to the army of people who work tirelessly to preserve it.
Yet another floor houses a series of smaller rooms with matching windows in line with the full-length French doors below. These smaller rooms would be the quarters for the retinues and attendants accompanying the courtiers. I step back a few paces, tilting my head to get a glimpse of the roofline. In perfect symmetry to the low stonework of the first-floor balcony, slender stone urns are evenly spaced between clusters of statues that, once again, seem to mirror the outline of a King’s bejewelled crown. In between, carved stone trophies are interspersed with slender flame pots to accentuate the elegant profile.
Feeling a little embarrassed when I realise that Solange and Elliot are now a few paces away and patiently waiting for me to catch up with them, I pull myself together.
‘Sorry. It’s beyond amazing. I’ve dreamt about coming here for so many years and now I’m here…’ I tail off, rather pathetically.
‘Lexie’s grandma, Viv, was a horticultural student and spent some time here in the sixties,’ Elliot explains.
‘How wonderful! It is a real connection for you, then, Lexie. That was before l’École Nationale Supérieure de Paysage was set up in 1976, so one of the early programmes, no doubt. Sadly, that is not my area of expertise, though. I note that you will be using the services of Ronan O’Byrne when you are filming. He is very knowledgeable about the history of the gardeners who have worked here since the early 1900s.’
I nod. ‘Yes. He said he knew a few people here.’
She raises an eyebrow. ‘Indeed. He has worked on a number of projects, even in the time I’ve been around. Ronan will, I’m sure, know if any of the gardeners working here during that period are still alive. He has researched and written two books about different periods in the history of the gardens and the park, and is currently bringing it up to the present day in his latest book.’
‘I wasn’t aware of that. How fascinating. I suspect that once people come to Versailles, if they are captured by its spell, they find a reason to stay,’ I muse, speaking more to myself than to Solange. But that wasn’t true for my grandma and again I wonder why, because I know she would have been captivated by this.
To her dying day her windowsills were full of seedlings and cuttings; her garden was a joy to behold. As children we all spent time with her, weeding and planting, but I more so than my siblings. She said that communing with nature was good for one’s soul.
I sigh. Being here must have been such a wonderful time for her and, now I’m here too, I feel a great sadness washing over me. I would have dearly loved to have heard her thoughts and learnt what she did on a daily basis. It would have been her dream; of that I have no doubt at all.