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6 January 2010


Thought for the Day
Writing is no trouble: you just jot down ideas
as they occur to you. The jotting is simplicity
 itself - it is the occurring which is difficult."
  ~ Stephen Leacock

Where do you find your inspiration from? My thoughts turned this morning to one of the most troubled part of a writers life. Coming up with the ideas in the first place. I know many of my fellow writers struggle and for some of us it takes an age to come up with something that seems to be 'original'. But of course there are very few original ideas left. But there are original ways to tell them and to share them with your readers. So next time you are stuck for an idea, think of one that's already been done. Then turn it on its head, turn it inside out, ask 'what if' and chuck it in a bag and shake it all about. What appears on the paper could just be something worth publishing.

Book Review

The French Gardener by Santa Montefiore

When I first started reading this I almost put it down again. I just thought it was going to be one of those light chick lit books with cardboard characters and unbelievable lives. But I'm glad I continued reading. The French Gardener is actually quite a delightful read and I have to admit, I wiped a wee tear away at the end. 

The French Gardener is about the lives of two women who are miles apart in terms of time of life but who are connected by one house, it's gardens and a French man. 
Miranda Claybourne is a modern wife who has moved to the countryside to Hartington House. She has left her bright city life behind her with great reluctance and feels she will never fit in to the countryside and country folk. Miranda is a writer who dreams of being a novelist but can never find the inspiration. In fact when we first meet Miranda she comes across as a spoilt and immature woman of two children who quite frankly deserve better. David her husband is the City banker playing at Lord of the Manor and who begins to play away and nearly loses it all. 

Things start to change in Mirandas life when she discovers a run down cottage in the grounds of the house. Here she discovers a scrapbook which had been compiled by the previous owner Ava Lightly and tell of her secret love affair with a mysterious gardener. When Jean Paul turns up on her doorstep, Miranda struggles with her feelings for this handsome mysterious Frenchman and immediately takes him on to help her restore the neglected gardens. As Jean Paul weaves his magic he not only reels in Miranda, but her two children and most of the women in the village. But there is a sadness about Jean Paul that Miranda cannot describe. She starts to find her writing muse as she starts to read the tale told through beautiful prose and the garden, the legacy left by Ada.

Miranda realises what things are important to her just as her husband David is risking their relationship for a quick and dirty fling with her 'best' friend. And then she realised who her French gardener actually is and that he has not only returned to restore the garden. The garden he first shared with Ava nearly thirty years previously. And that Ava has kept a secret from him. So does Miranda tell all or not? Well I advise you to read the tale, it is told with humour, compassion and a hint of derision for the lives of some probably on the guest list of the author. I loved it. And with regard to my first post today about ideas, I wouldn't be surprised if this story originally started out with a real Lady and her gardener and given a bit of a shake.

Don't Think Just Write

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