Staying in with Claire Huston

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Now, usually I say how delighted I am to stay in with my guests here on Linda’s Book Bag. This time, as I welcome lovely Claire Huston, I’m especially pleased because, not only do I know Claire in real life, I know she’ll have brought something wonderful to eat with her!

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to participate in this blog tour and I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing Rachel a full recovery from Covid 19 as soon as possible.

Staying in with Claire Huston

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Claire. It seems ages since we were together in real life.

Thank you for inviting me to stay in. I’m delighted to be here!

Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it? 

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I’ve brought my debut novel, Art and Soul. It’s been quite a long journey to publication, and I’m thrilled to finally be sharing it with the world.

Huge congratulations on Art and Soul Claire. What can we expect from an evening in with the book?

Art and Soul is an uplifting contemporary romance. It features a resourceful heroine, an initially grumpy but eventually rather dashing hero, and a fair bit of cake for good measure!

I KNEW there would be cake. I’m delighted that there is too!

The romance is a slow burn, but those have always been my favourite stories: it’s fun to see how two people who we can see are meant for each other gradually come to realise the same thing.

Oh, I couldn’t agree more Claire.

For those who love a wedding, there are a few of those too as the heroine – Becky Watson – works behind the scenes to keep her clients’ celebrations disaster-free.

Becky’s best friend – Ronnie – owns a cake shop. So the book gives you a chance to join the characters in enjoying a generous slice of perfect sponge or a delicious chocolate brownie.

And art lovers can enjoy a quick jaunt to London and The National Gallery as well as to the local galleries in the Comptons, the story’s fictional setting.

What could be better than to travel to such places vicariously whilst we can’t go in real life?

What else have you brought along and why (and please let it be cake)? 

I’m a keen amateur baker and, as cake features regularly in Art and Soul and on my blog, it seemed rude not to bring some with me!

It most certainly would have been. What have you brought?

Old school sponge cake with white icing and multicoloured sprinkes

The first is simple old school sponge cake with white icing and rainbow sugar sprinkles. This cake is the favourite of the hero in the book and eventually becomes an important plot point. It is a classic and an enduring favourite.

That is so tempting Claire. I can imagine it warm with custard too!

Cappuccino swirl layer cake with caramel buttercream

The second is a cappuccino swirl layer cake. I chose this one as I baked it quite recently and managed to surprise myself with how well it turned out! It’s absolutely delicious, and I say that as someone who doesn’t drink coffee. I recommend it to everyone.

I don’t drink coffee either but I think I might like a slice or two of this!

My website has a page here dedicated to the recipes for the cakes featured in Art and Soul if anyone would like to bake one themselves. There are also over a hundred other recipes on my website if you’d rather make brownies, blondies or biscuits.

Oh, I know all about those recipes Claire. You usually share one just when I’m doing a fast day and it’s torture. If Art and Soul is half as good as the baking you do, we readers are in for a real treat. Thanks so much for staying in with me to tell me all about it.

Thank you for having me to stay.

Art and Soul

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A heart-warming, uplifting romance served with a generous slice of cake. Perfect for fans of Jill Mansell, Katie Fforde and Cathy Kelly.

There’s no problem Becky Watson can’t fix. Except her own love life…

Struggling single mother Becky Watson longs to revive her career as a life-fixer, working miracles to solve her clients’ problems, no matter how big or small. Since the birth of her two-year-old son she has been stuck preventing wedding fiascos for the richest and rudest residents of the Comptons, a charming, leafy area of southern England known for its artistic heritage.

So when semi-reclusive local artist Charlie Handren reluctantly hires Becky to fix his six-year creative slump, she’s delighted to set him up with a come-back exhibition and Rachel Stone, the woman of his dreams.

Though they get off to a rocky start, Becky and Charlie soon become close. But as the beautiful Rachel becomes Charlie’s muse, Becky is forced to wonder: will giving Charlie everything he wants mean giving up her own happily ever after?

Art and Soul was published on 23rd April 2020 and is available for purchase here.

About Claire Huston

Claire Huston author photo 2020

Claire Huston lives in Warwickshire with her husband and two children. Art and Soul is her first novel.

A keen amateur baker, she enjoys making cakes, biscuits and brownies almost as much as eating them. You can find recipes for all the cakes mentioned in Art and Soul on Claire’s website, along with over 100 other recipes. This is also where she talks about and reviews books.

For more information, visit Claire’s website. You can follow her on Twitter @ClaraVal, and find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Goodreads.

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