Party Party Party Party Party Party Party MUSICA

We go from party to another around here, from Tea Party to Birthday Party! Lots of our girlfriends are having a birthday month, lots of new babies are being born, but you may have noticed on your calendars, it’s also someone else’s birthday on Sunday, and she would be 147 years old. 

H A P P Y    B I R T H D A Y

So what makes sense for today’s blog is cake and presents!  Right?  First we’ll have cake, and then we’ll have presents.  OK?  That’s the normal way for a Birthday Party! And never forget, we are the normal ones! 

L A V E N D E R    P O L E N T A    C A K E

This Lavender Polenta Cake is a plain cake alright ~ really easy to make, deliciously moist with an amazing crunch, plus, it’s gluten free — but the recipe, which I got from my girlfriend Siobhan (“Shivon”) when we were in England, calls for ingredients that aren’t “everyday” fare.  Don’t let that stop you, because if you’re like me, and something tells me you are, this cake will become a standby.  The recipe calls for fine yellow cornmeal (or polenta flour) and almond flour.  Our supermarket carries them, but I’m pretty sure that won’t be true everywhere.  You can order them from the lovely Bob’s Red Mill web site.  If you’re not familiar with Bob’s Red Mill, you are in for a treat.  They also have everything you need to cook for a gluten free diet.

The recipe also calls for superfine sugar, which my market does not carry.  But I made my own, I just whirled regular sugar in the blender until it was superfine. Super easy!

No problem coming up with a pound of unsalted butter, allowed to come to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until it’s . . .

. . . pale and light.

Then stir in the almond flour . . .

. . . and vanilla.

Beat in six eggs, one at a time (Don’t worry, I’m putting the recipe at the end of this as a party favor! )

I’ve made this cake with orange zest and juice, lemon zest and juice, and this time, with lime zest and juice.  All are truly wonderful, it’s up to you.  And btw, if you haven’t used one of these wonderful microplane zesters yet, we have them for you in our webstore, because they are a must-have tool!  No more knuckles in your food!  You pull the razor-sharp edges across the fruit, the zest collects on the top with no pain or strain at all . . . it makes it so easy to measure too.

So you fold in the zest and juice . . .

along with the polenta (cornmeal) flour, salt and baking flour … just pop it all in,

along with dried culinary lavender flowers (just click there to get them on-line).  The recipe calls for three tablespoons — and this is correct.  Don’t worry, it will not taste like soap, just so very light, and pretty in the cake.

This cake serves a lot of people ~ twenty four!  It’s perfect for a party, but you can also halve the recipe very easily and bake it in a 9″ cake pan. I wanted the big cake for our Tea Party but I don’t have the called-for 12″ cake pan, so I bake mine in this 12″ iron frying pan, which works perfectly.

Into the oven it goes until the house is filled with fragrance and the cake is brown.  Let it a cool a while, flip it over onto a serving plate and it comes right out of the pan.

And this is it, close up.  Delectable!  Also addictive.  Here’s the recipe as it will appear in our new book!

It’s your party favor, but there’s more.

And I have some heartstrings for you.  Starting with our Royal Baby Gift Giveaway.

 Vanna left for the beach hours ago, but she didn’t forget to draw a name before she hopped into her yellow convertible 1959 T-bird and sped off, sunshine glinting off blonde curls blowing in the ocean air.  What a life that girl has!

Such a happy thing, a Baby Book, filled with love and hope and firsts for everything.  I’ve been loving the stories from our Girlfriends of babies coming, of new grandchildren on the way. I did not envy Vanna’s position of choosing just one winner.  I did ask her to try hard to get me someone who’s expecting a baby into their family.  And she did that.  Oh yes, she did that.

 I’m thrilled to announce that the winner of this trio of gifts is a first-time mommy to-be who is decorating her own Peter Rabbit room for her first born child coming in September, a real “birth-day” . . . she’s having her own little Prince, and her name is OLIVIA.  So happy for you dear Olivia, congratulations to you and your whole family!  Let us know when the time is right and we will hold hands on this blog and say a prayer and say, “Pushhhhhh.”  We can be a big help! ♥  (Mas MUSICA)

So now, I have another little gift for you in honor of Beatrix Potter and you don’t even have to pin the tail on the donkey!  If you CLICK HERE, you can print out this name tag on card stock (just put it into your printer like regular paper, the printer will do the rest) . . .

 . . . and then when you come to one of our book signings next month (and as we drive across country) you can wear your name tag and we’ll know we’re Blog Girlfriends ~ I’ll know you, and you’ll know each other!  Fun!  (Kellee is going to put this name tag on our EVENTS page, just in case you forget where it is.) ♥  And if this isn’t quite enough, I have something else for you . . .

. . . I’m thinking maybe a nice parting gift for everyone would be something to read?

Because we got a surprise on Friday . . . at our California studio . . .

Oh yeah girls, your books arrived!  Early!  Boxes and boxes of books,  A FINE ROMANCE ~ Falling in Love with the English Countryside! is born. What a cute baby!  Sweet smelling with ribbons and everything!  (I’m secretly screaming inside, how about you?  Did I surprise you?  They surprised me! :-))  The first page you have to read is Page 9 where I mention you.

And now these two darling girls, Kellee on the left, and Sheri on the right, with lots of help from our wonderful Alfredo, our right-hand man (on the truck but not looking at the camera), will ship their little fingers to the bone.  The books will leave the studio as they were ordered … the first of you to order will get yours first.  I have no idea how long it will take to get them all into their envelopes with addresses, so please be patient with us, because these two are the hardest workers in the world and will get them out as quickly as humanly possible!!!  Look how strong they look!

So of course, we are celebrating birth-days and dreams come true.  Our Twitter Girlfriend Janie made us a Dream Banner to match the Bon Voyage Banner she gave Joe and me when we went to England (you’ll see it in our book, in the stateroom on board the ship).  She made just a few for anyone who might want to focus on a dream for themselves.  They come with their own little envelope, and they’ll be in the web store on Monday. 

And the last gift today, in honor of Beatrix Potter and Olivia, and all of you with new babies in your lives or hoping for one, or dreaming of one, or remembering what it was like to be one ~ these are the two games we used to play on our babies faces when I was little and the oldest of eight children.  The babies love it.

That’s it Girlfriends, for today, just another day in paradise.  Happy Birthday Beatrix! Congratulations Olivia!  Click teacups! Eat cake!  Happy weekend!  See you soon!  xoxo

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1,488 Responses to PARTY ♥ PARTY ♥ PARTY !

  1. Jamie from Virginia says:

    WELL DONE. BRILLIANT….both said with a distinct british accent…..dear Susan, what else can be said? You have outdone yourself and should be so proud of what you have accomplished with your new book. You single handedly stowed us away to England on a virtual journey, continued sharing the thrill through your blog showing the bits and pieces as you wrote, brought who really knows how many Kindred Spirits together here in this big beautiful world in the clouds and shared your dreams with us so we too may dream. My book arrived Thursday afternoon in Virginia, only two days after shipping. The post office must certainly have known the importance of our priority packages! Susan, the book is truly exquisite, you put so much thought in to the entire book straight down to the paper and binding. The quality of the book is lovely and reminiscent of antique books. My 92 year old mother couldn’t get over the charming ribbon marker. I couldn’t get past the title page with those adorable little sheep! I will be reading it slowly to enjoy the journey again, small bits each day and I will be referring back to the indexes here as I go. I have never seen a book like this anywhere. The richness of the content, the telling of your personal story, the physical quality of the book in our disposable world…your book is quite clearly a labor of love. And I believe you also proved there is such a great need for these qualities in the book world. I know alot of people don’t “get” us girls and guys here…but there are so many out there that do and it is so joyous to hold a book that does not feel mass-marketed. My copy will be treasured and sit among my other treasured books…”Diary of an Edwardian Lady” (gift from my BFF, Kim), Gladys Tabers, Tasha Tudors and my First Edition LMA “Little Women”.

    On a lighter note, I read the “Susan & Joe Love Story” last nite. I love your writing style, it’s just like a letter from my best friend. And I have to say you absolutely crack me up! When you “lost” your belt on the ferry, I laughed so hard I cried because that is EXACTLY something that would happen to me!!! LOL. Allowing us to see that we are really all alike on so many levels is a big part of your magic…..and proves your theory….DREAMS REALLY CAN COME TRUE FOR US ALL.

    • sbranch says:

      It was a labor of love, and that’s no doubt. I loved doing it, I loved having you all along, and now, I love that you’re enjoying it. Who could ask for more. A dream come true. xoxo Thank you Jamie! Kisses to your mom!

    • Stephanie says:

      AMEN – great comments about the book – you took the words out of my mouth!

    • Jen from Sebastopol, Ca says:

      I could not write my thoughts any better than what Jamie explained. This book is a wonderful gift from Susan and loved by all of us.

  2. Heather L. says:

    I just wanted to say thanks again for mentioning my Beatrix Potter post. I had no idea how much all the encouragement from everyone’s comments would mean to me. I’ve been “single parenting” all summer while my husband has been doing further education and maybe I didn’t realize how much it would mean for someone to come alongside and say “well done, keep up the good work”. Thank you for blessing me! (I can’t wait to get your new book. I’m going to love it.)

    • sbranch says:

      You deserve the accolades Heather, you did a wonderful thing for those kids. And it did my heart good to see it too! That should be a curriculum, make history live!

  3. Laurie Walt says:

    Dear Susan-LOVE THIS BOOK!!! May I also say that I love the size of this book! Its so easy to hold on to while reading. Does that sound silly? I can also Tuck it in my purse to take with me:-) I will be reading this book to my hubby on our next road trip. It is just fantastic! You always inspire me Susan:-) Love:-)

    • sbranch says:

      Not silly at all. I thought a lot about that. I wanted it to feel like a diary, and be cozy. Thank you Laurie!

  4. Jan from Northern CA says:

    Hello Susan…..YES!…I got Mine! Headed to the post office….with a “maybe it’s here” thought in my head…..had to mail some packages myself….but thought…Hummm, better check the box first….for that little Yellow Card that says… have a package at the desk!” AND, it was there!… after waiting forever in the line…..mailed my packages and then asked the important question……Do I have a package? I was so excited! The clerk kinda looked at me funny. But, I explained, as I took the package and saw the return address, and gave a hoot…..that it was the BOOK that I’ve been waiting forever to get! And that it was so special. I opened it, but didn’t have any time that day to check it out except for the cover and the feel and the size…..and that was all perfect!! Had to go to Chico with my Mom yesterday…..but did ask at the Barnes and Noble….”When is the new Susan Branch book arriving?” Why the 28th they said. Would you like to have us save a copy? No, I replied…..I already have mine 🙂 …but I want to let my friends know when it’s in so they can have one also. So, after errands and stuff this morning….I’m headed for tea, a can of “B&M Brown Raisin Bread” that I’ve been saving and my big chair in the “Girl Cave”….which is what I call my newly decorated spare room. A Murphy bed that is “up most of the time”… but with a table for puzzles that is “down most of the time” and a bookshelf for my “susan books” amongst others. Flowers on the wallpaper and all the girlie stuff I’ve longed for for years!! I am going to savor every page and every detail. Thank you so much for all the inspiration to “stop and smell the roses!” I am hoping… fly out to New York to see a friend near Watertown. I would like to take 3 days and do a road trip out to your island. I do hope it’s not to much….but I’m going to check it out. I want to see the island you’ve told us so much about. Late Sept should be beautiful. Hopefully the colors will have started to turn. Well, I’m babbling and the your Beautiful Book awaits.
    Jan from Northern CA

    • sbranch says:

      Ohhh Jan, I love your room, your girl cave! Good for you. Love the wallpaper too! New York (Manhattan) is only five hours drive from where you catch the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard. Late September will be glorious… leaves, air, everything perfect! It will fill your creative cup! 🙂 Now excuse me, I have to go make some B & M toast! Thank you! AND for putting in your 2 cents at the Barnes and Noble — that’s the only way most of these bookstores will hear about our book, it’s a huge help! xoxoxo

  5. Jan from Northern CA says:

    Me again Susan….thinking about that trip in late Sept… there a reasonable but FOSB type B&B on the Island? There are so many when you look on the internet….and cozy and FOSB-ish is what we’re looking for. That is so much more important than all the glitz and glamor. If you have a recommendation, that would be so great. 🙂
    Thanks so much.

    • sbranch says:

      Because we live here, we are the wrong people to know about the places to stay — our friends and family stay with us when they come, so we really don’t even have a recommendation. Go to the Chamber of Commerce … they will lead you in the right direction and many of the places have virtual tours and photos so you know what you’re getting into. Hope this helps!

    • Janet [in Rochester] says:

      Jan – highly recommend “” Lots of detailed reviews on hotels, restaurants and attractions. Plus great tips from people who’ve already been there [best times for shortest lines, best service etc].

  6. Bee Stevens says:

    As I read your new book I kept thinking about you writing and water coloring
    so diligently in the early mornings every day for ages and ages, then all the
    decisions, lovely end papers, color of ribbon, cover etc etc. I loved every
    bit of it – I started reading at page 1 and read about 1/2 then the next day
    I finished it. You and Joe are a team, sharing and enjoying life. So nice.
    I hope you will be somewhere near that I could come for a book signing.
    I would vote for a book on Italy next.

  7. Rosemary says:

    Susan, I just read one of your responses that said you have another story to write (your first 6 years on the island). This is WONDERFUL, I can’t wait. Start writing !!

    • sbranch says:

      OK, but first, uh oh, we have to go work on the one we have! 🙂 It’s OK, we’ll have fun!

  8. Minette says:

    What a glorius feeling I have right now. The books that I ordered came yesterday and I have just finished your book—reading and re-reading certain entries,savoring every word and photo, and loving every minute of it! What a truly marvelous book and just so excited to give the extra copies that I ordered to friends. My future daughter-in-law is also a huge admirier of Beatrix Potter and am hoping this book may change her mind of where she and my son will go on their honeymoon! You have captured so much in this one book–it is so much more than a travelog on England-it is about living life and giving back. This book is a real treasure and just brought back so many memories of the first trip that my husaband and I made together to England. The Lake District was our most favorite place and one of our big splurges on our trip was to stay at Sharrow Bay Hotel on Lake Ullswater. We arrived there in the middle of a horrendous gale in late afternoon, visibly shaken by our driving experience on narrow roads in the middle of a storm, and were promptly ushered into the drawing room to sit in plush chairs overlooking an eerily wild but beautiful Lake Ullswater,and served tea. Somehow the English just know that tea in a cozy setting makes everything right with the world! Your entries of your visit to the Lake District brought back so much of those feelings of affintiy and kinship with the land, and your generous sharing of your experiences at the places you visited- Hilltop Farm, Charleston, Sissinghurst and especially your time with Rachel and Siobhan are just so inspiring and endearing. Thank you for such a wonderful book. I cannot wait to read it all over again tomorrow!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Minette … I could just picture your tea in the hotel drawing room. heaven. So I went to the Sharrow Bay Hotel website! How gorgeous!! I’m so in love with the Country Hotels. Every one of them so different, like touring and living in old houses! Thank you so much for sharing it and also for your kind comments on my book. xoxo

  9. Winnie Nielsen says:

    My book came,my book came, and it is WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, what an incredible job you did on every page. After looking through the whole thing, I am now taking my time to carefully read every page and take it all in. Susan, you created the most beautiful, lovely piece of art in a book ever!

    Thank-you, thank-you for all of the hours of work. This book is a true treasure!!

  10. Newsflash: My book came in today’s mail at around 3pm pst. I almost kissed the mail girl. But, I thought better of it just in time… I am halfway through ‘A Fine Romance’ and can’t even finish writing this comment because I need to get back to my new favorite Susan Branch Book. But I thought you should know that “you were right!”. There. I said it. You said it would be and it is. Can’t talk anymore, gotta go….

  11. Karen Saunders says:

    PAAAATHETIC!!! I race to the front gate to get my books the mailman dropped off, straight arm the animals to get out a my way, barely make it to the porch to drop in a chair, no baked goods, no tea, ignore the ice cream truck that goes by….TWICE! and tear open the box and begin to read.. No ceremony, just couldn’t control my actions. You are SUCH a great writer, my mind completely pictured everything you wrote, as if I were there, and I laughed hard in all the appropriate places and loved every word. Great job my friend. Well done.

    • sbranch says:

      LOL Straight-arm the animals! Laughing, you are too funny! xoxo Thank you Karen!

      • Elaine in Toronto says:

        That’s your secret Susan. You write as if we were there! And, of course, we were!

        • sbranch says:

          I wrote it while we were there, it makes such a difference to the realness of it, that I am not forced to rely on memory alone!

    • Terri (in Richmond, VA) says:

      Haha! What a perfect way to read the book! I love it! Pure, no holds excitement.

  12. Carol in NorCal says:

    Your book came today, and even though I am only on page 62, I had to write to say how much I am loving it!!! It’s different from your other books, but has the same charm, creativity, and artistic flair. Can’t wait to get to England, especially Hill Top, but I’m going to savor it straight through with no skipping. Thank you for sharing this trip with us–what a gift!

  13. Arlinda says:

    The Mailman delivered a package to our home today and my daughter and couldn’t open it fast enough after we read the sender’s name.

    We went to our favorite neighborhood soda shop and sat down to read A Fine Romance . My daughter and I asked for our favorite booth, sat down, ordered and began to read every detail beginning with the cover and all that followed. We are in love with the beauty of every page, the voyage you took us on, and it’s author. My daughter kept putting her hands on her heart and sighed as we took turns reading the pages. We decided we are going to read it again before we go to bed tonight and experience A Fine Romance again but this time with long lengthy conversations about our feelings, which we couldn’t do at the restaurant.

    We love everything Susan Branch: including your heart and desire to inspire the best in your friends, your willingness to share a bit of your life’s joys and experiences in hopes that it will bring us comfort, joy, inspiration and love. May God bless you.

    Thank you Susan. The memories you help me create with my children are priceless. I am truly grateful.

    Arlinda XOXO

    • sbranch says:

      XOXO that makes me so happy to hear! My mom and dad did it for me, it meant everything to my life. I know it can provide a person with a lifetime of happiness. Thank you Arlinda … I love thinking about you and your daughter looking at the book together. xoxo

  14. Cheryl says:

    your book arrived in my mailbox yesterday . . . I read the first chapter last nite . . . and today I did NOTHING except read read read . . . I finished it late this afternoon . . . LOVEDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD IT !! . . .

    I hope you write more books just like this one . . . diary style !! . . . it has inspired me to start keeping a diary on the trips my husband and I take from now on . . .

    and now I am going back to page one and start over . . . SLOWLY this time . . .

    thank you so so much for a wonderful story !!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Cheryl! I’m so happy you liked it — I can’t tell you how many times Joe and I refer to travel diaries after we’re home. The question keeps coming up, “Remember that little place near so and so … what was the name of it?” Whip out diary, Boom, we’ve got it!

  15. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan…… the doorbell rang this afternoon and there was Norm, our faithful funny and usually thirsty mailman with…YES!!!…..your/our/my book!!! (really two books as I purchased a second for a gift…). After a cool lemonade and brief chat with Norm…the priority mail box made it inside to my kitchen counter…. I was home alone so I had the perfect opportunity to open the box and savor. Instead of just diving right into the box, I found myself just looking at the unopened package thinking about you, Joe, our girlfriends, the blog and all that has transpired with everyone since this whole adventure began. Through your writing and your wonderful blog we have all shared our stories about births, deaths, parties,children, work, holidays, marriages, travel adventures, anniversaries, birthdays, and celebrated the beautiful changing seasons. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg… you have brought together people…people that care about like things…their families, their friends, their neighbors, their food 🙂 …. and especially, other people…some of whom they have never met. This, my friend, is a wonderful thing…..and now..we all have this special book. Kitchen paring knife in hand, I took great care as I opened the box. There they were, lovingly bundled up in bubble wrap….. I have read only the very first few pages, and although I already knew about how you and Joe met, I loved reading it again. Reading your love story inspired me to remember mine….and to hold onto that memory everyday. Life can certainly get messy and often we are remiss in what is truly important…. thank you for helping all of us to remember. The book is beyond grand…it is a treasure..just like you. love, cindy ( and one very happy husband….) xoxo <3

    • sbranch says:

      So happy to hear that Cindy. I think the same thing about all of “US” kindred spirits, how alike we are sharing the things that really matter in life, and love that it’s not just us, it’s girlfriends from everywhere all parts of the world. Makes me so proud, because even language barriers don’t come between us and the little things that make life sweet. xoxo

    • Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

      Beautifully said, Cindy!! Thanks so much for putting into words exactly how we have been feeling! ♡♡

      • Cindy Maulin says:

        thank you Dawn!!! I love reading all of our comments too. I am originally from Brookfield, IL and then are my “ol’ stomping ground” neighbor!!!

        • Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

          Hi Cindy! Wish we were still neighbors!! It would be such fun to get together for tea! Where do you live now? ♡

    • Ann says:

      Cindy, you said that so well. What a wonderful and special place we have here. Your “Norm” sounds a lot like my “Ivan”. We don’t get the mail until almost 5 because he stops and special delivers mail to the elderly and those he knows are not well. Plus he pets and feeds all the dogs, including my two. Isn’t the book wonderful!

      • Cindy Maulin says:

        thanks Ann…and YES!!!! I love the book too!!!! It’s so fun to know that so many of us are reading it at the same time thanks to Susan!!!

    • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      Thank you for expressing what we all feel here in this place Susan has created. I never KNEW there were so many kindred spirits out there. And we have all become such good friends. I was in the lunch room at work when I read that Sandy’s husband passed away. And I had tears coming down my face and when a coworker asked what was wrong, I said a friend of mine lost her husband.
      We are the FOSB! And a great group of girls! Thanks again Cindy. Well said!

    • JoAnne Daniels says:

      Very well put Cindy! I wish all the girlfriends could get together for a proper tea — wouldn’t it be grand?
      I feel like the hub of a wheel — my close friends and family are the spokes and farther along the rim are “the girlfriends” , kindred spirits I’ve come to appreciate – all working together to keep me from falling apart. I’m sure we would be fast friends if we should meet and Susan is the inspiration and generous spirit that unites us! 3 CHEERS FOR SUSAN BRANCH!
      JoAnne, rural Sussex County, NJ

  16. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    I received the books yesterday.
    Susan, I LOVE the book so much. Just the size and look of the book is perfect, but when I started to read it last night I couldn’t put it down. The artwork, the quotes, the detail of the stories, perfection. I could have finished it but want it to last so will read some every day.
    Congratulations, Susan, you should be so very proud of yourself.
    Thank you for a treasure of a book.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so happy, and what makes me that way is all of these gorgeous comments. Thank you Lisa!

  17. There’s no place like home!!!! My family and I just arrived home from vacation last evening (we saw Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons, and Boulder & Denver, CO) and I had the most wonderful surprise ever! “A Fine Romance,” signed by Susan Branch, was waiting for me in our mailbox! I knew that I had to unpack and do some laundry last night, but did get the chance to page through every single page(and I started with page 9!!) before falling asleep. I cannot wait to take my time and read EVERYTHING today! Thank you so much, Susan, for giving us a part of you. And thank you, Kelee, Sheri, and Alfredo, too! Oh my goodness, you are speedy! I am walking on air this morning!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      What a wonderful trip Sharon! Welcome home! I’ll tell everyone at the studio you said Thank you!

  18. Jamie from Virginia says:

    WELL DONE. BRILLIANT….both said with a distinct british accent…..dear Susan, what else can be said? You have outdone yourself and should be so proud of what you have accomplished with your new book. You single handedly stowed us away to England on a virtual journey, continued sharing the thrill through your blog showing the bits and pieces as you wrote, brought who really knows how many Kindred Spirits together here in this big beautiful world in the clouds and shared your dreams with us so we too may dream. My book arrived Thursday afternoon in Virginia, only two days after shipping. The post office must certainly have known the importance of our priority packages! Susan, the book is truly exquisite, you put so much thought in to the entire book straight down to the paper and binding. The quality of the book is lovely and reminiscent of antique books. My 92 year old mother couldn’t get over the charming ribbon marker. I couldn’t get past the title page with those adorable little sheep! I will be reading it slowly to enjoy the journey again, small bits each day and I will be referring back to the indexes here as I go. I have never seen a book like this anywhere. The richness of the content, the telling of your personal story, the physical quality of the book in our disposable world…your book is quite clearly a labor of love. And I believe you also proved there is such a great need for these qualities in the book world. I know alot of people don’t “get” us girls and guys here…but there are so many out there that do and it is so joyous to hold a book that does not feel mass-marketed. My copy will be treasured and sit among my other treasured books…”Diary of an Edwardian Lady” (gift from my BFF, Kim), Gladys Tabers, Tasha Tudors and my First Edition LMA “Little Women”.

    On a lighter note, I read the “Susan & Joe Love Story” last nite. I love your writing style, it’s just like a letter from my best friend. And I have to say you absolutely crack me up! When you “lost” your belt on the ferry, I laughed so hard I cried because that is EXACTLY something that would happen to me!!! LOL. Allowing us to see that we are really all alike on so many levels is a big part of your magic…..and proves your theory….DREAMS REALLY CAN COME TRUE FOR US ALL.

  19. Susan Joy says:

    My book finally arrived! It brought tears to my eyes. This book is gorgeous! You did such an amazing job. My words can not really express how I feel, I’m kind of speechless……..thank you for making us so happy.

  20. Teresa says:

    I made the Orange Polenta cake this weekend…so lovely. Found both of the “flour” ingredients at my local Whole Foods, but decided to omit the lavender as I was not sure how that would go over with my teen boys and husband. It was so delightful. A wonderful flavor. I did use some organic oranges as the citrus and thought the orange flavor was just right in the cake. I made it in one 9″ pan (halved the recipe as you suggested) and it was perfectly cooked in 40 minutes. Thank you for another great keeper recipe and for all you do for us!!!

  21. Lucy says:

    Good morning, Susan,
    And indeed it is because Friday I received your wonderful book AND I was fortunate enough to get one of the autographed copies. I am on my deck and completely caught up in your writing and feel I am right there with you and Joe on what sounds like a wonderful adventure. Thank you so much for sharing this part of your life. I have been following you since the eighties and have, what I think, a copy of one of your first Willard’s that you would mail from your PO Box. I am so glad I have all your books and this new book was like catching up. Enjoy the rest your summer and regards to Joe, who helped you make this trip happen!
    Be well,

  22. phyllis mullins says:

    Love LOVE LOVE The Book, and I’m only half-way through it! Many of the places you’ve taken me to………my husband and I visited a long time ago. Your comments on driving….we had a manual shift car and that was hairy……John hadn’t thought about shifting with his left hand! not to forget the roundabouts. Whew. I must get on with the chores leaving more of THE BOOK for later today.

  23. I just wanted to follow up on my last comment; we had a baby Grandaughter last Saturday afternoon! Her name is Amaia Arden Provost and we are over the moon! After having two sons, I am so excited to have a Grandaughter! Can’t wait to sew little dresses and knit little sweaters, have tea parties and read, read, read all of the children’s books I can get my hands on!
    And speaking of getting my hands on it, I can’t wait to get my hands on your book and meet you at the Toadstool Bookstore in Milford N.H.!! My husband came home recently to a screaming wife uttering incoherently about someone coming to Milford! Living here in this part of New England, I always have to drive a couple of hours to get to any social or cultural event. When I found out you were coming to a bookstore 20 minutes from my house, I was ECSTATIC!! See you soon!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh good! Close to you. And, congratulations! I LOVE your new granddaughter’s name! Beautiful!

  24. Judy from KC says:

    I am loving your book ! Have you thought of ” Branching out ” ( no pun intended) into
    Romantic comedy film writing . This would be a great movie! I laughed out loud when Joe came back with flowers n champagne and totally broke the lil Bro illusion . Too cute you are
    Miss Susan . I just got book yesterday and can’t put it down.

  25. Jack says:

    In reading this commentary … would seem that your ” book ” is being accepted with
    Over-the-top enthusiasm — you could have a hit on your hands and be spending the rest of
    your life doing book signings — just for this one book ?

  26. julie borg says:

    Dear Susan- It came! It finally came! And I am loving every minute of it! I’m trying to pace myself to make it last longer and not doing a very good job! I have added QE2 crossing to my travel wishlist! And added Ms Potter to my movie watch list. I really loved the first chapter about you and Joe! Thank you for sharing your story with us! Can’t wait for my son and husband to get out of my house so I can curl up and read some more!
    Love, Julie
    PS- I think you should turn your whole love story with Joe into a book! It just made me happy to read!

  27. Janet from Macomb MI. says:

    My book just arrived and I am going camping this whole next week and I don’t plan on leaving my chair at the beach, just reading till I can’t read anymore !!! Thanks Susan for giving us one more thing to be Happy about !!!

  28. KarenP (Wisconsin) says:

    It’s been such fun to read everyone’s comments as they get their books and look forward to the book signings across the country! Are you doing finger strengthening exercises to be prepared for the lines of your adoring girlfriends who will need you to sign their books!? Lol! So wonderful! xo… Karen P.

  29. Our book is in my hot little hands. Swoon, love it really really it’s pure JOY. My husband, Lee, is driving and I am reading all the loveliness. Our love story is very similar to your fine romance. We are savoring each and every bit.

    Thank you for sharing.


    • sbranch says:

      Love stories have that giant wonderful thing in common, such a good subject to discuss, LOVE!

  30. Pat Stansel says:

    After reading your story,The Patriot Boat it was obvious that you truely do
    have a gift for writing.
    So happy to see in A FINE ROMANCE I was so right ! I’m enjoying every iota
    of the book, art work, size , color of the pages & the story —you invite us into
    your life and I’m taken away, magically to place I’ve always wanted to go to.
    You are so REAL that’s why you touch so many HEARTS !

    • sbranch says:

      You are so dear Pat! Thank you…. I think deep primal fear makes probably anyone a good writer! 🙂

  31. Fabienne in CA says:

    Your book arrived with a big surprise yelp from me! Absolutely love the story of how you and Joe met and fell in love. Savoring each word, each photo, each painting, so very lovely, so personal, so like I was there with you both. Thank you for this window into your world, your travels. I will see you in San Luis Obispo in November! My friend and I have planned this trip for months. Madonna Inn is a hoot, just drove by it a week ago from camping trip on coast.
    We are eating at Apple Farm across the street – fabulous, gift shop amazing too. Do you and Joe want to join us! See you in November from two of your CA FOSB’s. I will have devoured A Fine Romance from cover to cover by then.

  32. Laura Clark says:

    I received my most beautiful book in the mail yesterday !!! I felt like I was on the ship with you after only reading a few pages. I laughed out loud startling my cats where you mentioned your mom & her comments after first meeting Joe !
    You did a glorious job and I’m thrilled to own a copy of this fabulous book !

    Thank You Thank You Thank You

  33. Vicki Panzarino says:

    YEAH!!!! IT CAME!!!! Susan, what a thrill…it is perfect…from the end-papers to the last page…you did good girl! Reading about your beginning romance with Joe made me fall in love all over again with my honey thinking of our own beginnings. This is even better than your blog while on the trip because I don’t have to lose those 5 pounds to fit in your suitcase….now a cup of tea and some cookies can be enjoyed as I settle myself down for the trip all over again. What a treat…your words of description really transport the reader. I can feel the excitement on each page! A masterpiece!!!! Take a bow and hear the applause…..can’t wait to meet you in person while we are on our vacation in NH in a couple weeks. All us girlfriends are soooo lucky to have found you!

  34. Carrie says:

    A Fine Romance is beyond my wildest imagination. The heart swells with emotion at the sight of such overwhelming beauty. Your watercolor renderings, photos and prose are exquisitely descriptive, fun, creative, poignant and well, sheer heaven. Joy jumps from the pages into the very depths of my soul where gratitude for such a gift abounds.

    The lush, delicious, quirky eccentricities and aesthetics of a place and people I have loved most of my life is so perfectly captured. The festive and celebratory approach towards daily life in England has always made an impression, so when you speak of your dear Siobhan and her inspired tea in a river w/wellies, well color me every shade of sentimental, but I just wept at the heart and love of life in that act. (Plus, I was listening to “When You Taught Me How To Dance) That takes all that I love of English people, the traditions and celebrations to an all new level and that is some kind of wonderful.

    The well shall never run dry with A Fine Romance in hand. It has been with me for the past five days, whether in my hands, purse, standing on end at my desk or under my pillow and that is how it shall remain. At the slightest wave of an oncoming funk, AFR will be at my fingertips, serving as a bulwark for my sometimes too tender heart, and I shall metaphorically hold up these pages and declare, to get to me you must first go thru all the goodness that is Susan Branch and AFR.

    So just a few specifics in no particular order (SPOILER ALERT):

    -bet you are indeed glad you turned your face to see what the “heck” he wanted. Love the tilted words, “I’m not going to Boston.”
    -a posh hotel, corner room with a view and a bunch of flowers, boy did he want to woo you properly. (your depiction of Joe carrying those flowers slayed me.) When I read that passage I closed the book, paused and thought, are you kidding? shut the proverbial door, this is A Fine Romance AND most definitely the beginning of trouble. Swoon.
    -Joe’s prayers, “…and make me a good boy. Amen,” bless his sweet heart. I’d say the good Lord answered the prayers of your lovely happy chappy! That fella of yours, he bore witness to your much awaited sojourn to Hilltop and, as you said, loves you so much that he shared your experience wholeheartedly. What a gift.
    -The unabashed enthusiasm, forgoing any stuffy decorum, running around the luxury ocean liner like kids in a candy store was priceless.

    You have delivered a treasure that is certain to be timeless and most assuredly beloved by the masses. As usual, you are a champion of all that is good, true, worthy and beautiful. William Blake said, “Imagination is evidence of the divine” and my dear, you have it in spades. Your artistry is a ministry to humanity, greatly appreciated and much needed.

    Thrilled that you are receiving voluminous comments/compliments and cannot imagine how you must feel, touching so many people. It is my fervent hope there is some literary award that can be given for your contribution of A Fine Romance.

    • sbranch says:

      OMG, Carrie. You have got me all misted up! I had to call Joe to read this to him. LOVE that you like the book, can’t believe how lucky I feel, and really did not come equipped with the right depth-of-words to tell you what it means to hear this and everyone’s comments. As you could see, writing a book isn’t quite the walk in the park a person could think it is. But this makes those hours and “eggs laking” from sitting too much completely and totally worth it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! xoxo

    • judy young says:

      Carrie, this has to be the best comment ever. You have a way with words yourself! Maybe you should think about taking up writing………Susan and Joe must have been ecstatic reading this! Loved it!

  35. Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    You probably can’t tell……….but on my way home from church this morning I went by the post office. OMG. There it was! I decided I will not open the box until I put away the groceries and start one load of laundry. I put away the groceries and open the box just to see it and smell it. The Girlfriends are right, it smells so good! I only have 2 or3 chores that didn’t get done yesterday and as soon as I get those done, I am going to sit and read………..OH WHO AM I KIDDING! What does a clean closet mean in the grand scheme of things! Beside Rules 1, 2 and 11 will back me up! I am on page 82 and had to stop for a wine refill (I know I said I was going to christen my Emma Bridgewater cup but it’s 102 outside) Sue, it is so good! I have laughed, I have cried and I am NOT putting it down. Will need many more copies for friends. So many people will be getting this for Christmas!
    Gotta go……I’m busy right now!

  36. Minette says:

    Just a short note to say I hope you will eventually see the comments that I posted yesterday but feat that between my internet provider and your server, there may have been issues. In a nutshell, I am in the second reading of your book tday after receiving my order of books late Friday afternoon and have been in a state of euphoria the entire weekend! What a real treasure of a book and all of my sentiments have been already been expressed by your readers. Thank you for sharing this unique experience with all of us. I made the Orange Lavender Polenta Cake today in my cast iron skillet and I can only say it is exquisitley delicious! I recommend drinking Republic of Tea’s Anna Karenina tea with it as well as it mirrors the taste-just heavenly! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      How perfect it all sounds Minette, and thank you!

      • Minette says:

        PS–I have been meaning to ask you this forever and please forgive me if I missed that this was previoulsy answered and I just missed it, but did you ever find out what the name of the climbing “cabbage” rose was at Hilltop Farm?

        • sbranch says:

          No, but I really tried. It’s a cabbage rose, and although there are lots of cabbage roses, that’s just what every one says it is.

  37. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    I predict that A Fine Romance will be A Fine Heirloom, handed down through generations with the family jewels, because it is truly a gem.

    I’ve often used the expression, “I’d like to be a fly on the wall”. Now I’m a fly on a trip, and what a glorious journey it is.

    Can we go to France next?

    • sbranch says:

      Wouldn’t that be fun! Hmmmmm . . .

      • Trish K says:

        I agree! Joe and Susan….Travel writers?…Adventure writers? Adventure Sharers with those who live vicariously?

        • Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

          These trips are costly. We could all just put a $5 bill in an envelope and start the fun. Is you mailbox still the same one in The Book or do we mail to your home address, Susan?

          I hate procrastination. Let’s get this trip on the road. Doesn’t have to be France. The Netherlands are so beautiful and fresh and clean and the people so friendly. You could do the canals. Oh, heck. We just like to travel with you. How about California? You’re going there anyway every year.

          By the way – there are all kinds of ways to become a mother and you, My Dear Susan, have just given birth to a beautiful baby. And we’re all Aunties. And the baby is keeping me up nights.

  38. Karen P. - Wisconsin says:

    P. 104…

    I adore Butterpat! 🙂

  39. Pat Stansel says:

    Reading about your visit to Birds Bakery in Matlock & ordering a custard tart
    reminded me of the Brit-Com , As TimeGoes by. Lionel’s favorite seemed to be
    Custard Tart. I have several Tea time cookbooks , but never found it.
    Wonder if your darling friend Rachel has one to share—-it really does sound
    yummy!!! Can you tell I’m sooooo into this book?

  40. Just came home from vacation and guess what was waiting for me?!! I browsed through and can’t wait to find some quiet time this week to make the Orange Polenta cake, brew some tea and thoroughly enjoy this latest heartfelt endeavor! Yay!

  41. Jan from Northern CA says:

    I must have written something illegal for the website? I searched for my email to you but it didn’t make it through moderation. Please let me know if there are subjects not allowed? Should I have not mentioned the name of that bread? or that my Mom and I went to Chico? You don’t have to say a name of a B&B on the Island…..I probably shouldn’t have asked…..
    If so, I appologize.
    Jan from Northern CA

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sure everything you wrote was fine Jan … I’m not sure what you’re mentioning here — because we seem to have a gremlin living in this blog that not only deletes Girlfriend’s comments, but, and I say the NERVE of him, he deletes mine too. Chico and bread are always good! 🙂

      • Jan from Northern CA says:

        Thank you for the reply. I’m glad I wasn’t doing what I’m not supposed to…..
        I am savoring your book/adventure. I just don’t want it to end….so am trying not to rush through it. I’m only to page 109……and it makes me want to go back to England and see the sites you and Joe visited with different eyes. I’ve been there a few times….but always with a small tour group. I’ve never been brave enough to drive…….that part was priceless! But if you and Joe are brave enough….I think I’d give it a try. I have a friend near Paighton who used to be a driving instructor, of all things, and I could get him to give me lessons. lol. That would be a hoot! Thank you again for the reply.

  42. Anna Marie says:

    I just finished the book last night. I tried so hard to read it slllloooooowwwly. But I couldn’t put it down. I need to know, what’s next? what’s next? Thank you. Now I want to go to all those wonderful palces you did. Fun!

    • sbranch says:

      What’s next? A three month drive across the good ol’ USA. Want to come along? There’s room in the van for everyone. I’ll blog it!

      • judy young says:

        It’s going to really be fun to go on the book-signing tour with you and Joe. You always give us something to look forward to!

  43. Sharon Avinger says:

    Oh, Susan! What an honor to receive your book in the mail and to savor each word and picture! I am there right with you and I thank you for your brilliant talent! The illustrations add so much to your gorgeous story. I love your injections of humor! Not through reading it yet. I’m taking my time and strolling through this magnificent story. I want to go to England SO BAD, but if I can’t go, I can at least enjoy your beautiful book. OK- I’m out of adjectives now so I’ll stop! Thank you, thank you!

  44. Lisa Nelson-Jones East Tn says:

    Enjoyed coming to the party! But more than that, am halfway through the beautiful England tour 🙂 I’m sitting here reminded of how much beauty there is in this world- even through pain and heartbreak. As usual, Susan is saving me from sinking into a puddle of pain. I got my book just in time: I lost my invalid sister whim I’ve spent every day with for 30 years last week, then my husband became ill and I’d in ICU- all within the same week. Much as she saved me when my mother became I’ll with cancer and passed away, and I assumed care of my sister, I had her books with me- always lifting my spirits. I felt as though someone knew some of my pain when I read “Girlfriends”, and now I’m comforted with “A Fine Romance”. It reminds me there is beauty, life- and to hold on because who knows what’s around the corner! She’s lifted me up, comforted me, made me smile when I thought I couldn’t make it another day. She’s also inspired me to pick my art back up and to keep going. Thank you is inadequate, but it truly is deep thankfulness I feel now. I have some kind of comfort with me while waiting on my husband’s recovery. And who knows? Maybe one day we will get to take a “Susan and Joe” journey of our own. Thank you for this, from the bottom of what’s left of my broken heart.

    • sbranch says:

      Ohhh, you little thing, I’m so so sorry. Making me cry too. I wish I had the magic words that could make it better. I know despite the pain, you are still wallowing in the love both given and received from your dear sister. Beauty is the gift that God gave us, He put it everywhere for us to choose or not to choose. Sometimes the beauty is terrible, but the cycle of life is a miraculous thing. I’m on a search for beauty every single day, and I hope and pray that you feel surrounded in it now, and know it’s there, always, inside, you. Your sister was so blessed to have you, and you, her. Blessings and prayers for your husband’s recovery. Love to you Lisa, so very sorry. xoxoxo ((((((hug)))))))

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        Prayers for you Lisa, & I’m so sorry for your heartache! Yes, I agree, Susan continually fills our life with beauty. xoxo

        • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

          sending prayers and hugs to you Lisa, wish we could all make it better for you. sending along a little sunshine to help you through the days, and prayers for your hubby’s recovery. hugs girlfriend!! 🙂

          • Lisa Nelson-Jones says:

            Oh, what sweet kindnesses- from the best girlfriends a girl could have. Thank you all for your kindness and love, and thoughts and prayers. Can’t tell you all what it means! I was just beside myself excited about the new tea Susan’s made for us (yippee, so excited!!!) andtheme I found these sweet, wonderful words of encouragement! This is just another of the million reasons I love Susan- she brings us all together!! Thank you all again!!

  45. Beth Keser says:

    OMG!!! Your book is amazing! The artistry is so one-of-a-kind! No one makes books like this. Did you keep track of how many hours it took to write it? Thank you ,thank you ,thank you for sharing your wonderful journey with us! So glad you will be doing a book signing in CT 🙂

  46. Barbara says:

    I love the book!!!!
    I am going slowly because I don’t want it to end!
    Thank you so much for sharing your love for Joe and England. Your love for him shines through in every photo he took of you.
    Great News– the book is out of stock on Amazon.

    • sbranch says:

      Truth is, it’s not at Amazon yet! It’s nowhere but to you girls! Brilliant pre-order put you first! (Oh, the power! 🙂 )

  47. Pamela Jewett says:

    Oh Susan, I’m sorry to say it…..but the ten pounds was worth it! This book is such a delight, a soothing balm, a visual feast! I wasn’t prepared for the emotion I felt while reading it (at one sitting!). Thank you so much.
    xoxo Pam

  48. Deborah Norling says:

    I knew my book was waiting at my Dad’s..I have everything sent there as delivered items go missing…mysteriously…. from my neighbourhood… there was N O W A Y I was risking that with my precious and long awaited book……I drove to my Dad’s today..tore open the wrapping…I could not b e l i e v e how absolutely exquisite and perfect the book is….I simply can not b e l i e v e you actually signed every book plate……I wish I could call in sick to work tomorrow to stay home and absorb every letter..every word..every picture..every drawing.. THANK YOU SUSAN FOR CREATING THIS ABSOLUTE TREASURE FOR US!!

  49. Judy moore says:

    I was SOOOO excited to see that little package at my front door…I could hardly wait to tear it open and read it…..but I just “peaked” and then later got into my jammies, and into bed with my little cup of tea and “joined” you on your trip to England.
    It has been so wonderful to hear your tale of your Joe…and how you became a couple so naturally….just like a cup and saucer. Thank you for sharing with us your life, your love and your travels, and your art.

  50. Laurie says:

    We arrived home from our week long Alaska cruise yesterday sick and wiped out. Imagine my joyful squeal when I saw a package in the stack of mail and saw who’s return address was on it. I ripped that puppy open and swooned as I leafed through it. This morning I was up early enjoying my cup of coffee on the patio and totally immersed in my new treasure. I want to read it fast, but then I’m trying to make myself slow down and savor it, like a great cup of tea. Thank you for taking me back to a country I long to see again.

  51. Mary S. says:

    Oh, Susan, your book is sooooo wonderful!! I am halfway thru now, and it is also the most beautiful book I have ever seen!!
    As I was reading it last night, I thought, “There are women all over the world reading THIS BOOK at the same time (practically)!” and that made me so happy!! I can imagine how happy that must make YOU!!
    I showed it to my 90 year old mother today, and she, too, exclaimed over how lovely it is!! Thank you for writing it!! You are an amazing writer! I was completely immersed in your blog when you were writing it from England, and now I get to experience it all over again!!
    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

    • Mary S. says:

      P.S. We watched The Ghost and Mrs. Muir tonight (again!), and I thought of you, partly because I know you love this movie, and, of course, the beautiful English countryside in it with the sheep!! One of my favorite movies!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you so much Mary! I really never imagined how it “would be” when the books all went out at the same time, to my favorite people first! Did not expect this wonderful response! My dad is enjoying it as much as I am!

      • Mary S. says:

        I am not surprised about your dad – our childrens’ joys and sadness are ours!!!
        Two things I am curious about – do you ever drink coffee, and do you like classical music? 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          I sometimes drink coffee (Joe likes to put Hershey’s Syrup in it for me!). I love classical music, but Joe grew up with it and knows much more about it than I do. I just listen.

  52. Hi Susan! I got about half way through your book last night and I have to tell you just how much I loved it! The story of you and Joe really touched my heart! I can’t wait to read more today!!! We arrived home from our vacation and your book was waiting for me in our mailbox. What a wonderful surprise! We saw some beautiful things like Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, and the Grand Tetons, but now I am longing to go to England! Maybe next summer . . .
    Thank you to Kellee, Sheri, and Alfredo, too, for their hard work!

    • sbranch says:

      Love all those places you went ~ beautiful wide open spaces. Happy that your book was waiting. Thank you Sharon! Happy you are liking it!

  53. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Happy Birthday Dear Blog Daddy Jack!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a wonderful day celebrating – 90!!!! Hugs galore to a great guy!!!! xoxo

  54. mary spring says:

    … Happy Birthday, Jack !!!…’ hope you have a great day !!.. ( it’s also my little brother Chuck’s birthday !! )…take care..with always !!!!

    • Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

      HAPPY 90th BIRTHDAY JACK!!! Enjoy your special day/year ahead and stay well!! Blessings

    • Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

      Happy 90th Birthday, Jack!! What a wonderful day to celebrate YOU!! I smiled when I saw your birthday balloon on the calendar this morning! Sending happy, healthy wishes all the way to Arizona (where lots of very special people live!). ♡♡

  55. KarenP (Wisconsin) says:

    I think you can start writing anytime, sweetie! But take your time and bask in the glow of this great success! xo

  56. KarenP (Wisconsin) says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Jack! xo

  57. Deborah Heater (Indiana) says:

    Susan, my book arrived and I finally got a chance to start reading it on Sunday and it is very charming and so fun to read about your life. I have to “tuck” the red ribbon inside the book heaven forbid the 2 kitties see it and shred it!!!! Yikes….It is a lovely book and one that I am very proud to own. Thank you for all your hard work and I am very sure it will be a huge success once it gets into bookstores and online…..Enjoy!

    • sbranch says:

      With such wonderful support from our Girlfriends, I feel like it’s a success already! Very very happy! Thank you!

  58. Clair Becker says:

    My books arrived on Sat. The book is the best,I purchased one for my sister who got me hooked on all things Susan Branch,she was visiting me from Wisconsin and I was able to give it to her in person. We are in heaven,will be spending long hours on the porch reading this masterpiece. Just love love love it.

  59. Melissa says:

    I spent this Saturday afternoon, cozy in a chair, with my girl kitty, reading away, captured in the details of each page. Loving it, with more to come with each page – thank you, Susan!

  60. pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

    just popping in to say good morning to everyone. the fires are ongoing, all the resources are going to the 2 bigger fires ( the Douglas complex and the Whiskey complex fires) our fire is still 0% contained and burnig at over 2000-3000 acres now. they are doing water drops to keep it away. they are doing the best they can with what they have. meanwhile the fire crew from all over the U.S. are arriving daily, quite a nice bunch of guys. they sure love the sausage from our local butcher shop, Taylor’s…. they make the best sausage around and the bacon. and the Lions are out there cooking up their famous blueberry pancakes for the firefighters and grilling the famous Lion burgers for them as well…..hmmm may have to go join them so I can get my Lion burger fix for the year. usually I get those on Labor Day weekend, but with the smoke as bad as it is and the fires I don’t know if the Lions will be holding the Labor day carnival and Tuff Truck competition this year. but I wait all year long for those burgers… best burgers around bar none. well I had better get back out and finish looking after the chickens, fed them and cleaned out the water tubs and duck pool, the pool is refilling and I have to keep an eye on it so I can get out there and fill up all the tubs with clean water. plus I have a mountain of laundry to get done, no hanging clothes on the line, too smoky and I was thinking about washing the curtains and ironing them, again I think that can wait until these fires are over. have a great day everyone. just had to pop in and let you all know we are safe and doing well. hugs everyone. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Shocking to think it’s still burning, and not a bit under control after all this time — but happy it’s not threatening you anymore Pat!

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        hello Susan, its still a threat, the firefighters have just manages to keep it at bay so to speak until they can get the resources they need. as long as those copters and plane fly we’re okay!!! its an adventure to sit out on the front porch and watch all the different fire trucks from all over arrive daily. sure gives me a whole new batch of customers for my eggs…LOL!!!

        • Joan Lesmeister says:

          Glad you’re still safe Pat! A good rain with no lightening would sure help you folks! Take care! xo

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            thank you Joan. that is precisely what we need right now, asking all the girlfriends to send a fast prayer here as we will be getting thunderstorms all this week, mostly dry lightning, but if we could nudge mother nature a bit maybe we can have some wet thunderstorms for a change. we don’t need dry thunderstorms right now, just wet ones. so everyone say a fast prayer for our firefighters and pray for rain, lots of it. thank you all. 🙂

  61. Bess says:

    Hi again, Susan! I wanted to let you know that although I’m finishing up a library book before it’s due tomorrow, I have read yours and Joe’s love story (wonderful!) and will soon savor every morsel of the remainder. Just had to tell you: I love it, I love it, I love it! :O) As someone else said above, reading this book is an emotional experience … and such a blessing. Blessings to you and yours, Bess

  62. Deb from Dixie says:

    Wishing you a birthday filled with laughter and fun and also some yummy cake! Hope you enjoy your day and celebrate you!

  63. Jan says:

    Was so excited to receive my books over the weekend!! Beautiful! Beautiful! Have been busy with family here so have not been able to really sit down and read it yet, but glanced through it. The inside covers are adorable and I just love the little lambs. You are just sooo creative! There is nothing that compares to holding a book in your hands – seeing, touching , and turning the real pages. A top notch travel, scrapbook, journal, book!!! Wonderful!

  64. EsSuzy (from South Carolina) says:

    Susan, when you first posted this blog entry I was staying with my sister for a long weekend. Reading in bed, my sister and her husband,maybe asleep, in the next room, I resisted the urge to yell when I saw the photo of the pallets with OUR books! But maybe you heard my woohoo when I got the email notice that my copy had been shipped. Then across the US to my little town, then down a country road to my little neighborhood where yards are filled with blooming hydrangeas, gardenias, butterfly bushes and daylilies the USPS saw to it that the young lady who is my mail carrier brought it right to my mailbox! It must be fabulous and even a little overwhelming to realize all the excitement and pleasure you’ve created as your book travels worldwide to so many of us girlfriends.
    I know you’re coming south a bit later and I know I’ll meet you somewhere along the way in that trip. Another of your blog reading girlfriends, my daughter, Stephanie D, has requested a signing at her local Atlanta bookstore so I hope that comes to fruition. I’ll have an excuse to make another trip down to Atlanta to visit with her & granddaughter Alice so we can attend.
    Annnnd here’s another suggestion: I noticed, in our book, Carl Sandburg’s quote “Because nothing happens unless first we dream” and thought this: If Susan comes to a book signing at The Fountainhead Bookstore in Hendersonville, NC she can visit Carl Sandburg’s home in Flat Rock and she would LOVE it! I’m not even going to tell you about the fabulousness of his home in case you do get to go! I could also visit a booksigning there as it’s a short trip north of me.
    Finally may I add to everyone else’s praise I love A Fine Romance! I knew you were a great cookbook author, watercolor artist, photographer, but SUSAN, You are such a WRITER. Your words create the sounds and scents and pictures and feelings of the trip. I love it!! Susan L. XO

    • sbranch says:

      Making me cry (again!) — thank you Susan! I made a note of Carl Sandburg’s house, thank you! I’m sure we’ll get down there!

  65. Tammy M says:

    Got my BOOK in the mail Sat. evening!!!! Read ALL DAY Sun. after church…I just couldn’t put it down. I was sharing bits and pieces with my 21 year old daughter who will be studying in London for the spring semester! I have got to get myself over there so we can have us a little mother/daughter road trip to a few of these wonderful places you wrote about! I am gonna get her her own copy of “A Fine Romance” because I can part with mine for even a second! It is your best book yet! It reads just like I am right there listening to you tell me all about your trip! LOVE..LOVE…LOVE it!! Thank you for such a wonderful treat! Ps…my daughter and I are currently looking for the movie “Miss Potter”. I can’t believe we’ve never seen it! When we find it are gonna order up a big cup of hot chocolate, moosh ourselves into the sofa, wrap up in a cozy blanket, and pretend we are watching the movie on the Queen Mary 2 bound for England! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I would be right there with you! So fun to watch together! I have that movie, and every time I’m in the mood to cry, I just pop it in! Have fun Tammy!

  66. Isabel (Orlando) says:

    All I can say Susan, is, you are amazing. I got notice that the book shipped on July 31st and I received it on August 2nd. When I opened it, I cried. That new book smell, just the uniqueness and beauty of it. I flipped through the pages and started reading right away. I read 100 pages in a short time and had to stop because I did not want it to end. I can’t get over how you REALLY hand wrote the WHOLE book. We all are so lucky to get our “present” so early. It is so amazing to read all the “girlfriends” comments and see how we are so much alike and are thinking the exact same thoughts. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could all get together for the largest girlfriend gathering ever? Just a dream. Again, thank you for your work of art and your story of how you met Joe and thank you to Joe for, well, being Joe. Wish there more like him. You found a treasure. Your book will always hold a special place in my heart.

    • sbranch says:

      You are so welcome Isabel, you know I enjoyed every moment. And what made it fun was YOU, everyone who came along, you all continue to make this the most special of all the books I’ve written.

  67. N. Jean says:

    Awesome Book!

  68. Vera C. says:

    I received my book on Friday, and what can I say??? Thank you and everything the others already said!!! I was “blabbeling” (that’s a word) to my hubby about your signing tour surely not headed to our part of the country, and how if that were the case I most certainly would try and attend. Well let’s just say the tears started to flow when I found the stamp with your signature!!! Thank you for such an unexpected loving touch! May your signing tour be a most relaxing time of celebration and the attendance a reflection of the loving way that you and Joe share your lives.

  69. Janet [in Rochester] says:

    FAVORITE MOMENT OF ALL: June 8 and the rainy-rainy day cruise around Lake Windemere, ending with fireside tea and soup in the pub. I’ve been reading those pages over and over since Fri when my book arrived. Just Plain Sublime. Well-done, my friend. Here’s to every possible success with ‘A Fine Romance.’ ❤❤ PS – I still cannot believe you got the whole thing written and illustrated in such a short time frame. I’d still be working on the dedication page!

    • sbranch says:

      And Judi Dench reading Peter Rabbit in the Bathroom! I’ll never get over that! 🙂 Thank you Janet!

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Absolutely! “Peter Rabbit” courtesy of Dame Judi – the perfect way to end that day. Can’t count how many times [already] that I’ve re-read those pages. Another instance of when having no plan at all has led to the most memorable of experiences. :>)

        • sbranch says:

          Serendipity! Gotta plan for it! 🙂

          • Janet [in Rochester] says:

            PS – forgot to mention this. Just finished watching “Inside the Queen Mary 2” on YouTube. Excellent documentary on the logistics of a single Atlantic crossing. It was SO interesting! For someone like you who’s actually been a passenger, I think it would be fascinating. If interested, it’s at FYI – there are 3 parts. :>)

      • judy young says:

        Love Judi Dench!

  70. I finished your book. <3. I had to write to tell you what I thought of it. From one to ten you get 1,000 from me. Its FABULOUS. I LOVED EVERY WORK OF IT. I sat in the garden trying to protect my book from my chickens hopping on and off me, reading bits and pieces of it to my hubby, laughing like crazy over some of your driving antics feeling a kindred spirit on stomping on the non peddle on the floor. 🙂 Holding my breath at picking up the lens. Soaking up the culture and all the places we have only read about. Feeling like I was transported to England thru it all and loving it more because we all went along with you, knowing it was filling in the bits & pieces we didn't get to see since we were all in the suitcases most of the time. 🙂 I even had a tear at the end of it because I did NOT want it to end. So I decided I am not done reading it.. I will go thru it again and look up things on the internet that are starred, to fill in the rest. You are more then a watercolor Artist Susan, you are a wonderful card carrying writer too. 🙂

  71. Susan, I was so thrilled when your book arrived on Saturday – and the thrill continues! I’m savoring it bit by bit – just a little at a time, because I don’t want it to end. Thank you so much for taking us with you and then bringing the memories back as souvenirs for all us girlfriends. I can’t get over all of the details you’ve put into it for us. All the way down to signing the bookplates (that really touched my heart, thinking of all the time you spent and how many writer’s cramps you must have endured for us. Bless your talented hands and giving heart!). The book is like a gift that just keeps unfolding, with more and more goodies inside. It’s simply beautiful!
    p.s. And big kudos to Kellee and Sheri for getting so many books into so many hands, in such good time. You ladies rock!

  72. Pat Beckman says:

    Finished “the book” last night and had tears in my eyes,you seem to say what is in my heart….better than I could ever put into words….now to read it again.
    What brand of Earl Grey Lavender tea with roses do you buy?
    Thanks for a wonderful book
    Pat in Ohio

    • sbranch says:

      I mix them myself, but I just managed to get a tea company to do it for me in bulk, so I can put it, along with my new Tea Tin, on our blog. It will be there soon!

  73. Trish K says:

    Got the book on Saturday….I’ve been quiet. I cannot come up with anything flowery, THANK YOU FOR WRITING IT!!!!!!! 🙂

  74. Rita from MN says:

    Let me join everyone else in saying my book, too, has arrived! When asked by my dear hubby what had come in the mail I held it up and explained it was a book about a trip I want to take some day. He asked if he should start saving and I said yes! Celebrating our 12th Anniversary and a summer cold got in the way, but without the energy to do anything else today I had no excuses, I finally cracked it open. Oh, how wonderful! I must agree with some others that after a few pages I set it down to savor. I want it to last. Job well done, Susan!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Rita! I love that your husband asked if he should start saving! Good man! Happy Anniversary!

  75. Karen P - Wisconsin says:

    Oh dear! I so wish you were here with me so I could tell you in person how much I am loving this book! Every page I read there’s something special and I want to tell you about how much I love it but I don’t want to blog and give things away! Except this….”Oh no! Bloody hell!” I am cracking up! I can just picture it! <3 xoxo

  76. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    Have been living under the spell of AFR since last week when it arrived. Today I watched a saved PBS program about Chatsworth, just to get a peek again at the English countryside. Breathtakingly beautiful! And the history of just that one house! – even an American connection – Adele Astaire (Fred’s sister) married into the family, and Kathleen Kennedy also (JFK’s sister)! Anyway, so much more meaningful to watch the program after dwelling in your book. There was a shot of tourists outside, and I saw a man sporting a beret next to a woman, and I had to rewind to make sure it wasn’t you!;) One nice thing about AFR is that I can visit England now any time I want to! You have a smash hit on your hands for sure.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you so much Rosanne! I saw that Chatsworth special too. Don’t you love the history! One house and it has so much. Young Victoria’s first grownup dinner party at that dining table. I think you could make a study of just that one place that would last a very interesting lifetime.

  77. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    THE BOOK arrived at noon today. Five hours later I’m here to say: What a wonderful thing you have wrought! First I flipped (the pages that is) and sighed over foxgloves and forgetmenots. Hard to settle down as I realized the layers of pleasure I had in store thinking of the triple enjoyment of holding and seeing what we all witnessed via the blog as you were traveling, then writing and painting, and now getting all the details to hold and keep in one neat little package :-). And all so CHARMING!. The inside covers of music and treasures overlaid — CHARMING. You and Joe meeting and . . . . CHARMING. I started reading seriously where you first started driving just off the boat and laughed till tears came. Laughing and crying simultaneously is supposed to be quite healing to the chakras I’ve been told so thank you! CHARMING. I could go on, but you get the idea. It’s CHARMING! Thank you so much for making it happen. I will savour this book for a long time to come and be giving it as gifts. Oh and LOVE your signature on the sticky label 🙂 made me cry a little — strange but true. Thank you.
    BUT I do hope when things simmer down again you will do the one about your first Martha’s Vineyard house. I just know it will be so inspirational and CHARMING :-).

  78. Kathy says:

    Hi Susan. My copy arrived while I was on vacation and welcoming my new grandson, Thad into the world! I couldn’t wait to get to the post office today to pick it up and I had to at least open and skim before going back to work. But once I got home I sat down and read – and did a little dreaming on my own. I made myself stop so I can have more to read tomorrow night! Your love story made me swoon…
    Thanks for writing and sharing.

  79. Karen says:

    Ta-da… is here! Susan, what a gorgeous book. You have outdone yourself! In honor of your book’s arrival I have put up my Union Jack bunting! I need to take a week’s vacation, head to a local “all things British”themed tea room and just savor every page. I will have it with me constantly until I arrive on page 259 and probably thereafter……. Thank you for signing the “With love from the heart of the home” label—that was so thoughtful—-. Also, for the section for notes and the great appendix which I have downloaded and also bookmarked. The rest of the summer I will be traveling and falling in love with the English Countryside thanks to you. Love, Karen

  80. Julie Borg says:

    Dear Susan- I tried to read slow and savor every tiny bit, but I just couldn’t put it down! I loved every thing about it! I literally cried when I got to the end. I can’t wait for the first rainy cold day( which here in south Texas won’t be for a while) so I can light the fire, wrap up in my favorite quilt, grab a cup of tea and lose myself again! Thanks for taking me along on this wonderful journey !
    Love, Julie
    PS: when is that wonderful doll story coming out?

  81. Silvia Niomi says:

    Hi Susan,

    My book! mY BoOk! MY BOOK! MY book! my BOOK! MMMMYYYY BBBBOOOOOOKKKK! my book! my!!!! book!!!!! has arrrrriiiiveeeddd. Off came the packaging… up to my nose for a looooooonnnnggggg whiffffff of a sweet new book….thumbed slowly through the pages – peaking through some of the images, BUT not for very long. Made a bee line for the comfy chair – got a text, not now please, later. Then started from the front cover then to the front page – read everrrry line, evvverrry word including who and when and how it was published- every single word handwritten – lovely (very personable), looked for the stars in the book, looked for your personal signature – very nice indeed- then page by page I read. I read a quarter of the book and then went and did something (a little, very tiny something) then back to the book read a few more pages – then nature called and I told her to call back (sheeeshhh all these interruptions when you don’t want them) went back to my book and read and read and read till I could no more – then pushed and read some more. I promise to continue to do this throughout the night until the dawn of morning at which time I will proclaim “TADA, I am finished” Then I will do it again (probably a million more times) before I place your book -my book- in its permanent little spot, in my library next to all my cherished Beatrix Potter books and all my other favorites ones. Thank you and Joe so much for a lovely experience. If I ever get the chance I would love to retrace your steps in England. I would love to go to the San Luis Obispo signing…… maybe…. xoxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I’d love to see you there Silvia! Thank you so much for liking the book with your darling enthusiastic keyboard display!! :-)xoxo

  82. Silvia Niomi says:

    (sequel to my comment above) oops! I forgot to make my house payment….. I’d better go do that so I can have a roof over my comfy chair while I read your book (although, I’d probably read your book under the heavens if need be) 🙂

  83. judy young says:

    Susan, what can I say that hasn’t already been said by all the girlfriends. My package with three books inside arrived (finally)! last Friday, on my 42nd Wedding Anniversary!! Perfect timing actually and I was worried it was lost in the mail! It has been a very busy time for me since they arrived and I have barely had chance to sit down and savor all that it has to offer. But my time is coming. Just paging through and looking at it, I can see that it is the most amazing book I have ever seen, let alone, been lucky enough to have! It is incredible, you are the most talented person ever. Not only did you live this dream, but you wrote about it and in your own beautiful handwriting, water-colored pictures of what you saw and photographs that you and Joe took yourselves are all included in this magnificent piece of literature. You will absolutely go down in the history books, along with your favorites, Gladys Taber and Beatrix Potter. I am so very proud to own a copy of A Fine Romance, I will treasure it forever and it will always be on my bedside table.

    I bought three copies, one for me, and one for an English lady I know, who is 80 this year and who hasn’t been back to England since the sixties! I know she will love it as much as I do! The third copy is for me too, so I can devour one and keep the other one pristine and gorgeous. I am so tickled, it is so much more than I ever imagined. Such a glorious size (how did you know?), the red ribbon – perfect, everything so imaginatively and exquisitely executed. I just cannot say enough about it. You go girl! You are AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Do you have any book signings planned near Dallas?? Please say yes!!

    • sbranch says:

      SO happy the books made it Judy!! Happy Anniversary and thank you so much for your sweet comments … I can’t wait to hear what your English friend thinks! I’m pretty sure we’ll be in Austin … which, relatively thinking, seems centrally located to us — but we aren’t done with the plan yet, so there may be more. I’ll be sure to post it!

  84. judy young says:

    I forgot to say a huge THANK YOU to Kellee and Sheri and everyone else who had a hand in processing these beautiful books and getting them out to us in record time. You all rock!!!

    • Jackie P says:

      Yes, I agree! Thank you both for delivering the goods to us! As one of the girlfriends stated early on in this blog: “spreading love one book at a time.” Brilliant!

  85. judi says:

    UFF DA! I hope I didn’t miss Mr. Jack’s special birthday:( I have it down as TODAY, August 06!

    A happy, blessed, wonderful, joyful, smiley till it hurts your cheeks kind of 90th Birthday day to you Jack Stewart!!! You probably had your BIG party yesterday so today is full of delicious new memories:) How many grandies and great grandies (second & third generation porkchops) do you have??? Hugs and a big pat on the back to you. judi

    • Janet [in Rochester] says:

      It’s Jack’s Birthday?? I thought it was at the end of August. A pox upon me!! Happy Happy 90th dear Jack! Hope the next 90 are as happy and healthy as the first 90 were! Have a wonderful party out there in Arizona!!

  86. Julia says:

    Dear Blog Dad,
    If it wasn’t late it wouldn’t be ME. Wishing you a wonderful year
    ahead with lots of fun and laughter. Also, lots of words to your
    blog children. We love hearing your clever comments.
    We all love the book and are busy planning our trips to England.
    Happy Birthday all year long. Julia

  87. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    I wasn’t kidding about everyone sending $5 to start a fund to finance the next trip. After all, you just saved me about $10,000 (single supplements on ships is sky high) plus the car, paying for the fender bender because I don’t know how to drive there, plus hotels, etc. etc. etc. I’m sending mine to your home address at 30 Spring Street, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568. If all the Girl Friends sent $5 or $2 or whatever, you’d soon have a good start on the next trip.

    I have you in my address book, just as if you’re one of my BFF’s because you are, even though we’ve never met. If I kick the bucket, you might get a note from my kids, thinking you’re one of the friends I met on a trip whom they don’t know, letting you know that Mom has passed on.

    If you don’t have mail delivery to your home, I need to know if the P.O. Box in The Book is the correct one still. Let me know.

    • sbranch says:

      LOL Patsy! I would be very sad to get that note from your kids and the world would obviously lose a great light! xoxo

  88. Diane in Michigan says:

    Oh my! On Saturday, I got THE BOOK! Absolutely love it, and am forcing myself not to read it until the snow flies here in Michigan. But just flipping through it, dear Susan, you have done a marvelous job! Dare I ask for more just like it? I, too, am a Beatrix Potter fan. Back in 1988, the Piermont Morgan in NY had an exhibit of Beatrix Potter, and although I did not attend, I purchased the poster and book they made for the exhibit. I framed the poster: The Tailor of Glouchester, and the book has been a treasured friend. Your website has to be one of the best, well done!

  89. Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    SUSAN!!!!! I am going to see you in Ohio! I can’t believe it! I just looked at the coming events page. You are going to be in Hudson, Ohio on September 3rd!!! I will be right next door in Bath, Ohio visiting my son and his family. I WILL SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER!

    I promise I will calm down before then….I’m pretty sure…..I can’t believe it. I am so glad I checked the events page….and love the van!
    Oh my………this is GREAT!

  90. Nora Egan says:

    I’m just beginning “Day One,” of “A Fine Romance” and am loving every word, Susan! Don’t stop me now, must get back to page 49 . . . later!! Girlfriends, isn’t this just the bee’s knees!? Wheeeee!

  91. JoAnne Daniels says:

    Susan — I’ve checked back on your website several times for a time and date
    for a book signing in NJ. I see that the tentative date you gave me for NJ puts you in Ohio! Is a signing in New Jersey still in the cards?
    By the way — LOVE THE WHEELS!! How cool is that van?! Many happy and safe miles for you and Joe.

    • sbranch says:

      We are going to have to do New Jersey when we get back. It just didn’t work out time wise, although they still want us to come. And we will. We’re so close, it will be easy to do! Sorry it’s not on the list yet.

  92. Kerrie Foley says:

    Dear Susan, I have been slowly savoring your book and hating to think that it will be totally read soon, but I just wanted you to know that as I read it…I simply CANNOT stop SMILING!!! It is pure delight and I so easily get swept away and feel as though I am right there with you on each wonderful side trip. Riding in the car with Joe driving on the left hand side for the first time was as harrowing for me as it seemed to be for you!! I could feel the mist of the ocean out on your stateroom deck and I could taste all your wonderful meals and pear cider!! I have always been a fan of Beatrix Potter and Miss Potter HAS to be one of my favorite movies! EVERYTHING about this book is simply delicious and I wanted to thank you for helping me be able to escape to a wonderful place every time I open it up. My job is so stressful (I am a Pediatric Nurse in a nursing home for severely disabled children and young adults. Many of them are on ventilators and life support and there is never enough help.) I usually come home after a 12 hour shift and just want to shower and go to bed but since your book came I climb into bed (of course I shower first!) and sail away with you and Joe and all your wonderful friends and always go to sleep with a smile on my face thinking of beautiful gardens and jumping lambs and hedgerows filled with wild things!! So thank you, thank you so much for this incredible work of art straight from your heart. You are such an inspiration to me (a budding artist) and I want you to know how much I appreciate all of your work and books but especially this one. Much love sent your way. Fondly, Kerrie

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Kerrie, thank you! And more than that, thank you for what you do. There are people like you, born to be guardian angels to many who desperately need you ~ the world would go completely dark without you and the people you work with. I hope you feel the profound difference you make at the end of every day. I’m so happy I could help with the escape I’m sure you need. THANK YOU so much!! Sending you a HUGE amount of love, to fill up every fiber of your being to overflowing so you can spread some extra around today. XOXO

      • Kerrie Foley says:

        I let the other nurses know just how much YOU appreciate what we do. It means a lot to feel like you are noticed and what you do matters. I am sitting here sobbing right now because I am finished with your book and I just want MORE!!!! I would also love my own “Joe” to meet me in one of the little taverns here in Wickford…where I live. I often grab a magazine and wander over to the Tavern by the Sea right next to my house but so far….no Joe. I am going to start reading your book again when I crawl into bed tonight and pretend I know nothing about what is to come. Thank you, once again, Susan for such a heartwarming story.

  93. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    When we get a package from our Mom or our Aunties, we always let them know it arrived ok. Susan, my books and calendars have arrived!!! 😀

  94. Beverly Brewer says:

    Dear Susan—just saw the photo of your “book-mo-van” on the events page! How gorgeous! Love how the landscape goes to the horizon—it will be quite the eyecatcher as you zoom-zoom across country. I am still patiently waiting for my books. Had a little glitch when ordering, so I might be towards the end of the list. I am certainly enjoying all the wonderful comments in the meantime.

  95. Tana Griffith says:

    I got my books yesterday. The book is absolutely wonderful! I am on page 70 and enjoying every minute. I feel like I am back at last May all over again but with much more detail. And it is exactly like reading a diary! How lucky are we? Thank you so much for this book Susan. I know I will cherish it always. <3
    P.S. You and Joe have such a romantic love story! <3

  96. Susan ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

    Ohhhh……you are going to be at The Learned Owl in Ohio!!!! SO close to MY Ohio home. I wish I could be there. It’s a charming place! The Ohio girlfriends are so lucky!

    • sbranch says:

      Going to California, see you there I hope!

    • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      Susan (an Ohio gal)
      This Buckeye will just happen to BE IN OHIO, Sept 3rd! I am going to meet Susan and I am so excited I can hardly contain myself! I have been skipping down the hallways at work! I have to return to Ohio every year to recharge my batteries!so to speak. I will think of you while I am home…..anything special from Ohio that you would like?? On my list would be sweet corn, but that can be hard to send. Let me know if I can send a piece of home for you. I’m serious.

  97. Cyndy from Los Angeles says:

    I am going to finish your beautiful book today on my bus ride home from downtown Los Angeles (sigh). But I will reread it many times. Thank you for all of the good ideas for fellow travelers – where to stay, what kind of car to rent and other good tidbits.

    What this knitter really wants to know is what were you knitting while in the UK and did you shop for any of their beautiful yarns while you were there? What a marvelous opportunity — they produce some of the most gorgeous yarns from such darling sheep.

    Thank you for letting all of us get to know you so well and making us feel like we are a part of your close circle of friends. Its a joy.


    • Cyndy says:

      Side note: I hate to fly and love that you took the ship to and from England. Maybe we should put a “girlfriends of Susan Branch” cruise together and sail away knitting, painting, twining, laughing and reading. -c

      • sbranch says:

        A few years back I read about a woman who “retired” on the QEII. She just kept her room permanently. She lived there. I guess it was cheaper rent than lots of places, they have nice food, a good library, lots of entertainment, new friends all the time, she could get her hair done, have a massage, go to a movie, she didn’t have to cook, and there were great medical services!

    • sbranch says:

      I am actually not too much of a knitter being a person who only makes scarves! I just love to knit on vacation! I like to think I am getting something extra from the trip besides the regular lolling about; I make my own souvenir! I did not see a lot of knitting shops while we were there, although I did look for them. I think I should have looked in London. The towns we were in were pretty small. As soon as I knew we were going to England I went to our little island yarn store and got my things to make my England scarf — and I blogged about the little shop.

      • Cyndy says:

        Knitting scarves gives you the opportunity to try new stitches and yarns without fussing around with shaping, chart following, seaming or counting. I love them and knit them all the time…I am truly a rectangle knitter.

        • sbranch says:

          Me too! Maybe someday I’ll get myself into the yarn store in the winter and knit some striped socks!

  98. ElFe says:

    It came, it came, IT CAME! It’s here! I came home after a crazy difficult day and it was here WAITING FOR ME!!!

  99. Linda in tx says:

    My book arrived Friday and despite my best effort to savor it and make it last, I finished the last page tonight. I could imagine myself there in the beautiful and romantic English countryside with you and Joe sitting very quietly in every place you went. One of my favorite parts was the circus! It just sounded like such fun! As I strive to endure the relentless heat of a scorching Texas August, I well may revisit some of those perfect little places on the pages of your book again! Thank you for sharing your trip of a lifetime with us all.
    Linda Lancaster ( deep in the heart of Texas) but dreaming of tea and scones tonight.

  100. Joan in TX says:

    My two books arrived on 8/5/13. Went home after work and made me a cup of tea and before I knew it I was on page 60. It’s a gem! The parts that caught me of guard and made me burst out laughing so far are “boat kitties for take out”, and Joe kissing the ground after his first time driving and wondering if the pub has pear cider. I have been smiling and giggling all throughout come to think of it. And I too “am forcing myself to read it slowly because I don’t want it to end.” (page 64). I have to FORCE myself to put it down and savour it. I delivered one of the books to my daughter this evening and she was thrilled. What makes it even more special is we were with you while you were compiling it. How many people can say they knew the background of a book and the author. Thanks Susan…and Joe! for sharing it all with us.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s what made it special for me too … I was never alone while writing this book! Thanks Joan!

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