A Fine Romance Appendix

A P P E N D I X    by   P A G E   N U M B E R
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MUSICA: A FINE ROMANCE  (We have our own theme music! click here to let it play in the background while you read on )
(The watercolored stars on the pages of the book are cross-referenced here with lots of extra information.)
And so it begins:
p. 29 Lenox Hotel in Boston (scene of crime) 
p.30 Recipe for Steak au Poivre
A couple of hot tomatas …
p. 39 Cunard
p.41 Pimm’s cup recipe see p. 218 in A Fine Romance
p. 52 and p. 74 Thank you Janie! @janiephill! (she made that for us) 
p. 58 Loved the book by Nathaniel Philbrick,  MAYFLOWER 
p.60 Pimms Cup Recipe see p. 218 in A Fine Romance
      Pear Cider (often referred to as “peah-cida”)
Click HERE and have the entire book of Elizabeth and Her German Garden read to you by the lovely English-accented voice of Jane Ashleigh.  (Step back into 1898 for humor, society, nature and diary.)
p.71 Miss Potter, the wonderful song. 
P. 76 You GO, Alexis Bowlby! xoxo from Diana and me.
p.80 (On license plate) “I Love You Even If You’re Crazy”
P. 84 Tenterden
p.85 To find Flat and Cottage rentals:
     Visit Britain 
p.89 Road signs in England (see 132 for more about driving in England)
p.91 Sissinghurst, National Trust
p.106 Charleston
Life and times of the Bloomsbury Group: photos 
p.107 Much Ado Books in Alfriston
Alfriston, Sussex
p.114 Places to rent (Lots of Google choices)
p.116 Hever Castle in Kent, Childhood home of Anne Boleyn
Ellen’s daughter, Edith Craig
p.129 Knole, Childhood home of Vita Sackville-West
Knole history, Wikipedia
p.131 Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett, you can read, in the form of a novel, about the building of the cathedrals… very enteresting.
Car rentals in England, Joe made reservation through AAA in USA, with Hertz (for best discount)
p. 134 Highway Code
p. 136 Rachel’s Blogs, SugarmoonMozart’s Girl and  Brownies for Mozart 
p. 138 Weathericks Cottage (Tell Jean we said Hello  that’s her there) 
MUSICA (in case you’ve run out )
The Duchess, trailer story of the 18th Century Duchess of Devonshire, partly filmed at Chatsworth
p. 142 Stoke-on-Trent history, Wikipedia
p. 146 Bridge House
p. 153 Hilltop Farm
Near Sawrey (where Hilltop Farm is)
Beatrix Potter Society, you can join!
p. 157 Norman Warne
p. 157 My Peter Rabbit Room (on Martha’s Vineyard)
p. 163 Grasmere Gingerbread/Sarah Nelson’s Bakery
 Rydal Mount home of William Wordsworth
Dove Cottage earlier home of William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth, Wikipedia
p.173 Olney Hats
Wonderful photos of the Lake District, constantly updated in all seasons
Thirsk (Darrowby)
p. 182 Yorkshire Dales National Park

P. 184 Middleham Castle, childhood home of Richard III
P. 185 York, photos
P. 192 The Cotswolds, images 
Lords of the Manor (stay or have tea)
Snowshill, Cotswolds, and the Dovecote
p. 193 Bibury in the Cotswolds
Bibury, Photos
Wonderful Magazine to take to Tea all by yourself: British Country Living
P. 200 And then, there is the adorable Englishman Colin Firth, as seen in Bridget Jones Diary. Any discussion of England without an inclusion of this kiss in the snow, just isn’t in the national interest. Rated X-ish. (He is a very bad man.)
p. 202 William Morris, Wikipedia
May Morris, Daughter of William
Jane Morris, wife of William
p. 205 Weak Bridge 
208 Tetbury, Wikipedia
p. 210 Shipton Mill, organic flour
p. 211 Royal Ascot
Images of Royal Ascot  You’ll note what it’s all about — few photos of actual horses!
214 Vitamix
Almond flour, polenta flour available in the USA
p. 225 English English words (English as a foreign language)
p. 226 Lacock  Images
Lacock History, Wikipedia
p. 228 Stourhead
p. 229 Stonehenge
p. 232  Jane Austen
        Jane Austen House
Miss Austen Regrets, on Youtube
Jane Austen Movies, from    her books
p. 236 Cassandra’s Cup tea shop (across the street from Jane Austen’s house in Chawton)
p. 242 Downton Abby
p. 252 Dovecote at Snowshill in the Cotswolds (The words are carved in the rectangular stone next to the door.)
THE END.  See Alphabetical Appendix for further information.

157 Responses to A Fine Romance Appendix

  1. Carrie says:

    My copies of “A Fine Romance” are scheduled to arrive tomorrow but my curiosity got the better of me tonight and I checked to see if the interactive appendix you’ve mentioned was up and voila, here it is! Quickly and most excitedly I scanned the list of all the fun things to check out but did not click on any of the links. I’m saving those for afters 🙂 (Just desserts after the entrée, aka “A Fine Romance.”)

    Cheers Susan Branch!

    *My fingers they are a twitchin’ and I’m headed directly above to click on a link as a treat before hitting the hay. Tomorrow brings A.F.R.*

  2. Suzanne Kolhagen says:

    Dear Susan…Oh my! This is like reading another whole book! I loved the videos in the car:) I totally missed the bridge, too! Gratitude for sharing this with your readers. I feel like I have been on the voyage with you 2. Loved the Blog posts when you were en route. Thank You. You feel like a dear friend to me. Sincerely~ Suzanne from Key West Florida

  3. I love your “boat kitties” idea (p. 55)! Made me laugh out loud–the more civilized bit….I love your humor–it comes at unexpected times. 🙂 And your statement (same page) “I’m getting boring.” 🙂 I have to remember that one for myself! Also, love that you linked back to the violins. I feel I’m reliving our trip all over again! And thanks for the warning about wearing the band before you get on board. I’d probably be one to wait until it’s TOO LATE! Now back to the book….

  4. Me again! I’m to page 78….this is going way too fast–just like your trip did, I’m sure. I think I’ll save going ashore for tomorrow! But first wanted to say how much I loved the end papers, especially all the little add-ons. I have several of the other books in the series like “English Gardens”. I could probably find something on every page to comment on, but then I’d have a book of my own by the end! So, I’ll limit myself…p. 69 wonderful reminder of our place in the Universe; p. 70 I hope it’s OK to photocopy that page so I can place it on my desk as a reminder of the New Rules I need to follow (great rules!); and p. 72 I won’t tell anyone if you keep my secret, too (I was born on Louisa May Alcott’s birthday–and her father’s–and feel the same way….)

  5. Janice says:

    My copy arrived today. It is just gorgeous! This will be invaluable as we plan our 25th anniversary trip. Thank for all your hard work Susan.

  6. Sandy Forbes says:

    AHHH! I can’t wait! You are so awesome! I just received an email with the Alphabetical Appendix of your book with all of those links. But I’m going to do the same as Carrie and save them for after the book. I want to experience it all through your illustrations and your writing…the next best thing to actually being able to go myself! (Fingers crossed that it will happen someday…and I’ll have the perfect guide to plan my visit!) Also, I was so surprised to see the photo of the little book by V. Sackville-West called “English Country Houses” because my best friend just gave me a copy of the very same book last week! What a coincidence! She knows I love all things England. I can’t thank you enough for all you share with us. I am all smiles inside anticipating your book. I might have to take the week off when I get it. 🙂

  7. Sandy Forbes says:

    Dear Moderator…I apologize. Please delete my last message…it was user error (as usual) because I now realize I clicked on the Appendix by page number instead of the alphabetical one. Wow…twice as nice! I tell you, every time I get my Susan Branch email, I am all a-twitter. Sorry and thanks! 😉

  8. Sandi says:

    Susan, my copy arrived today while I was at work and I just got home and ripped open the package and hugged it! I explained to my husband what the book was all about and pointed to my stack of all of your books that I acquired this past year. I opened and started reading and saw where it said to go to your website when I saw a star for more info. I had forgotten about this and I have scanned it real quick before I settle down for a night of reading. I now need to order another one for my daughter and start buying her a set of all your books too. The reason I need to do this is because I have two beautiful granddaughters that we will pass these books to in the far off future. I had written before about living 75 miles north of Dallas Texas and hope we are in the area of a book signing. These little ones are 5 and almost 3 and she thinks she is 5 and will enjoy these books as much as we will as they are being raised with the same likes. I could go on and on about how I love to read your website and blogs as I love all that you do and stand for in life. I have read that you have some more books to write in the future so rest for a couple of months after your book tour and get those fingers going again! Also, don’t forget about the add a bead charm as I haven’t seen anymore written about that and I would love to buy one. I am trying my best to keep you busy so we all can enjoy the fruits of your labor. Keep up the excellent work Girlfriend and tell Joe to keep on keeping you happy as you both deserve all the best the world has to offer.

    • sbranch says:

      I adore your comment Sandi, the girls, your plans for them, everything. And the beads? They are coming! Three different ones! See you in Texas!

  9. Karen says:

    I’m having so much fun following the trail of links. It’s forcing me to slow down and not consume the book all in one sitting. You’re so creative – this is like a gift within a gift within a gift. Thank you for all the hard work you put into this – it’s really astounding considering that each page of the book is a piece of art within a bigger story. Now links to follow! I kept up with your trip last year, but there’s more now!

  10. My book won’t be here for a while, and I’m really trying to stop myself from clicking on those links…. I think I can, I think I can. Yikes, I don’t know if I can help myself. Maybe just ONE.

  11. Ivy Z. CA says:

    Susan, I got my copy today! I am so happy and excited to start reading. Thank you for all this wonderful information! 🙂

  12. Beth from Virginia says:

    Dearest Susan – My book came yesterday and I all but tortured myself waiting until I could go to bed early and snuggle in with it to read in peace and quiet. I forced myself to stop reading at page 62 (BOY THAT WAS HARD!) so I’ll have more to look forward to. But after looking at all the links I think I’ll have plenty to read for quite some time!! Thank you for your hard work and dedication in writing this book and getting it to all of us so quickly! And I loved the comments between you and Joe during the telling of how you met! [“Me: Whatever (did he say smitten?”] LOL – You two are so darn CUTE!

  13. Andi M says:

    Have you been hearing on and off squealing in the distance thru the day and night? If your other blog friends are any thing like me, they squealed and did a little dance right in front of the mailbox. I couldn’t wait to get into the car and pick my daughter up from girl scout camp, because I planned on arriving early so I could selfishly start reading your book in the car. I am on page 23 at this point and itching to get back to it. LOOOOOVE It! Thank you for sharing so much of your life.

  14. Lori H from WA State says:

    Guess what I found in my mailbox today….I think I may have let out a little squeal 🙂
    Heading out to my hammock chair with my now favorite book…..it’s going to take some discipline to savor and not march through it. Thank you so much for sharing your many charming talents and gifts with us!

  15. I’m really enjoying your art interspersed amongst the photographs, especially the garlands of flowers and birds and Capital Letters and maps and….well you get the picture! I am “at” Sissinghurst now and want to tell you I read the Portrait of a Marriage and several other books on Vita Sackville-West last year after you wrote about her on your Blog, as well as the fictional “The White Garden” by Stephanie Barron (I forget, did you read that one?). You are constantly broadening my horizons (like with Elizabeth Von Arnim, too) and I thank you for that. The pages of your book are SO beautiful, that I’ve decided to leave it open on a book stand on my desk, turning the page every so often, so I can look at it all the time!

  16. Pam says:

    Oh. My. Stars. Can you be in love with a book? I am giddy! It’s beautiful! I am savoring each page, each word, each picture. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  17. sandy says:

    Susan,,,,,,WOW, I’m amazed at how awesome this online appendix is! will be so fun to explore all of it. For now, I am relishing every page, every detail of our Book. I have honestly never seen anything like it, and I am a major book lover. It truly tops all your other wonderful works. I lovingly look, really look at every little thing. This will be a joy forever. I am so glad I found you!! xox, sandy 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Me too Sandy!!

      • mary spring says:

        dear Susan…I received my book last night… GOODNESS !!!… we all love it !!! …your and Joe’s story is so magical !!.. so meant to be !!!… and, now, I’m enjoying exploring this appendix…YOU GIVE SO MUCH !!…such a great service.. I love what Sandy says..”lovingly look, really look at every little thing…this will be a joy forever”… and, me too , I am so glad I found you !!!!..take care and with love, as always….

        • sbranch says:

          Oh thank you Mary, since making my parents Easter baskets and hiding them when I was little, this has been the thing I love the most, surprising people … I’m SO glad you like it!

  18. Hi Susan,

    The link to the video you made at Sissinghurst is not working, but I went to your channel and found it there. I’ve read a little more today in the book….I love your watercolors of Charleston. Your post on that during your trip was fantastic. Did you go home and give a corner of your house the Charleston look? Please post a photo if you did! I have a copy of English Country Houses, too! (p. 113). I will have to go back and explore all the links to these wonderful houses later like Hever. We are thinking that if we ever get to England we just might do the footpath tour first (we’re not getting any younger) where they transport your bags to the next B&B for you. I’d like to know if any of your readers have done that and just how many days do they recommend. Will I be worn out after a week? Two weeks? Your description of Smallhythe Place garden was lovely. I felt I was there even without seeing your video of it again. I’m so glad you linked back to all your posts. Each and every one of them were wonderful and a joy to read again. Well, I’ll call it a day. My eggs are laking! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      LOL! Love the way you signed off — our new private joke! I’ll check on Sissinghurst, thanks Cathy! I’ll let someone else answer your question about the footpath tour, but for myself, I would do it in a minute. You can always stay in a town two or three days if you want. Get those eggs to stop laking.

  19. Charlene H. from So. Calif. (S.F.Valley) says:

    Susan…I received AFR a few days ago and have tried to keep myself from just gobbling it up! But even though I have not finished reading, I had to stop and tell you how much I loved reading the story of how you and Joe met! I have now read pages 13-35 twice! And each time, I laughed and (spoiler alert!!!) imagined your phone call to Diana from the Lenox! If I was a screenwriter or playwright, I would just have to insert that hysterical conversation/dialogue in some scene! The axe, the sparkling melting snow, and your mom’s visit are absolutely precious moments (I know, I know! “Axe” does not sound precious but it was hilarious!). In these pages, you have captured the perfect “girlfriend” voice of shared confidences and wide-eyed wonder! It is pitch-perfect!!! I smile as I finish typing this and look forward with sweet anticipation to the pages of adventure to come…❤❤❤ charlene

    • sbranch says:

      I spoke to Diana yesterday, laughing as usual, which is what we do best. She likes to suggest things to me . . . here’s a recent email from her and you will see why I adore her so …

      “I’m in a hurry but I wanted to tell you about something that popped in my head. The book made me want to go to England for the first time (even though I don’t like old things!). If it had that effect on me, it probably will make many more people want to go there. So what if the girl who wrote to the queen in 1958 (so weird) for an autograph and was turned down, becomes the girl who is knighted by the queen for doing so much for their tourism??? Love you, Diana”

      She thinks I’m weird 🙂

      • Charlene H. from So. Calif. (S.F.Valley) says:

        LOL…I love it! You share confidences, encourage one another and share childhood memories! Those little “pokes” of jest are absolutely endearing! A wonderful, life-long friendship…what a treasure. ♥♥♥

        • sbranch says:

          She’s a doll — and as a nurse she’s also helped most of the babies get born in San Luis Obispo in the last thirty years. She’s a wonder!

  20. Cecelia says:

    Hi Susan! I just started my book today and LOVE IT!!! I just checked out a couple links from the “Stars”. What a great idea.
    Your first chapter on your “love story” and how you met Joe was adorable and had me LOLing with his little (and yours) comments/interjections.
    I’m reading it page by page and no peeking ahead. I love all your books, but I’m thinking this is going to be my favorite.
    Thank you taking the time to make it as perfect as it is!!

    • sbranch says:

      So glad you like the Appendix — you can probably tell I had fun putting it together! Thanks for writing Cecelia!

  21. Millie Ellis-Deal says:

    When I came home for lunch my copy of, A Fine Romance, had arrived, what a wonderful surprise and of course, I had to take it back to work with me so I could enjoy just looking at the cover and contents.
    I ordered another one or a wonderful lady I work with who has resigned. Her last day will be next Friday, Aug. 9th. She will be surprised when she gets her copy in the mail.
    I am enjoying the book but reading it to quickly and I know I will read it more than once.
    Hopefully my husband and I can make a trip to England next year. Since we are both retired and I only work when needed at Hospice, we will be staying longer than a week.
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful romantic trip and stories with us.

    • sbranch says:

      My pleasure. And thank you for your work for wonderful Hospice! What a thoughtful thing for you to do for your co-worker. She’ll know it mattered that she was there xoxo

  22. suzanne says:

    Thank you so much, Susan! Here’s my plan…..
    I read through once cause I couldn’t wait to read everything…
    I’m going to read it again and THEN I’m going page by page with your appendix…this way the fun lasts longerererer….but here’s one thing I wanted to do….
    I’m waiting for your special blend tea to arrive so I can do my rerereading while sipping your tea… I’ve been checking ‘the shop’ but it hasn’t arrived…any ETA…?
    And of course the pear cidah… have to get hold of some of those too …..
    This is sooo much fun, I never thought it would be like this!

    • sbranch says:

      I think it will be here before the end of September. The tins are taking the longest. Maybe I should start with just the tea and then do the tins when they come in? That tea is perfect with our book, I know because that’s how I wrote it! I never thought it would be like this either — it’s like we all did the same thing, and now we can talk about it! Over tea! HAPPPPPPY!!!!

  23. Today’s reading comments: Do you mean to tell me Joe did not get a photo of you in the clothesline before he rescued you?! THAT would have been worth a whole post!

    I love Serendipity! She’s my best friend–never a moment of boredom with HER. 🙂 Weathericks was truly a find. I could really get in touch with your “chilled to the bone” walk. It is that kind of day here in Maryland, perfect stay-in-doors-reading-about England-sort-of-day. I’ll be making Rachel’s Lemon Butter Cookies as soon as I buy a lemon. Yum! I don’t recall seeing the video before that you linked to on pg. 140 on your drive through the Peak District. Wonderful! I fear you’re just whetting our appetite for MORE! I’d love to see ALL your photos and videos, so if you ever run out of Blog post ideas, you could always just post more photos. Label it “Photo Album”…no need to write about them. Your photos are worth a 1,000 words!

    The teapot on pg. 141 is beautiful! Can you show us a photograph sometime of it…..although I wouldn’t be surprised that your painting of it is lovelier than the real thing. I love the ♡ handle. The writing on this page, is it painted or do you use a calligraphy pen?

    That’s all for now. I’m saving Ambleside for tomorrow.

    • sbranch says:

      He forgot the camera!!! Of course he was afraid of losing me at the time! I have gazillions of photos and videos, truly, they’re kind of filling up my computer! 🙂 But I did use lots of the best ones. Sure I’ll show you a photo of the tea pot soon. The writing on that page is painted. I don’t use a calligraphy pen, so you can pretty much depend it’s painted.

  24. Sharon Calvert says:

    FYI … there seems to be a glitch with the following link:
    (1st reference under pg.85) National Trust Holiday Cottages … brings up Road signs in England; (2nd reference under pg.114 is okay)

    Am so enjoying the wealth of information you’ve shared!

    Hugs from Alabama

  25. Ann says:

    Hi Susan,

    How to begin to tell you how wonderful A Fine Romance is??!! I want to read it slowly, just to savor each page, but how can I when I can’t put it down? I knew it would be great and worth the wait, but it is completely beyond my expectations!

    Your love story of Joe is funny, touching–I can completely relate since I feel the same about my Ed!! I keep reading bits of pieces to him, and he loves it! Ever since we visited England several years ago, it’s always been our dream to go back–I think it’s so difficult to explain the beauty and uniqueness of the English country, but you certainly did it proud!

    Thanks for a beautiful book that I know I will treasure and read over and over again!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s hard to show the beauty, because if you are there, you can smell it and hear it, that’s part of it — it’s a six-sense sensation — all the normal five are involved to the nth degree, and then my favorite, the 6th one I call Imagination. So you can see the fairies and the hear the footsteps in the woods of the generations that came before. They make it very easy, all “decorated” from the past, you can forget it’s 2013! Hello to Ed, and thank you Ann!

  26. Debby Suovanen says:

    Oh my goodness gracious! I got my book yesterday and I just finished devouring it. Every story, every drawing, every picture – just a treasure! I’m already planning in my mind my future visit to the dales and glens and footpaths of the English countryside where I can visit their pubs and taste some “Peah Cida” for myself. I think your friend, Diana, was right. You are bound to spur on so much tourism for the UK that the Queen will lavish upon you the title of Dame Susan. And justly so, for your book is charming and quaint. I know that I will read it over and over again. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us!

  27. OK. The Lemon Sugar Cookies are spending their obligatory hour in the refrigerator while I head for Hill Top Farm. I will tear myself away to cut the dough into slices, and while they’re baking, I’ll heat a kettle of water for tea, and return to enjoy a beautiful, sunny day here in Maryland with you there in the Peak District.

  28. Where do I start?! With the cookies….My husband thought they were great. I’ve never made cookies with cornmeal before. Mine were rather chewy (should I have used finer ground cornmeal?) and not as sweet tasting as I’m used to in cookies (even though I added the optional sugar crystals on top) …..and maybe that’s the reason I wanted to keep eating them (I hadn’t satisfied my sugar fix yet)….or maybe I shouldn’t have used an extra large lemon for zesting…..At any rate, they’re still very, very good–just have to get used to the texture!

    Now back to the book…the Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake will have to wait until I have company. It sounds much too scrumptious to leave around just me and my husband. I’m so glad you found the Walking with Beatrix Potter book helpful! It was so wonderful to read your thoughts and feelings about your visit to Hilltop Farm. I got excited all over again for you. I especially love the watercolor on pg. 159 of Beatrix under the tree with her sketch pad and her dog and the Foxgloves on pg. 161.

    I’ve read parts of Wordsworth’s sister’s journal, and your description of their cottage and the surrounding landscape brought it all back to me. As for your confession, in print no less, about what happened at Hilltop garden…..if you need character witnesses at your trial, you have mine, along with several thousand others’ I’m sure.

    Did you buy one of those hats on pg. 173? I like the third one–looks very Beatrix Potterish. Early on when you said you forgot to pack a pencil sharpener I wondered if you’d find something special there….and you did!

    I hope you will never doubt your ability to write prose! When I got to pg. 174 and your description of your outing in Windermere (I don’t want to spoil the surprise for others so I won’t say what you did) I got goosebumps. What a delightful surprise–you said nothing on the Blog about this day! And I wholeheartedly agree with your plan on pg. 179. If I ever go, I think I shall do the same thing. In the meantime, I have YOUR memories….whose to argue with me that they’re not MINE now.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m told that English people don’t like things as sweet as we do … so their cookies are more like a biscuit, only not OUR biscuits! Perfect for tea and coffee.

      Painting while actually in England was almost spiritual, like a step back in time, good especially on those rainy days.

      Thank you for being my character witness! I think that court scene could be pretty cute!

      Yes, Windermere, what an amazing moment I’ll never forget, or should I say, we’ll never forget! 🙂

  29. janet gorrell says:

    Oh my gosh–this is all too wonderful. My book arrived on Aug. 1st and I keep sneaking away to read and check a link on the appendix—just watched Ginger and Fred dance. Thank you so much for all of your work on our behalf. Next best thing to being there myself—maybe in the future.

  30. Janie from Temecula says:

    Hi, Susan, happy Sunday!

    I went to my mailbox this morning and found “A Fine Romance”. Yippee! Yahoo! I finished it in one sitting. Thank you for this book, what an inspiration! Visiting England is now on my bucket list, along with my best friend from Jr High (BFF for 49 years)!

    Can’t wait for your next book!


  31. I decided to head into the Yorkshire Dales this evening after all and not save it for tomorrow. Am listening to September in the Rain as I write. I am once again enjoying your descriptive prose of the beautiful countryside…..and then on into Middleham and the white kitty in the window. Whenever I pass by a cat in the window I always take a picture of it, too. Why is that? I think I must identify with the poor creature longing to be “out there” instead of where she is….

    I have a bone to pick with Joe! He LET you lean out of a moving car??!! What would we have done if we lost you??!! Bloody Hell is right! But whew! So glad we didn’t know about this until you were home. We’ll have none of that risk-taking, do you hear, on your cross country trip. Now that we know just how daring you are between Beatrix’s garden and York’s curvy roads, we ladies in the suitcases are going to keep a much closer eye on you. 🙂 OK, scolded enough.

    Back to the book and your illustration on pg. 188–it could be from a children’s book! So perfectly lovely. And the full-page, bordered painting of the old Jug and poem are exquisite. How did you ever manage that faint, tiny writing on the jug. You said once you do not reduce your drawings–you draw them as we see them.

    One more thing and I’m calling it a night, your Beatrix Potter quote, “…warm their own hearts with the treasures of home” was perfect for what you had to say about how far the Romans came to conquer new lands. I know for me, though, I sometimes have to go away for awhile and come back home to appreciate what I have. Your little (big) book, in a sense, takes us to new lands from which we can return home in order to see what we have right here….with the new eyes we acquired on our trip with you. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I honestly cannot see how we could have gotten that camera lens any other way. To park, and walk back, on that narrow road, insane, not to mention, no parking places. We couldn’t stop, because someone would come around the bed and hit us. There was no place to pull over, it was really quite something else. But we did it. And after all, as the oldest of eight children I have done lots more daring things than that (mostly not on purpose though!). Like riding on a motorcycle with one of my brothers, with my nice long fingernails indenting his tummy to “remind” him, “baby on board.”

      Yes, that jug is painted to size, I just sort of faked the writing as best I could!

      Walking on the beach this morning, clear, cool, almost fall kind of morning, breeze, ocean, I thought to myself, how could it get any better than this! Stopped my longing for England for a full 15 minutes or more!

  32. Georgie says:

    Susan! I’m just seeing your in depth index now! You’ve written a whole new book 😉 I printed out your blog from England as you wrote it so I could remember all of the day’s events (before I had to climb back into the suitcase…) Now I’m totally absorbed in A Fine Romance (T-O-T-A-L-L-Y xoxo). To really see the depth of the Index is like finding wrapped specialty chocolates on my pillow every evening (without the calories!)

    Thanks for adding so much to our adventures! Soon my precious copy of A Fine Romance will take it’s own adventure to MV! I Can’t Wait!
    Georgie, NJ

    P.S. I’m hoping that your cross country book signings will continue across the great pond to the folks in the dear English Countryside so they can share in the joy of the Romance too! Pack an extra bag… we will want to come along!

    Isn’t this just AMAZING Susan! xoxo

    • Georgie says:

      I forgot to write… 3 types of beads??? Really? Oh My! I want to pre order already!!! I would love to guess which sayings you selected…

      Susan Branch ~ Girlfriends Forever
      Susan Branch ~ A Fine Romance
      Susan Branch ~ Heart of the Home

      Am I close? Ok! I will wait and be surprised!!! XOXO

      Georgie NJ

      • sbranch says:

        Very close. We have Girlfriends, A Fine Romance, and Martha’s Vineyard! I have two others in mind if every one likes these. Kitty Love (a cute black and white bead!), and yes, Heart of the Home! We’re supposed to have them by the end of August!

    • sbranch says:

      It is Georgie, it’s just amazing. All my other books I wrote alone, a huge gulf between me and the people I was writing them for, at least physically. And NOW? Heaven!

  33. Catherine says:

    It just keeps getting better and better! The videos are wonderful. The gardens, the tiny roads, the sheep, the green, green expanses–all come to life to add to the joy of the book….what a treasure. I, too, plan to keep my copy out and handy where I can see it, show it off, and continue reading and looking at all the ‘extras’. So happy to have found the wonder that is you!

  34. Lisa Nelson-Jones East Tn says:

    Ok, no one has asked thus far, so I must: what kind of Earl Grey/ Lavinder tea is it that has you under its spell? I must have some!

  35. “I think I missed it. Can you back up?” What?! So you can tease that weak bridge and the Fates?! I was in the very back of the car in the suitcase and did not hear that remark at the time. Really, Susan. You aren’t kidding about being daring. :-0

    Pg. 198 The Bibury Photo Album was lovely. You’ve given me ideas for my scrapbook photo albums. I like how you draw a border around the photos. Your handwriting makes everything special.

    Another English movie I recommend, if you believe in fairies, is the 1997 movie “Fairy Tale – A True Story”: youtu.be/zxnhtbaBXJc It’s based on the true events surrounding the Cottingley Fairies: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cottingley_Fairies

    So darling on pg. 205–the lambs kicking up their heals and how you interposed the photograph of the house. Whose house is that anyway? Really strange roof line! I add my Thank You to the English not tearing out/down all that is old and charming about England.

    What a charming interview of Rosemary Verey in your Appendix. I enjoyed seeing her garden covered in snow. The room where she was shown in front of the fireplace writing in her garden diary by candlelight….was that part of the restaurant dining room now? Were you able to see it? I read that Barnsley House was built in 1667. I couldn’t find out very much about the house itself. In the video Rosemary mentioned she had “grassed over” her mother-in-law’s borders, so it sound like her husband may have grown up in the house. It’s too bad her children couldn’t have kept the house. I read that their son Charles kept it up after her death until it was bought and converted into the hotel.

    Pg. 208…so pretty, the garland of flowers in pink and the “More Whimsy” in lavender. Did you ever plant the Lamb’s Ear you talked about?

    Finally! I’ve been so eager to see the cottage at Siobhan’s! But you don’t show any photos of the inside! By the time Beatrix Potter started raising sheep wasn’t she pretty much through writing and painting her children’s books? That may be why she never did a story about sheep–she hadn’t fallen in love with them yet. But you have!! So perhaps you are to write and illustrate those sheep stories….she left you that legacy!

    Siobhan sounds like a very interesting person! Does she have a Blog? Another British Blogger I read leaves a bunting triangle, what she calls “yarn bombs”, stitched onto fences in the countryside for walkers to come upon. It must be the fairy blood in them!

    “It’s not down on any map; true places never are.” What wonderful quote by Herman Melville! For me it means that the true places are all in our imaginations–it’s any place or way of being you can imagine.

    Tomorrow it’s on to the Pubs!

    • sbranch says:

      Love going on the trip with you Cathy! 🙂 This really is a book club! I thought I might save the inside of Siobhan’s cottage for another blog, so we could all go back together. She doesn’t have a blog, I think it would be too permanent for her. She really loves the moment, just as it comes. Yes, British people very obviously have fairy blood in them, you can see results everywhere you turn. Have a good time in the Pubs!

    • I must have really been tired from our walking about Tetbury yesterday. I found a misspelling in my comment! “Lambs kicking of their heals”, of course, should be “heels”….must have been a Freudian Slip because your book is very healing. 🙂

  36. oh susan! my book arrived friday, just in time for my family and i to leave on vacation saturday. we are at the ocean for the whole week…i have been enjoying reading it by the seaside. my two absolutely most favorite things…books and the ocean! most epsecially susan branch books!!!! this book is so different from your others, it is like reading a novel, and i love love love it!!! i keep laughing out loud, and saying things like, “oh, i have to try that”, or “oh, i have to go there!” i am about to drive my little one, who has just turned nine, crazy with curiosity! lol…he has insisted that the minute i am done reading it i must read it aloud to him! so funny he is…he loves books as much as i do. we read your other books together, and he enjoys your blog with me. we went on our first cruise (it was not a crossing) this past march, and he is excited to hear about yours. as i read “A Fine Romance”, it brings back memories of our cruise that i didn’t even realize were there. your description of everything sparks little pieces of our trip to pop into my mindseye. sitting by the ocean to read it is the perfect setting…it could not have come at a better time! i am up to may 29th, and cannot wait until you get to beatrix potter’s home! i have had a lifelong admiration (read infatuation) for her and her books. i treasure my complete set of peter rabbit books, and both my boys were well versed on all 23 of them by the time they were 3 years old. now the youngest is well versed on all books by you too…my 24 year old is more into philosophy and psychology these days, but has fond memories of our days of reading beatrix potter’s beautiful books. thank you for such a wonderful and inspiring book! i have always loved journal type books and this one of yours now tops the list as my most favorite! i have several journal or memoir type books (some are actually letters written by the author) that i truly enjoy reading…”all the best” by president george w. h. bush, “a memoir” by barbara bush, “a house by the sea: a journal” and “at seventy: a journal” by may sarton, “my own cape cod” and “still cove journal” by gladys taber, “i love you, ronnie: the letters of ronald reagan to nancy reagan” by ronald reagan, “my extraordinary ordinary life” by sissy spacek, “the autobiography of benjamin franklin” by benjamin franklin (not a journal, but very interesting…ben was a very funny man), “on writing: a memoir of the craft” by stephen king…i love all sorts! i think this type of writing gives such wonderful insight into who people are. relish in all the wonderful comments from everyone. you deserve that and so much more! i have always given your books as gifts and this one is going to my closest and dearest for sure!

    • sbranch says:

      So happy to hear from you Sandi — I’m so glad you’re enjoying A FINE ROMANCE. Please tell your 9-year-old I said a special hello! Love hearing your favorite journal-type books. You have to run and get Mark Twain’s autobiography edited by Charles Neider — I can tell you would LOVE it! Yes, the autobiography of Ben Franklin was a real eye opener for me when I was young! My favorite is how he consciously tried to make himself a better person. Have a wonderful vacation and thank you!!

      • Sandi says:

        That sounds like a book I would enjoy…looked it up online. Imagine if all people like Ben, would strive to better themselves. We visit Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home at least once a year, and there is as much talk of Benjamin Franklin during the tour of the house as there is about Jefferson. They were great friends and he visited Jefferson often. Monticello is beautiful in May when everything is in full bloom, and then again in July, August, and September when the vegetable gardens there are in full growth. There is another place I would love to visit, and that is the home of A.A. Milne…my older son was a Winnie the Pooh fanatic! We found out as he was about to turn 4, that he shares the same birthday as Christopher Robin Milne…August 21st. Christopher Robin actually received Edward Bear (Winnie The Pooh) from his father on his 1st birthday, making August 21st, Pooh Bear’s birthday too. Talk about one excited little boy! So, 20 years ago we sent out invitations to family and friends asking them to come celebrate not only my son Drew’s birthday, but also the birthday’s of Pooh and Christopher Robin. Everyone was so enthusiastic that they all brought gifts for Pooh Bear too! Jars of honey, a new shirt for him sewn by my mom, a little quilt sewn by my mother in law, books, a beehive wind chime, and several other thoughtful gifts. It is the birthday Drew remembers most. Such fun and loving memories. He still, as an almost 24 year old young man, recites quotes from Milne’s books. There were many life lessons hidden in what most would consider only a child’s book of make believe. Even though they were written about an actual boy and his childhood dreams and adventures. As you can tell we are big fans of children’s literature. I believe with all my heart that if a child is given the gift of a love for books and reading they will thrive in school and in life. So blessed are those who have received this lifelong gift. I am just sitting down with a hot cup of tea and your book…I will be finished reading it tonight I’m sure. It was a very chilly gray day out on the beach today, but we were out there enjoying it anyway, because the ocean and sky are beautiful in all their glory no matter the lighting. Now, for some cozy time in England. Have a wonderful evening, Susan!

        • sbranch says:

          We went to the NY Public Library just to see the real Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and the rest! If you’re ever in the neighborhood, they are beautiful!

          • Susan, might Sandi’s lovely retelling of her son’s love for a children’s book character be yet another “sign” for your trying your hand at a children’s book?

          • yes! i have had a trip to new york on my list of places to go for the last 5 years…have been there twice as a teenager and loved it! now i want to take my sons there, and a the top of my other list of things to see is the original “pooh and friends” stuffed animals that belonged to Christopher Robin Milne. Drew, as a little boy loved stuffed friends, and every time he got a new friend the first thing he did was run to his room and introduce the new friend (who ever it was…he named every single one of them) to all his other friends! 🙂 each and every one, one at a time. he had all the winnie the pooh stuffed animals and he loved them so. on another note…i finished your book! it was utterly soul warming! thank you susan!

  37. I finished it! Last year just before you left I found a used book called “English Country Pubs” and wished I’d been able to send it to Joe before you left. One could make the whole trip about visiting the Pubs and Tea Rooms!

    I’m enchanted by Lambie-Pie Cuddle-Bunch! Have you looked into having it produced? It is delightful! (Here’s another hint to write and illustrate a children’s book with sheep.) I’d put the Traveling Circus way up there on the list headed “Special”. It seems so quintessential British!

    I especially loved “our” return visit to Sissinghurst to see the White Garden in bloom. It was truly magnificent!

    Jane Austen’s quote that you wrote with the quill pen was so fitting–you both painstakingly hand wrote your stories–only she did not need to concern herself with how neat hers was since it was to be reprinted. I’d say you had the more difficult job of it! A few years ago my husband, who does not dance, graciously agreed to attend the Ball held at the end of a Jane Austen Society conference held in Pittsburgh. He bought a tuxedo with tails. I made him a cravat. I found a long gown from the 60’s with puffy sleeves and high waist in a second hand shop. It was the most fun I’d had in years. Most of the people in attendance were dressed in Regency garb and looked like characters from a Jane Austen movie. Everyone was very gracious as we newcomers learned the steps and often had to point us in the other way as the circle or line changed directions. I highly recommend attending one of the Society’s Balls–they hold them all over the country.

    “…the Atlantic opens her arms for us & we slide right in….” So poetic!

    And now we’re back home–you in beautiful Martha’s Vineyard in your cozy, well-loved home with your two darling kitties and Joe. I love that you brought back more than just the things you bought and that you continue to share these new-found and tried & true bits of wisdom with us.

    Thank you, Susan!

    • sbranch says:

      I loved reading that Cathy, all your thoughts — thank you so much! The Society Ball sounds like so much fun!

      • I loved being able to share my thoughts with you. I was so disappointed that I was not able to meet you last year when I visited the Vineyard (it should be renamed Susan’s Vineyard 🙂 ), but having this place (your Blog and now your book) to read your thoughts and share mine help make up for it. After going with you to England (I didn’t bother to put quotes around GOING because it FEELS as though we DID go, ACTUALLY), being able to chat with you about OUR trip has been wonderful. Thank YOU!

  38. Katalin says:

    Hello Dear Susan! Many thanks for the lovely book you have put together for us. I am enjoying reading from it every evening! Can you share please what that vintage-looking page, “How and where to find them–bluebells in the woods” is? Thank you, Katalin

  39. Alice Potts says:

    Susan you have created a Masterpiece. You left no stone unturned and carried me away with every sentence you wrote. This book will last long after we are gone…..a tribute to the simple, creative hard working way of life which is the foundation of all that is good and beautiful. A twenty first century view and reminder of the essential components of living a worthwhile and meaningful life.

  40. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Great Appendix! Your attention to detail is amazing!!! I can hardly speak a sentence, let alone write one & take great photos & paint beautifully!! Dear Girlfriend I admire your talents & thank you for sharing them with us! I’m so excited getting my bags packed for our van trip, so please tell Joe I’m bringing “everything”, only 10 bags!!! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for the warning information, I’ll make sure Joe leaves some space! You do very well at sentences and comedy! 🙂

  41. Heather Clementson says:

    Loved this book! You are my Beatrix Potter!

  42. Millie Ellis-Deal says:

    I have enjoyed the book three time and will begin reading it once again starting this week. Each time I read it I learn something new.
    I have purchased four copies for Christmas gifts for friends, that I know
    will enjoy reading it.
    Thank you once again for a wonderful journey of “A FINE ROMANCE”.
    I hope the queen will truly end up with a copy of the book.
    I hope you have safe travels on your book signing tour and I’m so happy
    it will appear in the bookstores in England.

    • sbranch says:

      If she does it will be because of people like you Millie because there is no better thing in the world than word of mouth ♥ and look at you! Thank you so much!

  43. Candice OHIO says:

    Hello Susan,
    I have read “A Fine Romance” twice and will be reading it many times more!! I love it so much, at the end I actually had tears in my eyes, because I just wanted it to go on and on!! This appendix to your book is just as charming and I am enjoying reading through it and visiting the websites and watching all the videos that you shared with us. My three friends and I were so excited to meet you at the book signing in Wilmington OH, at Books N More! A dream come true!! I was over the moon for days!! (still am actually!) Next time, (there is always a next time!) I travel to England to see my Auntie & Uncle and cousins, one cousin lives in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire and my other cousins live in Essex about 40 miles north of London, when I visited in 2011, I was there for William and Kate’s Wedding, once in a lifetime event to be part of the millions on the Mall that day!
    In 2006 when my daughter and I visited, we traveled to Shakespeare country, Anne Hathaway’s cottage, Stratford upon Avon and went to the Globe Theatre in London for a play! I still have a very long bucket list of places to visit in England, there is so much history, beauty and charm, something around every corner and over every hill!!

    • sbranch says:

      How lucky you are to have so much family in England! Must make it extra special. They can do the driving for instance! 🙂 And it is great how it does seem there is always so much more to see, much more that we missed, makes it even better! So happy you enjoyed the book, it was my pleasure to write it and share this wonderful place with as many as possible. Such a jewel just sitting there for anyone to enjoy.

  44. Judy Conkle says:

    My trip to England is yet to come, but meeting you, Susan, at The Learned Owl was my dream come true. I was so eager to get there that I pulled into Hudson around 3:00! But I got a parking spot right in front, and I was #6 in line. You were so charming as you signed my books and when I shared the story about my daughter being highly insulted when I suggested that my extra copy might go to a friend. Needless to say, you signed the copy for my daughter!! When I got outside, there was Joe, and we found out that we had a Steubenville, Ohio tie. (Small world.) It was a wonderful day, and as I drove back to Wheeling, WV I realized that my bucket list has one less item. Thank you so much.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Judy, I’m so glad you could make it! We had such an amazing welcome when we got there, I will never for get it!

      • Judy Conkle says:

        My daughter loved her autographed copy of “The book” and thinks we should plan a trip to England as soon as we can. Sounds good to me! There are so many places I want to see—the Emma Bridgewater factory for sure. I now have three mugs that I treasure. Coffee tastes so much better in them! I am on my second reading of “A Love Affair…” and am keeping a notebook handy for ideas I want to remember. No yellow highlighter for that special book. I wanted to tell you that I just found a scarf my second cousin brought me from the 1953 Coronation. For some reason I never used the little square scarf and it still has a gold tag on it. I am going to have it framed to preserve it.

  45. Kathy Korb says:

    Dear Susan,
    Your book is absolutely wonderful and one of a kind! How did you do that??!!
    I am reading “A Fine Romance” for the third time!! The past two times when I have finished the book, I have just gone back to the very first page and started reading over again. I don’t know how long this will continue!! I have printed out the little English sheep bookmark and it is on page 156 (I believe) making friends with the same little sheep in the book!! Thank you for the appendix to scout out the places, things, adventures that we love most!! The QM2 video was awesome, but what was best are your short little videos of the countryside, driving, etc. It is so wonderful to be able to go on a trip without leaving home!! That is what your book/blog do for me! Hopefully, someday we will get to go to England, but until then I am grinning with pleasure with your wonderful book. Thank you and happy book tour traveling!

    • sbranch says:

      I am so glad you’re enjoying it .. . we’re so lucky to have the internet to complete the story with links and videos for more in-depth experience of what it was like. I grinned like a cheshire cat clapping my hands in glee when I included some of those details thinking, the girls are going to LOVE this! 🙂 So your words mean a lot!

      • Kathy Korb says:

        Just wanted you to know; I desperately wanted to attend a book signing to meet you and other girlfriends, but that was not meant to be this time. So instead, on that rainy Saturday, my 10 year old daughter and I ‘started’ the “Jemima Puddle Duck Association” by putting on our ‘Wellies’ and rain gear and went puddle splashing, wiggling our tail-feathers every time we jumped in a puddle!! I think you might have been there in spirit, Miss Potter, too!! Such fun and a great memory!

  46. carolynn says:

    Susan, I must share with you that I (and my granddaughter Ella) have recently received one of those letters from one of the Queen’s Ladies in Waiting. We sent her (in honor of the jubilee) a congrats message and one of Ella’s drawings of the Queen. I shared with her that I watched her coronation on tv in the 50’s with my grandmother and I was now sharing it with my own granddaughter. I guess something must have touched someone (who knows who reads all those letters) because it was charming and now Ella has a letter from the queen written from Balmoral Castle. Thanks for sharing your fine book with us all.

    • sbranch says:

      How perfectly wonderful! I can only imagine how many letters they must get these days, how lucky for Ella! Thank you Carolyn!

  47. Judy Mapston says:

    Got the book at the show in SLO. Love it so far. Cutest book I have ever seen!!

  48. Liz Sobolik says:

    Where do I begin to tell you how much this book (and your website) has meant to me?? From the first page I knew I wouldn’t want it to end. I feel like I’m on this trip right along with you. I’m 3/4 the way through and savoring every page. I love your hand-lettering and watercolor. You put LOVE into every page. I was happily reading about your time in The Mill House, on the page with your smiling friend, Siobhan, with her wonderful fairy-lights! and then … I looked closer… gasp, she has the exact pillow on her red couch that my mother bought for me at Blenheim Castle gift shop, the embroidered pillow with the tree & birds scattered throughout. so fun! I wonder where she got hers. As I’m reading your book I listen to classical music, especially Handel, because I toured his London home last winter. Just 5 minutes ago the mailman delivered Elizabeth and Her German Garden. Now when I’m done with your beautiful book I won’t grieve too badly because I’ll have that waiting. Thank you, Thank you, my new friend. From another happy girlfriend.

  49. Nancy Lamont says:

    Dear Susan
    I just finished your wonderful diary of your trip to England and it brought back such great memories of our trips there, especially the experience of my panic as my husband hit the first round-about. But, it was all worth it as we drove down the single track roads past sheep on the hillsides, through tiny villages each with its own manor house. My fondest memories are of countless high teas, interesting people and ancient pubs. I so agree, that place is full of charm and we can’t wait to go again!!

  50. Lori H from WA State says:

    Thought you’d like to know: just for fun I looked up your name at our local library and A Fine Romance is checked out….all 4 copies….with 12 holds waiting their turn 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  51. Loribeth says:


    I have collected your books since the very first and enjoyed them all but “A Fine Romance” is really the icing on the polenta cake! The appendix is wonderful and I must say I am very impressed with Joe’s driving skills. Those roads are unbelievable. Thanks for a greatly entertaining read and now I am off to find almond flour to actually make that cake. Loribeth from Walpole, NH

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  53. Hi Susan, just wanted to let you know that the link to your video at Sissinghurst seems to be broken. Also, would it be possible to add the link to your Blog post about your visit there. Thanks!

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Cathy … Here is my Sissinghurst page — there are three videos on it, and all seem to be working for me. It this the one you were talking about? Also, which blog post did you want me to add a link to?

  54. Millie Ellis-Deal says:

    Hi Susan,
    I have read your book, “A Fine Romance” 6 times and I enjoy it more and more each time I read it. I have purchased 6 books for close friends and gave them as Christmas gift and they have enjoyed the book also.
    I know this book has been a wonderful success for you. Do you know how many books you have sold?
    I’m looking forward to a trip to England within the next couple of years and yes there is more to England than Big Ben and London.
    Thanking you and Joe for sharing your wonderful experience with us.
    Stay warm and have a wonderful 2014.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh thank you Millie! That’s so nice to hear. I think we’ve sold something around 40,000 books so far ~ you have certainly done your part in that! xoxo

  55. Ellie from Western MA says:

    Dear Susan,
    My daughter gave me “A Fine Romance” for Christmas and I knew I would love it the moment I unwrapped it. First I went through it just soaking in all the great pictures; then I read every word. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!! It’s amazing to me that you hand-wrote this entire book.
    I have been lucky enough to travel to London once to celebrate my grandson’s twenty-first birthday while he was doing his first semester junior year there. He was a wonderful tour guide and we had a wonderful time. He loved being there and I think he would have liked to stay the entire year. We did not leave London proper (which I would have loved to do) because there just wasn’t enough time and his mother and father and I wanted to spend as much time with him as possible. So your wonderful book filled in all the gaps of not getting out to the country. It now resides on my coffee table where at a moment’s notice I can pick it up and take a glorious little “trip” to England.
    I loved that you included a list of inspiring movies and books you love. It pleased me to know that I had already watched “Miss Potter” (more than once) and really loved it. Thank you for this most wonderful book. It fills me with joy.
    P.S. Also being a person who collects quotes, I just love the wonderful quotes scattered throughout the book!! And…the artwork makes me wish I were an artist!!

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  57. I just finished it! Sooo wonderful! My friend and I are planning a trip to England at the end of July for a week. We have been to London before, and have seen most of the big tourist sites there. This time, we would like to see more of the countryside. We love antiquing (both at stores and markets), touring historic homes and charming towns, and having tea. What would you suggest? I was thinking the Lakes District but now I’m thinking the Cotswolds…should we stay there and just drive from town to town, or should we do daytrips from London to see specific places? I’m feeling very overwhelmed…

    • sbranch says:

      To make it simple, I would rent a cottage or flat, or maybe rooms at a Country House Hotel (like Lords of the Manor in Upper Slaughter) in the Cotswolds. Then look at p. 192 in my book for a list of more places than you could possibly see in one week. But be sure to go to Hidcote near Chipping Camden. Have a wonderful time!

  58. Trish Dinsmore says:

    Susan..I am on pg 70 “new rules”. I can’t put your book down. I love it so much. It was given to me by a friend going through chemo right now. Imagine her thinking of me when she is going through her chemo. She is an awesome friend. She knew I would enjoy it too. She went to Ireland before she got sick and now says when she is better she will include England on her next trip to visit Ireland. All because of your book. By the way, I live on Cape Cod. Thank you so much for sharing your adventures with us!

  59. jennifer says:

    I just finished A FINE ROMANCE and I love it! Makes me sad to come to the end….but I know I can go back and start all over again. 🙂
    Such a lovely read.

  60. Nancy says:

    I have started to read your book A FINE ROMANCE and am having difficulty putting it down! I love it so far! I have English roots, but have never been there. My brother, who has passed away has been many times. Now I know why! My husband Peter and I have plans to go someday. Now that I am reading your book I can start planning! And now this ! It brings everything to life! Thank you so much for sharing all of this! Nancy

  61. Becky Maxwell says:

    Just finished your book “A Fine Romance” and I really enjoyed it. It let me visit England and escape my reality for awhile. Thank you.

  62. Kate Karl says:

    I came across your book “A Fine Romance” while cruising the internet. Just finished reading it and loved it. I went to your web site and have spent the last 3 hours looking at just a small portion of your site when I finally decided that I really have to do laundry and clean house before heading back to work tomorrow, but I will be back. I have been to Scotland and Ireland but in 2017 I plan an extended visit to England, mostly to do some genealogy research, but also to visit a lot of places that I have dreamed about too. Thank you for your books, art work, and web site I have enjoyed both. As an artist myself of stained glass I can see the love that has gone into every piece that you do and wanting to share it through your books and web site is wonderful. So thank you again.

    Kate Karl

  63. Helen Henderson says:


    I recently finished reading “A Fine Romance” and it brought back such wonderful (and long forgotten) memories of childhood holidays in the Lake District. I have lived in Australia for many years and wondered if the England I vaguely recall was real. I am so glad it still exists. Now I just need to plan a long overdue trip back

    So thank you so much. I am “Isle of Dreams” for a short holiday I am taking in two weeks time..but it is very hard not to peek!


    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, it was not a figment of your childhood imagination although I can see why you might think it was! You will be thrilled when you get back. It’s all still there. I wish I could be in your pocket to hear your oohs and aaahs when you see it again! I’m so happy you enjoyed the book!

  64. Lizbeth Goldberg says:

    Dear Susan,
    I just now have your book “a fine romance” and I love it!
    I bought it January 2016, and noticed
    something quite obvious, the poor quality printing of the photos. In fact, it is very distracting from your wonderful book. I own and cherish several of your books and the difference in print quality is substantially noticeable.

    • sbranch says:

      Well, it was printed in China . . . although I’ve not heard this before and was kind of happy with what they did, all my new books are printed in the USA and there will be a reprint of AFR, also to be printed here, so perhaps that will change things. But they are only diaries, not real coffee table books. All printed in highest resolution, but not on the slick paper of magazines, so perhaps that’s what we’ve become used to . . . or even better, the beautiful photos we now get on our computer screens!

  65. Nancy W Brown says:

    I just became aware of your book, A Fine Romance, loaned by a friend who heard we are going to Scotland, Northern England, and Italy in 2 weeks for our 40th anniversary. I looked at your website and blog, where you wrote last about Lakes District and Beatrix Potter, where we were briefly on our 25th anniversary trip. What fun I’m having with AFR book, then saw the appendix on this site, listed by AFR page number, with additional information and videos – more loveliness to look forward to in the countryside of Great Britain.
    I hope soon to hear of your Scotland trip, so much to choose from, it is difficult to decide. My husband wants to see Roman ruins, Hadrien’s Wall and Rome on top of his list. I love how your excitement and diary photos, sketches, and quotes are feeding my heart and soul. I was really only familiar with your calendars and a few books, so now I know I will want to read more of your creativity and sweet memories. God bless you!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Nancy!! Hadrien’s wall is very close to Beatrix Potter’s house in the Lake District . . . just to keep in mind. And the Yorkshire Dales are heavenly. There’s a Roman column next to the Cathedral in York. And all of that is very close together…. easy to see, and so much more in those areas.

  66. Patricia Macias says:

    Just found your website and blog 3 weeks ago and I’m in love ! I purchase the book half way thru it I had to order the other two and joined your facebook page. Love all that you stand for I feel so welcome because all that I love is in these pages. Keep up your great work a friend of mine gave me a small recipe book that I though was so cute it was one of yours. I went looking for it in one of my many book boxes I cannot dare to give away. So I knew about you but just found you and fell in with all that you create teach. Thank you can’t wait for my other two books to come in.

  67. Lise-Lotte Lundborg says:

    Hello !
    I’ve just started reading “A fine romance”, what a wonderful book. I’m from Sweden, but love everything about Great Britain. I wish I could travel there now, but in these strange times we’re having it’s sadly not possible. So I read your book and dream.
    Thank you !
    Kind regards

  68. Val Colvin says:


    Like everyone above, I want to thank you for your book! My 15-year-old daughter and I are studying England for school and I picked up your book at our local library. What a blessed find!! I read books before my her and had to hand it over before I had totally “digested” it. I’m originally from the Cape, but I went south to school and settled in the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains. Before you even got me onboard the QE2 I was transported back home and the bike trips we took on the Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard as a teenager!

    There are not many books, though I’m an avid reader, that have touched me quite like yours. When “I” was in Miss Potter’s garden alone with you and seeing it through your eyes, I found tears in my eyes! I have a cottage garden here in Tennessee and dream of one day it looking wild and settled like the English Cottage Gardens I see online.

    I too love floral illustration and am now motivated to explore watercolors! Thank you for taking me on your adventure in England, for I doubt I can ever go. I had my daughter plan an ideal trip after she too was inspired by yours. Who knows? One day she may walk the paths through Miss Potter’s garden!
    Abundant Blessings,
    Valerie Colvin

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