Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Rhys Celebrates a Release

 
RHYS:  Saturday was apparently National Paperback book day (who knew there was such a thing?), and it was appropriate for me as this week I celebrate the release of the paperback edition of THE LAST MRS. SUMMERS.


The book came out in hardcover last year, with little fanfare, of course, as there was no book tour and only a couple of Zoom events. But it managed to reach #10 on USA Today list, and most recently won the Agatha Award for best historical mystery.  I should be happy--right?

But now, as I look at the paperback, I'm feeling a great sense of loss and nostalgia. Because, you see, the book takes place in Cornwall (a homage to Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca) and this marks the second summer in a row that I have not been able to be in England, staying with relatives in Cornwall and enjoying the magical surroundings.

Usually we fly to England and get straight on a train in Paddington Station, heading for Truro. There we pick up a car and negotiate those scary Cornish lanes (hardly ever wide enough for two vehicles to pass) until we reach my sister-in-law's manor house.

 It's at the end of a half-mile drive, with a river at the bottom of its land. There we just feel all tension slip away. We are outside the real world. We can walk through woodlands, sit on lawns, sip a Pimms, eat a cream tea. Absolute heaven!









But we still don't feel comfortable traveling to England (where case rates are rising alarmingly) and my brother-in-law is very ill, making a visit not wise at this time. So I think I'm going to re-read my own book to remind myself about all the things I love about Cornwall.

Number one is the coastline--little fishing villages nestled between cliffs. Sandy coves to swim in. A feeling of fairy-tale.

Number two is the people. To say they are nice is an understatement. They call you 'my lovey'. Time has no meaning. I was once rushing to catch a ferry when an old man, sitting on the dock, looked up at me. "You don't need to run, my lovey," he said, "He won't be going yet. He's still having his dinner."

And number three is the food. We indulge in all the things we avoid all year: Cornish pasties come first and we have to have one on the first day, from the Oggi Oggi Pasty shop in Falmouth. Then cream teas--plenty of those too with Cornish clotted cream and homemade jam. Oh, and the clotted cream is used to make ice-creams too.  I once took a group of hiking friends to Cornwall. They were super-fit ladies, who watched their diets. I warned them they may have to bend those diets a little. They tried Cornish ice cream once and thereafter it was a main point of every day to find a new ice cream shop!  And lastly fish and chips, made with local fresh fish.

I'm sighing as I'm writing this. I'll be reliving through my photos and going back to read Mrs. Summers again.

So dear Reds, what are you missing most about not traveling? What's the first place you'll go to when we can move freely again?

42 comments:

  1. Congratulations on the paperback release of your book, Rhys . . . I had no idea there was such a thing as National Paperback Book Day . . . .
    Cornwall sounds like a perfectly lovely place . . . like everyone else, I’m so looking forward to being able to travel again; most of all, I miss being able to visit family . . . .

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm so sorry about your brother-in-law being ill, Rhys. From your descriptions, Cornwall sounds like an idyllic place, especially the relaxed old guy telling you not to rush.

    When things open up, like Joan, I'll head straight for family. My 94-year-old uncle Richard in San Francisco. My sister in Ottawa, Canada. My younger son in Puerto Rico (who is here for another 8 days, but his visit is rushing by so fast). And only then will we think about rescheduling our British Isles trip, canceled from May 2020.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Congratulations on the release of The Last Mrs Summers in paperback. It's a terrific book and I was thrilled that you won the Agatha for best historical mystery. I bought it in hardcover last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. Belinda is a wonderful character and the Cornwall setting was divine. I especially loved how you brought Darcy into the story. It was just perfect. I also bought the Audible which I loved. Instead of a reread, I recommend a "listen." I have all of the Royal Spyness books on Audible now and I know I'll listen to them all again.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I loved this book too Rhys--a highlight of the pandemic nightmare year. I have a trip planned to visit my 94 year old uncle. Who knows if that will happen? And fingers crossed for a trip to Iceland. Sigh...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Since I don't really do much traveling, I can't say that I've missed out on taking off for any far away destination.

    I do miss not being able to go to places that I used to go without thinking of anything but getting there. Concert venues, convention centers and places like that.

    About a month ago, I had planned to attend New England Crime Bake. I was waiting for registration to open because I could actually afford to go! I could swing the conference cost and the one night in the hotel that I'd need. It would've been my first ever book convention/conference and since so many authors would be there that I read, it would be signed book nirvana for me.

    But thanks to rising infection rates, that plan got shot to hell and I'm not chancing things so I ended up passing on going to it. The weekend before Crime Bake was going to be the Rhode Island Comic Con where an artist I wanted to meet was scheduled to be in attendance. That's out too.

    So I'll miss not taking the small scale trip to those two spots this year but better safe than sorry. Here's hoping this will someday (at this point maybe I should say some year) end and I can get back to doing the things I actually want to do without having to check the CDC website to see if it is okay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Crime Bake might have to go virtual, Jay, which is sad - but makes it available to more people. And you can go next year in person! Safe is always better.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. I think that has to be the mantra, Edith. Just like your grandmother said, better safe than sorry. Especially for events that come around again every year.

      Delete
  6. Congratulations on the paperback release of THE LAST MRS. SUMMERS. It's on my TBR pile, and I promise to get to it this summer.

    I'm sorry that your brother-in-law is so ill. This is one of the biggest issues of the plague year, now year and a half, the inability to be with loved family and friends who are in crisis.

    We'd planned to go to Raleigh this month to meet Finn, my adorable eight month old first great grandchild. But that seems unlikely. Travel with the potential of serious illness is unwise.

    Julie wants to know if you are watching "The Pursuit of Love" on Prime, more Mitford drama of course! She is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ann, the sad thing in England is no visitors in hospital so his wife and family have hardly been able to see him in months

      Delete
    2. That must be heartbreaking. I was in the hospital twice for surgeries on my ankle, and no one could be with me. It was terribly hard and I wasn’t even ill

      Delete
  7. OH, I have to say I am very happy at home, Rhys. Sounds like the solution is to invite your book to stay the weekend here!
    It's so difficult, everything, and I am so honored and reassured to know you all.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What lovely photos, Rhys. It sure does look wonderful.

    I'm not much of a traveler, so I'm not missing all that much. I've been to see my sister a couple of times, and that's about it. I'm actually a little excited that Crime Bake might have to go virtual - I wasn't going to be able to make it this year, and if it's virtual I can.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Congratulations on the paperback release, Rhys. It's a wonderful story, very moody, and descriptive of the locale. Cornwall is on my shortlist of places to visit someday.

    It feels very strange to admit to having traveled recently, and to the other side of the world. It was by far the most stressful trip I've ever made, though. Masking, vaccine, testing, and security requirements were stringent, at every juncture. The very idea of "social distancing"--which is stressed everywhere--is ludicrous in an airplane, and the endless queues to get onto or off of one. Thankfully, none of us got sick, but it truly seems like a miracle that we didn't. If our daughter had not insisted so strongly, and made all the arrangements, we would have very happily stayed safely home.

    I was hoping to be able to go to Bouchercon this year, and had a hotel package for it, but the reports of full to bursting hospitals in NOLA were enough to keep me from signing up. Toni McGee Causey, who lives there and has relatives in the medical field, says it is a horrible situation.

    Best wishes to your brother-in-law, Rhys. I wish him better health soon.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Congratulations on your paperback release! Sit tight. I see vaccine-shaming starting and more facemasks. Last week we attended an outdoor Cincinnati Opera performance, sitting in socially-distanced pods. We were the only ones in the audience wearing masks. Sigh. Carmen under the stars was a treat.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Congratulations on the paperback release. I really enjoyed reading the book last year. Sorry to hear about the brother-in-law. Sending good thoughts. I finally got to see my daughter in NY after almost 2 years. Most people in that area wore masks which made me more comfortable. But yesterday I went to the grocery in MI and most were not masked. I’m spending time with family in the area but have no travel plans as much as I wish to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have a new mask mandate in the Bay Area after being down to zero cases a day! I’m so mad at selfish people

      Delete
    2. Me too! I’m afraid that Governor Whitmer won’t call for a mask mandate because of all the blowback she got last year.

      Delete
  12. I am happy at home, though would love a trip west to see my mum in Alberta.

    Cornwall brings back memories of 99 Flakes, mackerel fishing, and cold beaches. Childhood holidays. Great fun all round!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm not missing traveling so much this summer, but I miss being traveled to if that makes sense. Maine is an alluring destination this time of year, and I usually count on seeing Spencer and Veronique, my sister and her boys, and the odd friend or three. None of that this year.

    Instead, it's me going to Syracuse every two or three weeks. And even I, a daughter of upstate NY, have to admit there's not a whole lot of there there, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have been to Syracuse. You might check to see what's on at the Earlville Opera House, or run out to Cazenovia for a few blissful hours in the art galleries. Self care is important.

      Delete
  14. Happy Paperback Book Day and congratulations on The Last Mrs. Summers! I didn't get much in the way of vacation this year, or even much of a stay-cation, but I have been escaping into books all summer. Sounds like yours needs to go on my list!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Julia, I had a few years of traveling to Rochester, NY regularly to see aging parents and support my sister, who lived there. It's hard all around and wishing you peace and easy travels.(( I got to the point where I planned late flight home would be cancelled.)

    Travel when we can? Strangely we were thinking of Cornwall this year. It came up by chance and the more we knew, the better it sounded. With interesting stops going to and coming back from Heathrow. Maybe next year. And Bouchercon in New Orleans is looking less and less lilkely. I am sad about that. Maybe a road trip to Montreal in the fall.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rhys, yes, fall colors is the plan, plus less crowded Montreal. A long drive, with fun detours, along the Hudson River and then some of the Adirondack Mts. who knows if it will happen. Seem to have left off a para in oringla post: best wishes for your brother in law, maybe a Christmas visit to UK this year for you, and I read Mrs. summers as soon as it came out. What fun!

      Delete
  16. Thank goodness for memories . . . and future plans? I've been putting some of my journals of past trips up on my website, and feeling gratitude to the in-laws who taught the value of trip journals to preserve the memories. Meanwhile, books are delightful travel adventures. Thanks so much for creating them. <3

    ReplyDelete
  17. See, what you give us, Rhys is the experience of living through your words. I love the everything about the UK, and know in my heart I will only see it through the words of others. So...thank you again for your talent.
    I am sorry I am late today. I had a few oh wow's hit me within the last 24 hours. One my brother in law will have a pace maker installed on Monday. and two; Amy did have covid earlier this year. We have suspected this but got the verification recently. So a lot to process. I think y'all know that you serve as a refuge where I can be completely transparent. Thank you for listening.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Coralee, so sorry you’re going through a tough time and glad that our books help

      Delete
  18. On the other hand to answer your question about travel, it would be Canada first, followed by a trip to the Lake Country in Britain.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh, Rhys, so sorry to hear about your brother-in-law. And I know how much you must be missing beautiful Cornwall. I think I'm going to reread The Last Mrs. Summers just to have a little vicarious England.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debs, fun interview with Glen Erik Hamilton last night. Hurray for the Poisoned Pen! I love that they interview so very many authors.

      Delete
  20. Congratulations on the release of the paperback, Rhys! I feel the same way. It is my second summer not escaping AZ to our cottage in Nova Scotia and I am just bereft. I had no idea summers could be this frigging loooooong. *sigh*

    ReplyDelete
  21. RHYS,

    So sorry to hear about your brother in law. And not being able to travel to Cornwall. What I love about reading books is that I can travel anywhere from your books (England) to Alexander McCall Smith's Scotland and Botswana.

    Really miss not being able to travel. Hopefully the pandemic will be over soon with vaccines (still in development) for children under age 12 and we can travel again.

    Places we would love to travel to:
    - Chicago to visit relatives
    - Ashland, Oregon to see locations from the Bakeshop mysteries and the Oregon Shakespeare
    - Prince Edward Island to see the home of Anne of Green Gables
    - London, England to visit the Platform 9 3/4 and see Kensington Palace
    - Cornwall, England
    - Wales
    - Ireland
    - Edinburgh, Scotland to see locations from Scotland Street (AMcCS)
    - Scandinavia
    - maybe Greece

    Diana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can get your photo taken at Platform 9 3/4! Wearing a Hogwartd scarf

      Delete
  22. Rhys, so sorry to hear that your brother-in-law is hospitalized and can't have visitors. This is a dreadful time for a loved one to be ill.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I loved your book, Rhys! Now that Georgie and Darcey are finally married how about more books with them sleuthing together from start to finish?
    As for traveling I feel so bogged down that the idea of a foreign trip is just a daydream, not a potential reality. Bleah. I haven't even made the 100 mile trip west to visit my sister in the boonies. I'm still hoping for a road trip next month to do some househunting and drop in on some of my husband's southern cousins. As usual lately it has to be scheduled around dr. appointments.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Rhys I had to go look.. I reviewed it last fall.. So enjoyable..

    ReplyDelete