#BLOGTOUR THE HUNTINGFIELD PAINTRESS by PAMELA HOLMES #BOOKREVIEW #LoveBooksTours @UrbaneBooks @Pammieholmes
Hugely delighted to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for The Huntingfield Paintress by Pamela Holmes! My thanks to the Author, Publisher and Kelly of Love Books Tours for the copy of the book and putting together such a great tour for me to be part of!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Plucky and headstrong Mildred Holland revelled in the eight years she and her husband, the vicar William Holland, spent travelling 1840s Europe, finding inspiration in recording beautiful artistic treasures and collecting exotic artifacts. But William's new posting in a tiny Suffolk village is a world apart and Mildred finds a life of tea and sympathy dull and stifling in comparison. When a longed-for baby does not arrive, she sinks into despondency and despair. What options exist for a clever, creative woman in such a cossetted environment? A sudden chance encounter fires Mildred's creative imagination and she embarks on a herculean task that demands courage and passion. Defying her loving but exasperated husband, and mistrustful locals who suspect her of supernatural powers, Mildred rediscovers her passion and lives again through her dreams of beauty. Inspired by the true story of the real Mildred Holland and the parish church of Huntingfield in Suffolk, the novel is unique, emotive and beautifully crafted, just like the history that inspired it.
Pamela Holmes was born in Charleston, South Carolina. At the age of eight, she moved with her family to England. She studied nursing at London University as a mature student having spent three years living on a commune in Somerset where she developed a love of gardening, milking cows and laying hedges. She became a health journalist and on-screen reporter. She now works and volunteers to improve the lives of older people including those with dementia, and she sings in a rock band. The Huntingfield Paintress is her first novel. She won the Jane Austen Short Story Award in 2014 and her latest work was awarded Highly Recommended in the HISSAC competition 2015. Pamela is the mother of two boys and lives in London with her husband.
Enchanting and Inspiring were the first words I thought of after finishing this charming story, based on real characters and a true story and it makes you realise the little acts can often be the most impressive and the devotion shown by Mildred Holland shows towards her project was extremely powerful and has meant this story has really touched me.
In 1848, Millie and Wiliam arrive at their new home at the rectory in a quiet little village in Suffolk, a world away from their normal exotic travels and the routine life that awaits them seems to fill Millie with dread. She does her best to fit in but often finds the villagers wary of her despite her best efforts to help them and be part of things. Her husband is busy with his work amongst the parishioners but notices the ever changing moods of his wife but seems unable to lift her spirits.
The church of St Mary's the Virgin is a very run down little church and captures Millie's heart and attention and she has the amazing idea to paint the ceiling - she's seen so many churches on her travel and was drawn to those beautifully decorated so why can't she do the same in their little church?! So that's what she sets her mind to - most unheard of especially by a woman at that time, and even a woman buying a pair of trousers to hide her modesty while she paints turns out to be a big shock!
Her determination is truly mind blowing! she's not put off by having to lie down for long periods to adorn the ceiling but once she decides on something, she's not one for turning! Not all the locals are keen on her project though and some will go to desperate lengths to stop her.
As the story progresses you learn more of what drives her - the heartbreaking reasons behind her changing moods, and even her own failiing health fails to stop her as she is determined to finish what she started.
I just loved everything about this book - the characters, the setting and to feature such an amazing woman who I'd never heard about was a revelation and has had me researching her more and the amazing work that she did. A real treat of a read and a such a wonderful first novel from this author - I can't wait for more!!
While researching more about this amazing woman I discovered this great blog post about the church at Huntingfield over at East of Elveden which you can read here
Don't forget to check out more of the Blog Tour for this amazing book!