I have a guest post for y’all today from Sandy Barker. I really think you will enjoy reading about the destinations in her books. I love Tuscany and it is on my list of places that I have to visit before I die. It is such a magical place. At least it feels that way to me whenever I see it in movies or read about it in books.
A Wedding in Tuscany
The Parsons sisters are all loved up.
Sarah is living in Sydney with Josh and their cat, Domino, but is anxious about her fast-approaching fortieth birthday.
And Cat is still living in London with her flatmate, Jane, but is in a long-distance relationship with Jean-Luc, her childhood sweetheart and recently re-discovered love.
One of the sisters receives a surprise wedding proposal – it’s a yes! – and everyone heads off to Tuscany for a destination wedding.
Reunite with favorite characters from the Holiday Romance series in one of the most beautiful locations yet for love, laughter, wedding vows, and just a smidge of sisterly mayhem
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The Holiday Romance Series – Settings
There was a time when I wanted to be a travel writer. I dreamt of far-off destinations, taking exquisite photographs and writing about travel experiences for magazines like Conde Nast Traveller. That dream didn’t come to fruition but another did – I started writing travel romances, beginning with One Summer in Santorini.
This book, A Wedding in Tuscany, is the fifth (and final) in the Holiday Romance series and I thought it would be fun to dig into the settings of each book – particularly, why I chose them.
One Summer in Santorini
This book is actually inspired by my real-life love story. Like Sarah, the main character, I was a heart-broken, cynical-about-love 30-something when I took myself off to Greece for a solo holiday. I was about to board a 10-day sailing trip and met a cute (and younger) American guy on the pier – we were both looking for the same boat. Our ‘meet cute’ and subsequent long-distance relationship was the perfect setup for a book set in the Cyclades Islands. We’ve been back (for our 10-year anniversary) and next month we’re going again and taking our 11-year-old nephew. These islands make my heart sing, and I really hope that comes through in the book.
That Night in Paris
I love Paris. LOVE it. In my 20s I was a Tour Manager for Contiki and Paris was our first stop on every tour. As I know it fairly well, it seemed the perfect spot for Cat to unexpectedly meet up with an old flame. The rest of this book follows the tour circuit I worked in my 20s, highlighting some of my favourite European destinations – Rome, Venice, Lauterbrunnen (Switzerland), and of course, Paris.
A Sunset in Sydney
Sydney was my home for nearly a decade so it was an obvious choice for Sarah and Cat’s hometown (something I introduced in Santorini). This book includes 3 other destinations, however, starting in London, where Cat lives as an ex-pat Aussie. I lived in London in my 20s and it has always felt like a home away from home for me. I’ll be back there next month as well, and I cannot wait. (Aside: I am setting my next series there too.) This book also includes two trips, one to Maui that Sarah takes with Josh (the cute American from Book 1) and one to New Zealand that she takes with James (the silver fox, also from Book 1). My first trip to Hawaii was a revelation for me – I’d been told that it is over-hyped, but my experience was the opposite. It was breathtaking. I’ve now been there twice, and have visited Maui (twice), the Big Island and Kauai. (Another aside: Kauai is where my next book is set, the follow up to The Christmas Swap). And, New Zealand has long been a fave destination. We’ve been 4 times and will happily return. It’s a beautiful country and its landscapes are so diverse, so spectacular. Highly recommended.
A Sunrise over Bali
This destination was a bit of a ‘no-brainer’ for me, as my partner and I lived on Bali for two months during our 2018 year-long sabbatical. I knew I would send one of the series characters to Bali (also on sabbatical) and Jaelee, Cat’s friend from Paris, seemed the perfect fit as she was the most tightly wound and most in need of a break from her life. Of course, it’s a romance, and she quickly meets the Hot Scot, Alistair. The last 1/3 of the book is set in his hometown, Edinburgh, where we spent a (glorious) 9 days in 2018. It is an extraordinary city and I’m excited to return there next month as well, to meet my agent, Lina Langlee, and my close author friend, Nina Kaye – both in person for the first time!
A Wedding in Tuscany
I knew some time ago that I wanted to bring all the characters from this series back together for one final story and I had originally planned to set this story in France – we were supposed to travel to wine country in 2020 during a European trip and I was going to set this story there. Then, when we couldn’t travel anywhere, I had to consider where I could write that would feel as authentic as my other books. (I only write places I have lived in or visited enough times to make the setting authentic).
And the answer was Tuscany! It was a destination on the tours I ran in my 20s, so I knew a lot of the ‘city states’ as they’re called – Orvieto, San Gimignano, Sienna – but I decided to set the book in a town called Montespertoli. That’s where we stayed in 2016 when we travelled to Italy with my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew. It’s just a beautiful spot and ended up being the perfect setting for this book.
Thank you so much for having me and for being on the blog tour. I hope you enjoy A Wedding in Tuscany.
Sandy is a writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover and a coffee snob.
Sandy lives in Melbourne Australia with her partner, Ben, who she met while travelling in Greece. Their real-life love story inspired Sandy’s debut novel One Summer in Santorini, the first in the Holiday Romance series with One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins.
The series continues in That Night in Paris and A Sunset in Sydney and there are two more to come in 2022. Her standalone novel The Christmas Swap celebrates her favourite time of the year, and next up is The Dating Game, a laugh-out-loud romcom set in the world of Reality TV.
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