I am delighted to welcome Angela to my blog today to talk about her new book A Cornish Christmas at Pear Tree Farm.
Angela grew up in Cornwall and returns frequently from her new home in Nashville, Tennessee to visit family and friends, drink tea and eat far too many Cornish pasties!
A lifelong love of reading turned into a passion for writing contemporary romance and her novels are usually set in the many places she’s visited or lived on her extensive travels. Thanks to over three decades of marriage to her wonderful American husband she’s a huge fan of transatlantic romance and always makes sure her characters get their own happy-ever-after.
A Cornish Christmas at Pear Tree Farm
Pairing up at Pear Tree Farm in time for Christmas …
Pear Tree Farm in Cornwall, owned by the kind-hearted Nessa Vivian, is known for taking in lost souls, and ex-soldier Crispin Davies is certainly one of those. But the once sleepy caravan park is now a thriving business, and far from the peace and quiet Crispin was craving, he soon finds himself roped into helping out with a short-notice Christmas festival, organised by Nessa’s force-of-nature sister, Lowena.
But despite Crispin’s initial reluctance, his involvement in the festival serves to throw him together with Ashley Spencer, an American woman and fellow lost soul, who works at the nearby Tregereth House. Could Lowena’s ambitious scheme result in a more hopeful Christmas and New Year for them both – with a few surprises along the way?
Sequel to A Cornish Summer at Pear Tree Farm
Angela, I have always loved your “transatlantic” romances and am so pleased that you’re back with the second in the Pear Tree Farm series and have given Crispin and Ashley their own story.
Cornwall is a place I love too, so it was lovely to be back at Pear Tree farm which just feels so real, where did you base Polgarth on?
The small village of Polgarth isn’t based on a specific place but I hope that it captures the essence of Cornwall. This is how it’s described by one of my characters:
“They were slap bang in the middle of the lush Polgarth Valley between Redruth and Truro and when the skies were as clear as today he could glimpse the shimmering sea in the distance.”
It was lovely to find out what has happened to Nessa and Ward and join them on their first pear day. But pear hand cream, really? – Do you want to elaborate?
Not really! I assume it would be possible to make pear hand cream but this is fictional so no recipe/directions from me I’m afraid.
Tea or coffee?
Tea with no sugar, no milk and served very hot. I’m lucky that the supermarket closest to us sells PG Tips. I’ve also developed a taste for iced tea since coming to America and drink that with a slice of lemon but again no sugar. I’m not a coffee drinker although I do enjoy the occasional cappuccino – something I developed a taste for when we lived in Sicily.
Clotted cream – love it or hate it?
Love it! After our recent 5-week trip back to Cornwall I almost waddled back on the plane because I’d indulged far too much. Interestingly my American husband isn’t a big fan because he claims it’s not sweet enough – I love him anyway 😊
You’ve skilfully included all the festivals from both sides of the Atlantic from Pear Day, Halloween up to Christmas including Thanksgiving. As a Cornish woman in Tennessee, which do you prefer? Christmas or Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving is less pressured because it’s all about the food so there isn’t the stress about decorations or presents to buy but if I have to choose I’d still go for Christmas because it’s so ingrained in my childhood memories.
What’s Thanksgiving like in the Britnell household?
The location has varied over the years according to where we’ve been living and where our families were at the time but if we’re hosting then the menu is pretty much the same as my husband grew up with: Turkey, Cranberry sauce, bread rolls, sweet potato casserole (more on that below!), cornbread dressing (similar to stuffing but cooked in a baking tin), asparagus casserole and fruit salad. It’s a big day for watching American football on TV so the timing often changes to accommodate that. Now two of our sons live quite a distance away so we won’t be able to see them this year but the youngest lives nearby and he and his delightful wife are hosting so all I have to do is make a Kahlua cheesecake and bring plenty of wine!
Okay. I’ve got to ask. Sweet potato and marshmallow casserole. We’re having a bit of a debate in our household at the moment. We’ve grown sweet potatoes this year. Is this seriously served as a side dish? Do you have a recipe you recommend?
I had to smile as I absolutely hate sweet potatoes but I make the same sweet potato and marshmallow casserole that my late mother-in-law, Jo, used to make – I just don’t eat it! This particular recipe is made with tinned sweet potatoes and is seriously served as a side dish despite being sweet enough to substitute for dessert.
Here’s the recipe – sorry it’s a bit approximate but that’s the way Jo made it!
2 large cans sweet potatoes (about 1200 grams)
30 grams margarine
85 grams sugar
Cook sweet potatoes in a saucepan for about 10 minutes. Drain and then mash. Add in the margarine and then the beaten egg and sugar. Add cinnamon to taste (at a guess I’d probably say about ½ teaspoon – I won’t taste it!). You then stir in enough milk to make a soft consistency. Put this mixture into greased baking dish. Top it with marshmallows (my family like the mini-marshmallows). Bake at 350 degrees F/ 180 C for about 30 minutes until bubbling around the edges and the marshmallows are golden.
Thank you, I’ll try it!
Nessa has decorated and named all her caravans to a theme based on her favourite colours and ice cream flavours, which I think is a lovely touch. If you had to choose which one would you book to stay in and why?
I’ll choose ‘Summer Nights’ – I love the soundtrack from ‘Grease’ and Nessa painted that particular caravan to remind her of raspberry ice cream and I love raspberries.
Can you talk a bit about your writing day?
It varies according to what else is going on in life and where I am in the particular book I’m writing but as a rule I do some admin/social media first thing in the morning and then after lunch is more my dedicated writing time.
What comes first, the person or the plot?
I’m not a plotter so it tends to be either a character or a setting that sparks my imagination and I start off from there and see what happens!
What are you working on next, will we be back at Pear Tree Farm soon? I hope so.
At the moment I’m finishing up a pocket novel as I also write them for DC Thomson. After that I’ll be starting on my summer book for Choc Lit – I don’t think it’s going to be another Pear Tree Farm book but that is possible – there are a few ideas jostling for space in my brain but I couldn’t say yet what’s going to win out!
Thank you so much for dropping in to chat today and I’ll certainly look forward to your summer read. Have a lovely Christmas and a very Happy New Year. I don’t think it’s too early to say that – is it?
Contact information for Angela:
Buying links for A Cornish Christmas at Pear Tree Farm.