Talking Food With… Rachel Burton

In my Talking Food series I’ll be featuring short interviews with authors, chefs, cooks, historians and food writers about their experiences of food, from memories to favourite recipes.

Rachel Burton author

Today I’d like to introduce novelist Rachel Burton, whose new novel The Tearoom on the Bay is due out from Head of Zeus today.

LM: Happy publication day, Rachel! Readers may know you from your previous novels, The Many Colours of Us or The Things We Need to Say. Both of your upcoming books, including The Tearoom on the Bay take place in atmospheric seaside locations. Are they a departure for you in style as well as setting?

RB: In 2018 I spent a lot of time on the south coast due to my husband’s job. I’d never really spent a lot of time by the sea other than when I was on holiday and I really noticed what a meditative experience watching the sea can be, as though the sheer enormity of the ocean makes you realise how short your life can be and I knew then that I wanted to write a book set on the coast. The Tearoom on the Bay is set in the fictional Yorkshire coastal town of Sanderson Bay and while I didn’t deliberately change direction when it came to the style of my writing I did find that by setting a book on the coast a lighter style emerged even though the book deals with difficult themes. I think writing evolves over time as we evolve both personally and as writers and being by the sea and setting a book by the sea definitely saw me make some changes! 

LM: There’s a strong thread of memory, family and stories passed down through the generations in almost all of your work. Is this reflected in The Tearoom on the Bay in the form of recipes?

The Tearoom on the Bay cover

RB: Ellie, our protagonist and owner of the eponymous tearoom, has been inventing recipes for different teas and tisanes since she was a teenager and grew her own herb garden. She dried the herbs and started experimenting with teas – lavender and valerian for insomnia, camomile and rose petals for anxiety, ginger and peppermint for nausea. She grew up in a cafe and her memories are all intertwined with tea. She also believes everybody has a tea that is “theirs” – the pub landlord for example who Ellie is in constant but friendly competition, is gunpowder tea, and Ben, who claims to be a hardened coffee drinker, is Russian Caravan. There is also a recipe in the book for vegan black bean brownies (this is a recipe that readers of my previous books will already be familiar with and now they can finally make them!)

LM: Do you have any particularly strong food memories that you find yourself re-creating in fiction?

RB: My favourite meal has always been afternoon tea – I’ve always loved home baked sweet treats – and there have definitely been a lot of scenes in my books that revolve around tea and cake. I also find that I often write scenes set in restaurants and cafes; I’m much more of a “dining out” person when it comes to socialising.

LM: What was your favourite part of conjuring Ellie’s cafe in The Tearoom on the Bay?

RB: I loved imagining what it would look like, how it would be decorated and thinking about all the care and attention Ellie would have put in to the small details to get her tearoom just so – the shelves with the boxes of loose leaf tea for example, and the way that none of the cups and saucers match and have all been picked up from shops and markets across the world. I also loved inventing the different herbal tea mixtures too! 

Quickfire Round!

Coffee or tea?

Tea of course!

Chocolate or cheese?


Breakfast or dinner?


Favourite beverage to relax with?

Earl Grey tea or a gin and tonic, depending on the time of day.

If you cook what’s your favourite thing to make?

Scones. (I told you afternoon tea was my favourite meal!)

LM: Can you tell us a little more about what you’re working on now?

RB: I’ve just finished the edits for my next book, The Summer Island Festival, which is out in March. It’s also set by the sea – this time on the Isle of Wight – around a music festival and the desperate search for a missing rock legend! There are a lot of chocolate croissants in this book too I’ve just realised!  I’m also finishing up the first draft of my summer 2022 release but I can’t tell you very much about that just yet. 

You find Rachel on Twitter and Instagram and at her website.

If you enjoyed this interview be sure to sign up to my newsletter, for news and exclusive content, including recipes and sneak peeks at work in progress.

Where the Wild Cherries Grow: US Release!

Last week was a great one here; Where the Wild Cherries Grow was released in the US by St Martin’s Press in a beautiful hardback edition.


The response from readers and bloggers so far has been wonderful; a huge thank you especially to Erika Robuck for hosting a recommendation, review and giveaway on her blog, and to Deborah Kalb for hosting a Q&A. Thanks, of course, go to the team at St Martin’s Press for all their hard work too.

Keep your ears out for the audiobook version from Macmillan Audio! Where the Wild Cherries Grow has also been translated into Italian (as La Ragazza delle Ciliegie) and German (as Der Duft von Meer und Thymian). Details on the Books page!

You can pick up a copy of Where the Wild Cherries Grow at the following places: Indiebound / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Books-A-Million / Powell’s

… or of course, your local library. 🙂

L x

The Secrets Between Us: OUT NOW!

My new novel, The Secrets Between Us, is out NOW in ebook format, and the rest of January you can grab it for only £0.99p! (On Kindle and Kobo at least). That’s six months of my life, a lot of swearing, many glasses of wine, a trip to the Alpes-Maritimes, not much sleep, a lot of reading and even more editing, deleting, re-writing and refining for less than a coffee or a fancy croissant!


Here’s the cover blurb:

A gripping mystery with a heart-breaking revelation, The Secrets Between Us is a sublimely satisfying story of lost love, betrayal and the dangers of war. Perfect for fans of Kate Morton’s The Lake House and Dinah Jeffries’ Before the Rains.

High in the mountains in the South of France, eighteen-year-old Ceci Corvin is trying hard to carry on as normal. But in 1943, there is no such thing as normal; especially not for a young woman in love with the wrong person. Scandal, it would seem, can be more dangerous than war.

Fifty years later, Annie is looking for her long-lost grandmother. Armed with nothing more than a sheaf of papers, she travels from England to Paris in pursuit of the truth. But as she traces her grandmother’s story, Annie uncovers something she wasn’t expecting, something that changes everything she knew about her family – and everything she thought she knew about herself…

So if it sounds like something you might enjoy, please do give the ebook a punt. The paperback is due out in April, so physical book-lovers will have to wait until then, I’m afraid. Links below.

As always, it’s an incredibly odd feeling, a new book being released into the world, but so far, I’ve had some great support and reviews from readers and bloggers alike. THANK YOU all!

Now I’m off to work on the next one…

L x



Google Books 



Cover Reveal: The Secrets Between Us

It seems like yesterday that I was going through the page proofs for my new novel with a red pen, thinking “well, I’ll have a few months at least to get used to the idea of this being a real book”. But then, a surprise came through from my publisher: it wouldn’t be months to wait at all. In fact, they were going to be publishing the ebook on the very first day of 2018! (Although you’ll have to wait until April 2018 for the paperback, I’m afraid.)

The team have been working hard over the past few weeks to make sure the book is ready in time, from page proofs to cover copy, to – of course – the cover itself.

So, I’m delighted to be able to share with you all the cover for my third novel, The Secrets Between Us

A gripping mystery with a heart-breaking revelation, The Secrets Between Us is a sublimely satisfying story of lost love, betrayal and the dangers of war.

High in the mountains in the South of France, eighteen-year-old Ceci Corvin is trying hard to carry on as normal. But in 1943, there is no such thing as normal; especially not for a young woman in love with the wrong person.

Fifty years later, Annie is looking for her long-lost grandmother. Armed with nothing more than a sheaf of papers, she travels from England to Paris in pursuit of the truth. But as she traces her grandmother’s story, Annie uncovers something she wasn’t expecting, something that changes everything she knew about her family – and everything she thought she knew about herself…

The Secrets Between Us will be released on January 1st 2018, so if you’re looking for something to read while hiding in bed with a hangover, this one might be the book for you! It’s available to preorder now (as an ebook for £4.99 and a paperback for £6.99). If you’re interested, please do pre-order; it really does help authors immensely.

The book is currently up on NetGalley, for any bloggers and reviewers out there! Keep an eye out for promotions too, which should be running around the release date.

This has been – so far – the hardest book to write, and I’m pretty nervous about how it’s going to be received by readers… But I’ll just have to wait and see, and hope that people enjoy it.

More from me later!

L x

Where the Wild Cherries Grow: a playlist

To celebrate the e-book release of Where the Wild Cherries Grow on the 23rd March, I thought I’d put together something special: a playlist of songs that inspired my writing, remind me of the characters, or just seem to fit the tone of the novel. This is a very mixed bag, from classical nocturnes to Hendrix, but hey, that’s the joy of playlists, right? Without further ado, here we are, a Where the Wild Cherries Grow playlist. I hope you enjoy it.

Laura x

  1. Gotta Get Up, Harry Nilsson (1972)

Yes, so I know that WTWCG is set in 1969, but 1972 is close enough, ok?? This is a great song, makes me think of Bill squeezing through the crowds of 1960s London, but it also captures the general mood of a generation, living fast, exhausting themselves. It’s a sort of Sergeant Pepper the morning after the night before…

2. Train Song, Vashti Bunyan (1966)

Anyone who’s read The Confectioner’s Tale will know that I’m a more than a little bit obsessed with trains, and WTWCG is no exception: train journeys are a fairly major feature of the text. So I couldn’t leave out this Vashti Bunyan classic.

3. Spiegel im Spiegel, Arvo Pärt (1978)

“Somewhere past the end of the cliff he stopped rowing, put the oars up and let us drift, tiny as a leaf on the dark water. The moonlight caught upon the ripples and scattered, until it seemed we were floating through stars.” (p.95, WTWCG)

4. Nocturne pour violin et piano, Lili Boulanger, 1911

This is an intriguing piece, written by Boulanger when she was only eighteen… It’s quite Emeline, simultaneously old and new world, impressionistic in places, with early jazz tinges in others. Boulanger sadly died at the age of 24, from pneumonia and Crohn’s disease, but we’re lucky some of her beautiful work survived.

5. Cosmic American, Anaïs Mitchell (2004)

Totally anachronistic, but who cares: this is one for Emeline and Puce, riding the freight trains in the dead of night.

6. Every Day’s a Lovely Day, Gulliver (1970).

I’m pretty certain Jem’s old, battered, green Citroen 2CV wouldn’t have had a tape deck in 1969, but if it did, this is probably what she’d be listening to, bombing around the dusty lanes of Norfolk with Bill in the passenger seat. (And yes, that is Daryl Hall, pre-Hall and Oates fame!)

7. Foxey Lady, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, (1968)

Come on, I had to. So long William Perch Esq, hello Bill. This one goes out to Matti, Javi and Luci.

8. Wonderful World, Sam Cooke, (1960)

This song is Bill, through and through. I always think of it at the end of the novel when… well, you’ll have to read it for yourself!

New Book Klaxon! Where the Wild Cherries Grow

Last week I received some gorgeous-looking proofs, and as a result am exceedingly excited to finally be able to reveal news about my new book… Although some of you may remember that it was originally scheduled for publication in August 2016, after a few delays (plus a re-titling, and a re-design) I’m thrilled to say that this is it! The official version.

It’s called Where the Wild Cherries Grow, and is due to be published by Transworld on 20th April 2017.


Here’s a brief synopsis:

I closed my eyes as I tried to pick apart every flavour, because nothing had ever tasted so good before. It was love and it could not be hidden.

It is 1919 and the end of the war has not brought peace for Emeline Vane. Lost in grief, she is suddenly alone at the heart of a depleted family. She can no longer cope. And just as everything seems to be slipping beyond her control, in a moment of desperation, she boards a train and runs away.

Fifty years later, a young solicitor on his first case discovers Emeline’s diary. Bill Perch is eager to prove himself but what he finds in the tattered pages of neat script goes against everything he has been told. He begins to trace a story of love and betrayal that will send him on a journey to discover the truth. What really happened to Emeline all those years ago?

As the cover hints, this book swaps Paris for the wild foothills and coast of French Catalonia; the refinement of French patisserie in The Confectioner’s Tale for earthy, sun-drenched, vivid, passionate flavours that are hopefully just as transporting. Readers of The Confectioner’s Tale might even spot the odd familiar face… And of course, it includes a special recipe.

I’m so excited to finally be able to share this book with readers. I just hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I loved researching and writing it.


Where the Wild Cherries Grow is available for pre-order. If you’re a blogger or reviewer, and would like a proof, please contact Transworld.


Die Tochter des Patissiers

So, earlier this week I received yet another exciting book package; to my delight this one contained copies of the German translation of The Confectioner’s Tale,  Die Tochter des Patissiers.


This one is SUCH a lovely edition, so I have to thank Bastei Lübbe for doing an absolutely brilliant job on the design work. There are thoughtful touches all the way through the presentation, including fold out recipes pages (for my St Germain Cake) and colourful page numbers!

So very happy. Thank you Germany!

The Confectioner’s Tale Abroad

I always love receiving book-post, and last week brought two very exciting book-post packages. Both were to do with the arrival of The Confectioner’s Tale in different countries, this time Italy and the USA!

First up is the the Italian version, a lovely hardback edition released last week by Piemme as:

Una deliziosa pasticceria a Parigi

This is actually my first ever hardback to be published so it holds a special place in my heart. Also, they’ve done a brilliant job on the print quality, with the cover boards printed beneath the dust jacket. At the end of last month, there was a blog tour for the book, so if you speak or read Italian, or are just interested, then details are below. Thanks Piemme!

blogtour deliziosa pasticceria ok

Next, but certainly no less exciting was the arrival of proof copies of the US edition of The Confectioner’s Tale from St Martin’s Press! It’s also due to be published in hardback in September 2016 and I can’t wait to see the finished copies. In the meantime, I’ll have to be content with these exclusive proofs:

The Confectioner's Tale US

TCT is also included in the free sampler Macmillan have produced for their autumn releases, which you can download from NetGalley or Edelweiss. I’ll also be holding a giveaway of some proof copies over the next week or two, so keep an eye out for that.

Next up, the German edition of TCT, entitled Die Tochter des Patissiers, which is due to be released by Bastei Luebbe in, oh, a week’s time! Exciting! More on that then.

Publication Day!


Yes, it’s finally here: the official publication day of The Confectioner’s Tale! It’s been a long journey, filled with many, many drafts, plot changes, character chopping and chapter juggling, but TCT (as it’s affectionately known) is now a real book, and out in the world for anyone to pick up – and hopefully enjoy – which is the most exciting thing of all.

I’ve been lucky to have landed in the middle of such a warm team at Transworld, who have been nothing but enthusiastic from the beginning. (Anyone who turns up to a first meeting with a tote bag of free books gets a head start, in my opinion). My editor Harriet’s editorial notes were a god-send, and cut through the snow-blindness which can occur after spending too much time with your own writing. Naomi and everyone on the PR wagon have been equally brilliant; as a new author it can be a fight to get your voice heard, and they’ve thrown their energy behind getting The Confectioner’s Tale out there and talked about, so that it reaches as many potential readers as possible. The act of writing and the necessity of publicity are not the easiest of companions, I find, which makes the job of the team at Transworld all the more important (and challenging!). Bravo.

But first and foremost, I have to thank my agent, Ed, who fished me out of the slush pile aged 20 and has stuck with me ever since. It’s been a longish road here, via one very odd novel that (thankfully, in hindsight) no one wanted to publish, but I’m eternally grateful that I sent off a  submission of a weird, raw, half-finished manuscript to Ed that day in 2008. Buy him a double G&T, if you happen to see him about. THANKS ED.

There are a few more bits and pieces of exciting news re: TCT, but they’ll have to wait until I’m sure I’m allowed to talk about them! In the meantime, there’s a launch party in the offing (watch this space), and I’m currently hacking away at another novel…  For now though, thank you to past, present and future readers: I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did writing it.

The Confectioner’s Tale Blog Tour

I can’t believe how quickly the last month has flown by; publication day (23rd April) has snuck up behind me and now it’s looming around the corner! I’m so excited to see The Confectioner’s Tale out in the shops at last, although it’s still a highly surreal feeling.

Anyway, to celebrate the book’s release, those splendid folk at Transworld have organised a blog tour with some fantastic bloggers, staring on Monday 20th. Here’s the schedule, ain’t it pretty?



I’ll be linking and re-blogging as it goes; there’ll be features on some blogs, Q & As and interviews on others.

Thanks in advance to all the bloggers who are hosting The Confectioner’s Tale for their generosity! Can’t wait to stop by and pay a visit.

Monday 20th April: Something Like Lydia 

Tuesday 21st: Chouett

Wednesday 22nd: Random Things Through my Letterbox 

Thursday 23rd: The Bookish Universe

Friday 24th: On My Bookshelf

Monday 27th: Shaz’s Book Blog

Tuesday 28th: Reading Room With a View

Wednesday 29th: I Heart Chicklit

Thursday 30th: Page after Page

Friday 1st May: This Chick Reads