Guest Blog by Karen Swan, author of Christmas at Tiffany’s
When I think of this book, it’s this scene in Venice that I tend to think of. The sequence in Venice had come as a bit of a surprise to me when I was writing, to be honest, as the book is firmly and clearly set in three cities: London, Paris and New York. However, I had realized I needed somewhere where both Cassie and Henry went off-plan, free-range- if you like, from the lists and Venice had such a different vibe to the other cities – it’s not at all urban in the way that the others are, it’s a city for people walking hand in hand down the lanes and across the piazzas, drifting in gondolas along the canals – and it felt absolutely right for Cassie and Henry to be there as they begin to transition from being old friends to the first inklings of something more. In this scene particularly, Cassie has so much fear of getting it wrong, there’s confusion and crossed wires about what is really going on between them and beating beneath it all, is this powerful, pent-up sexual tension. For me, this is the scene upon which the entire love story pivots.
‘…The clock read 3.43am when she felt the mattress dip behind her and Henry’s body heat gradually emanated across the white-sheeted expanse to her side of the bed. She had slept fitfully, dreaming too vividly, her brain feverish and revving too hard. She had got up at midnight to get a glass of water and had seen his side of the vast bed was still cold and smooth. Where was he?
He wriggled into a comfortable position and she felt her heart punching against her ribs at his closeness, and she wondered whether he could feel it through the mattress, vibrating through the coils to where he lay.
‘Cass?’ His voice was quiet and low – but even in that one word she could hear the slur or sambucas – and she heard his hair rustle against the pillow as he turned his head.
She froze. She knew he was going to apologize to her, he was that kind of man: it had been ungentlemanly to slam a door in her face, to leave her abandoned in a foreign city, to have advanced upon her like a lover when she was just an old friend, to have made her want him and then left her hanging…
His apology would cover all those things, she knew, though they’d both leave the specifics unsaid. But she didn’t want it now. Not here, lying in the dark together, the smell of him covering her though his hands wouldn’t.
He turned over fully and she could literally feel the weight of his stare. She wondered whether he could tell she was feigning sleep. She struggled to keep her breathing slow and steady but it was tricky with her heart pounding like a jackhammer. A deafening silence contracted between them in the blackness. She heard his hand rest on the sheet behind her, and she could feel it glowing like an ember between them….’
About the Book
In the wake of a heartbreaking betrayal, a young woman leaves the Scottish countryside to find her destiny in three of the most exciting cities in the world—New York, Paris, and London—in this funny and triumphant tale of fulfillment, friendship, and love.
Ten years ago, a young and naïve Cassie married her first serious boyfriend, believing he would be with her forever. Now, her marriage is in tatters and Cassie has no career or home of her own. Though she feels betrayed and confused, Cassie isn’t giving up. She’s going to take control of her life. But first she has to find out where she belongs . . . and who she wants to be.
Over the course of one year, Cassie leaves her sheltered life in rural Scotland to stay with her best friends living in the most glamorous cities in the world: New York, Paris, and London. Exchanging comfort food and mousy hair for a low-carb diet and a gorgeous new look, Cassie tries each city on for size as she searches for the life she’s meant to have . . . and the man she’s meant to love.
Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and an ADHD puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest in Sussex, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs. Her first novel, Players, was published in 2010, followed by Prima Donna and Christmas at Tiffany’s in 2011.