I’m delighted to be bringing you my post as a part of the blog tour for the fifth birthday of The Cheesemaker’s House by Jane Cable!
My Thoughts on The Book
The Cheesemaker’s House is set in a little village in North Yorkshire. It was really nice to read a book that isn’t set somewhere really well known, a lovely shift from the books I’ve been reading lately.
Alice Hart is a brilliant protagonist. She’s strong willed and has enough mystery about her own character to make the novel engaging right from the first page.
Then there’s Owen – the cafe owner who Alice becomes involved with. He has his own mystery. Alice thinks she’s seeing him in places he can’t possibly be, and for me this was really thrilling. It wasn’t one of those mysteries that could be solved within a few pages, or one of the ones that you could be guessing the solution along the way. Owen’s character kept me hooked the whole way through the novel because there seemed to be no sensible way to explain his appearances at all.
Overall, it’s a thrilling and haunting romance with a little bit of thriller. It’s one of those books that is a little bit of everything and manages it brilliantly.
Interview with Jane Cable
It was lovely to be able to hear from the author of this book about her inspiration, books, and writing. Check that out here!
1) A paranormal romance is such a different idea, where did that come from?
I think in part it probably came from the house itself. My husband and I actually owned it at one point although we never lived in it (long story) and the dining room had a real chill about it. It was north facing and probably originally where the cheese was made, and the whole place had a long history.
The other part definitely came from Owen’s character, who has certain unusual gifts which are both a blessing and a curse and is struggling to come to terms with his grandmother’s death. Being one of a long line of village charmers it made sense to me that there would be a strong connection with the past in the story. But whether it’s paranormal or time slip, readers will have to decide for themselves.
2) In The Cheesemaker’s House, Alice experiences plenty of paranormal events. Have you ever had a strange paranormal happening?
I’ve never knowingly seen a ghost, but I’ve certainly felt things I can’t explain in certain rooms in certain houses – and normally they’re not very pleasant. I remember going on a school trip to Berkeley Castle and there was a little sewing room next to the great hall which felt positively evil, although there was no known history to it. I thought it was just my imagination until my father, visiting years later, felt exactly the same thing.
I also experienced something similar while house-hunting with my husband. We walked into the bedroom of a Georgian cottage and neither of us could get out of there fast enough. We knew the estate agent who admitted he was having trouble selling the place and eventually it was rented out. Some years later the owner committed suicide and I’ll never be sure if the feeling was an echo from the past or from the future.
3) What authors do you like to read? Any absolute favourite books you’d like to share?
My father was a writer and I used to laugh at him for only reading books by people he knew, but now I understand. The writing community is large and friendly and in some ways you feel duty bound to read at least one book by the writers you know. I am very lucky in that one of my close writing friends, Claire Dyer, is an exceptional novelist so it isn’t by any means a chore. Her second book, The Perfect Affair, is one of my favourites of all time.
Having moved to Cornwall last year I’m also reading the Poldark novels. I’ve never watched the TV series so I’m really enjoying the books which are such a perfect blend of adventure and romance. An added extra for me is that they are based in the part of Cornwall I know extremely well so I’m having fun trying to pick out the real and fictional locations.
4) What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
Make your book as good as it possibly can be. Don’t rush to publish an early draft of your first novel. Practice, practice, practice. None of it will be wasted. Readers deserve the best you can give.
5) What are you reading at the moment?
The fourth book in the Poldark series, Warleggan. But something’s just happened I’m very sad about so I’ve set it to one side for the moment. Which just goes to show the power of Winston Graham’s characters.