May’s Are You Sitting Comfortably? Further Recommended Reads with Hattingley Valley

The most delicious sparkling Rosé wine from Hattingley Valley

What a fabulous live with May’s guest author, Samuel Burr.  It’s not hard to see why Sam’s debut novel, The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers, made it onto the Sunday Times Bestseller list in its first week out – it’s such a joyful novel of the power of connection and friendship.  If you missed our chat with Sam then do go and watch it, as I’m sure you’ll fall in love with his stories of how the novel came about and what it was like creating a cast of quirky and brilliantly eccentric characters.  It’s the perfect commune of crossword compilers and quiz masters.  I’m off to sip another glass of delicious Hattingley Valley Sparkling Rosé and take Sam’s advice to ‘Be more Pippa’!

The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers


When it comes to novels all about friendship, you can’t beat a cross-generational story.  As Sam was discussing with us, there are so many wonderful stories to be shared between the old and the young.  Shout out to Sam’s lovely telephone pal, Pauline.  


Here are three more bookish favourites which combine fellowship, friendship and connection. 


If it’s more multi-generational stories you’re after and a slice of seeing how the other half live, then prepare to fall in love with Eileen and Leena in The Switch by Beth O’Leary.  When 79-year-old Eileen decides to swap lives with granddaughter Leena for a couple of months, they both discover that stepping into one another’s shoes offers the second chance they have both been searching for.  Gossiping neighbours, affairs of the heart and difficult family dynamics play their part as Leena swaps city life for rural Yorkshire and Eileen looks for love in London.  Beth’s writing is as ever like a warming cup of cocoa – the perfect armchair read for a rainy afternoon I’d say.  We could all learn a little something from Eileen’s lust for life.


So many of us loved Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (it has sold over 6 million copies to date) that it was marvellous to see it adapted for screen starring the brilliant Jim Broadbent and Penelope Wilton.  It seems we just can’t get enough of Harold’s story of becoming an unlikely hero as he walks from one end of the country to the other.  One of my favourites though from Rachel Joyce is Mrs Benson’s Beetle which takes us back to 1950.  Mrs Benson’s Beetle tells the tale of Margery Benson who abandons her job and places an advertisement for an assistant to accompany her on an adventure.  The expedition?  To travel to the other side of the world in search of a beetle.  Whilst Enid Pretty may not quite have been what Margery had in mind, they will find that together not only will they learn how to challenge expectations, they will discover who they really are.  I loved this story of friendship which defies boundaries and about finding hope and belief in yourself.


And lastly…

Kit de Waal’s beautiful novel, My Name is Leon, will steal your heart.  The touching story of Leon, a vulnerable nine-year-old boy taken into care along with his baby brother Jake, it’s uplifting and heartbreaking all at the same time.  When Leon and Jake move in with red haired Maureen, it isn’t straightforward and whilst Maureen claims that everything will work out, Leon wonders why a couple keep visiting Jake in secret.  I loved how much the novel was rooted in the 80s and told through Leon’s eyes.  Inspired by her own mother’s work as a foster carer as well as a career working in family and criminal law, Kit de Waal weaves a story of love and identity that speaks of the families we are born into and the ones we choose.  

Treat yourself to a summer read, click on the link to purchase any of these books at and indulge in the most beautiful sparkly bubbly deliciousness Rosé wine from Hampshire vineyard Hattingley Valley . Even if the weather doesn’t oblige, this sparkly combination will fill your with summer joy xxxx

Rebecca Fletcher can be found @margotgoodlife

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