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A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside

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4.52  ·  Rating details ·  2,062 ratings  ·  521 reviews
A thrilling ocean voyage on the Queen Mary 2 from New York City to Southampton culminating in a two-month ramble through the charming backroads and small villages of the pastoral English countryside in the spring of last year is the subject of this delicious travel journal that Susan has painstakingly hand-lettered and watercolored in the way many of us have grown to love ...more
Hardcover, 260 pages
Published September 1st 2013 by Vineyard Stories (first published 2013)
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Jeani I haven't taken my trip, yet, but I have definitely used this to help plan. I have added places to visit because I read about them in this book. I…moreI haven't taken my trip, yet, but I have definitely used this to help plan. I have added places to visit because I read about them in this book. I also copied a couple of the recipes, and made note of some of the driving rules, traveling times, food, culture, and meanings of words. Very helpful! And this was after doing lots of reading of traditional guide books. (less)

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Susan Branch
Jun 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
My newest book. I think it's adorable, but that's just me. It comes out in September. SO excited. (You can read more about it if you click on the cover. )

UPDATE: it came in early! You can read first reviews in the comment section on my blog at www.susanbranch.com.

ALSO: I made a special bookmark for everyone reading A FINE ROMANCE .... If you'd like one, just go here http://www.susanbranch.com/wp-content... -- you can print the bookmark onto card stock (which fits in printers just like other
...more
Idarah
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"Treat yo' self!" – Tom Haverford

This has been an interesting year, to say the least. On the day I turned in my resignation from the job I'd had (and loathed) for the last 6 years, I decided it was time to follow Tom's advice. I drove to the closest Barnes and Noble, beelined to the travel section, and picked up the book I had been salivating over for the last few months.

A Fine Romance is a delightful edition to any bibliophile's library. Not only is it a beautiful book, but it's definitely
...more
Hannah
Jan 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Wish I could rate this higher, but the author's sickly-sweet gush was too much even for this romantically-inclined Anglophile. Even I (who have been known to wax poetic on occasion) felt a couple of tinges of second-hand embarrassment over some of the goo I was reading.

Or maybe I'm just in a crabby mood.


It could be that.





Nah.
Kathryn
Jan 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Reading this was sheer bliss! I loved traveling along with Susan and her darling husband. I knew of Branch's popularity and work but was not a collector of her books and art myself. So it was great "getting to know her" through this book and I feel I've "met" another kindred spirit ;-) Her itinerary was filled with places I would have loved to visit (the sections on Beatrix Potter's house alone were enough for me to fall in love with this book). I adore all the details, photographs and ...more
Amy
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I've enjoyed Susan Branch's cookbooks and especially her art for years, and it's a rare January that her calendar doesn't get refreshed in my kitchen. She hand-writes and hand-illustrates all of her work, with lots of flowers and animals and quotes-- very much my style. I always have a little something of hers around to make me smile.

This beautiful book (just paging through it with the photos and paintings is breathtaking) took me by surprise, because I didn't know she was such a talented travel
...more
Paula
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I need to confess that I didn't read this book, but I did buy it for my husband and he ADORED it SO SO much - he isn't on goodreads but wanted me to post about it as he thinks it is one of the best books - EVER! He loved that it was written like a journal with photos and sketches, etc. He lost his mother (who was from Britain - she came to Canada when she was 18 but died when he was 14)tragically and he had been to England many times as a child (they would go for the month of September each ...more
Negin
From time to time, I come across a book that makes me wish I could afford to place a bulk order and send copies to my friends – in this case, to all my friends who love the English countryside and/or British literature. This is one of the most beautiful books that I have ever read. It’s a travel journal of the author and her husband’s two-month trip visiting the homes of authors, artists, and all sorts of fascinating places. The watercolors and photos are an absolute joy – recipes included as ...more
Karen
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I like to read other people's diaries, so I finished Susan's latest book the night it arrived. My husband said, "Can you turn off the light?" I did and stayed up smiling in my reading chair until I reached the end. Susan's writing style is so friendly. She doesn't cover ground she doesn't know or understand, so her writing voice is genuine. This perfect little book IS different than her other books, but still vintage Susan Branch. One of the many reasons she has so many followers is because she ...more
 Barb Bailey
Nov 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Oh this book is so lovely......take extra time to savor this one.
Pamela Shropshire
I can’t remember exactly when or where I bought this book; I’ve kept it displayed on the table in my entry, because it’s so pretty, but it has remained unread until now. As it turns out, I’m glad I didn’t read it before. I can’t remember when I first read about England. I discovered Harlequins when I was 8 or 9, many of which were set in the UK, and those were shortly followed by James Herriot, Agatha Christie and the Brontë sisters - to name a few (sadly, I didn’t encounter Jane Austen until ...more
Hannah Jane
I couldn’t have read A Fine Romance at a more perfect time. It was the perfect book to read while cooped up in a hospital room waiting for Robert to heal. I sailed right along with Susan Branch and her husband, Joe, as they journeyed to England via ship and explored the country for two months. This book is not only Susan’s diary during their vacation in England. It is also a very informational and exhilarating guide to both well-known and hidden places in England, many of which belong to the ...more
Emma Rose Ribbons
Apr 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cosy
Oh my god what a marvellous book! I don't always enjoy travelogues because they rarely stand on their own unless you've visited the places mentioned yourself. This is completely different. Thanks to Susan's wonderful drawings and passionate, fresh, simple writing, I never felt like I was missing anything. It's a beautiful tribute to the English countryside with not only places but lots of food and books - my kind of bliss. I feel like it was made just for me as it contains all the things I love. ...more
Nellie
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: summer-2013
Just received my copy a few days ago. The end papers were such a delightful surprise!! I'm reading a little bit each day to savor this wonderful diary. It's absolutely fabulous. Cheers to Susan Branch for gifting us with such a marvelous book.
Carrie Kester
Sep 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Oh my Heavens! I don't have enough charming words to describe this most delightful and informative book. It is endearing and Susan shares her most innermost thoughts and self - her story, her life, her Joe and her dream trip to England come true. It will make you fall in love with the English people, pubs, countryside, decorating, gardens and narrow roads ribboning throughout England. My heart stopped several times as I imagined what she was describing...her visit to Beatrice Potter's garden, ...more
Judith Kaufman
Jul 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I simply loved this book! We've been to England twice. This book made me yearn to go again. Have not yet been to Beatrix Potter's Hillside Farm, but Susan makes me feel as though I've been there! It's a charming book. Hand-lettering, photos and Susan's wonderful watercolor paintings. A delight to read....and am glad I own it.
She recently spoke at Malaprop's Bookstore here in Asheville. Susan is charming and sweet. Loved hearing her!
Brenda
Feb 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I would give this MORE than 5 stars if there were a way to do it. It was a lovely little "holiday" to read, and Susan Branch loves so many of the things I love that it was a pleasure. We are planning a British Isles cruise right now and so this book got us all excited. I had so much fun reading it that my hubby is now reading it and there are many friends/family that I plan to buy it for. The drawings are so awesome, along with photos and recipes and the text is in Susan's handwriting.

I just
...more
Julie
Sep 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A delight from beginning to end. Kind of wanted to start over when i had finished. A travel memoir filled with art, quotations, diary entries., and friendship. Descriptions of the english countryside, a trip across the ocean in the grand old style, and charming drawings, calligraphy, and photographs. When we read travel-writing, we hope to 'go along' with the writers; see with their eyes and hear with their ears. Susan Branch packs us in her suitcase. We had a wonderful trip. I look forward to ...more
Michelle Guffey
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I ditto every word of Alyson's review. She is the reason I had even heard of it, and recommended it to my anglophile friend Carrie B, who afterwards told me I would love it too, so I finally read it. And they were both right. It is perfection. I want to go there. I am in love. With England.
A.....
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autobiography
One of the most amazing books i have read this year! I loved taking the trip with Susan! Her artwork is exquisite in the book. How many authors write and watercolor their own book?? NONE! Susan Branch is a treasure!! This is better than 5 star!!!
Deyanne
Mar 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
The strength of this little journal of a trip to England is the combination of the art and the pictures. This was a dream come true for the author and her etchings are charming. It reads like a list of where you were going and when with abundant superlatives. I did enjoy the art renderings.
Kerry
Sep 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: everything
I was utterly charmed by Susan Branch’s A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside. Written during a two month trip to England, A Fine Romance documents all of the lovely places that Susan (and her husband, Joe) visited, including Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top Farm, Hever Castle where Anne Boleyn grew up, and, of course, Jane Austen’s house in Chawton. It is chock full of gorgeous gardens, wonderful books, good food, knitting, and lots and lots of tea – everything that I love – and ...more
Mindie Burgoyne
Dec 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Lovers of Dickens, Bronte, martha stewart
If you love Charles Dickens, Emily Bronte, Beatrix Potter, Tasha Tudor and high tea, you will love A Fine Romance by Susan Branch. A non-fiction writer and artist specializing in Home and Garden genres, Susan Branch makes her home on Martha’s Vinyard and this 254 page hardcover book recounts the two month anniversary cruise / vacation she and her husband spent in the English Lakes District.

The book reads like a well crafted inspiring diary, travel journal complete with color pictures and quotes
...more
Victoria Miller
May 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What a delightful treat from Susan Branch! (Of course, one could say, what from Susan Branch isn't a delightful treat?) Since summer is my favorite season, and since most of this enchanting read is about traveling on the Queen Mary II to and from England, and all the very merry, lovely visits, sights, and experiences there during late spring and early summer, this book to me qualifies as a perfect summer read. Joe and Susan, in addition to taking Petey, also take the reader along aboard the ...more
Alisha
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-the-best
This book is a warm hug, a crackling fireplace, a handmade blanket, and whatever other metaphorical images of comfort you can think of.
It is the author's journal of a two-month trip to England, and it is delightful. She narrates day by day their sightseeing and the new habits they form in the English countryside, and her love for it all breathes through every sentence.
It is much more than a travelogue, and it is certainly not a travel guidebook. It is an account that has much in common with the
...more
Teri
Nov 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Teri by: Sally
Shelves: non-fiction, travel, 2014
Heard her speak at Vromans on Nov. 5, 2013. She read from this book. Loved it!

I had not heard of this author, before seeing her at Vromans. I think it might have been one of the busiest book signings I have attended at Vromans. Susan Branch has many, many fans.

This book was absolutely delightful. It is handwritten and the pages are full of photos and drawings and wise, fun quotes. The story starts with her personal love story and continues with a trip she took to England in 2012. They(her and
...more
Drew Danko
May 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A travel journal is not what I would normally read, but my wife insisted I read this one which I did reluctantly at first. But it only took a few pages to convince me this was a most unusual book. Ms. Branch combines so many elements so creatively that you cannot help being very impressed. She has a delightful writing style combined with a delicate humor. She includes photographs along with her own drawings of flowers, scenes, etc. She hand printed the text describing her wonderful two month ...more
Robin
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This journal style book is absolutely wonderful. It combines so many things I love - Susan Branch's watercolors, England, creative journaling and stories and photos of places I've either visited or have on my wish list. It is Susan's diary of her and her husband, Joe, taking their dream trip to England. It begins with a shortened version of their love story and then continues with their voyage on the Queen Elizabeth 2 across the Atlantic. They spend two months in England visiting the homes and ...more
Kathryn
Jul 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2013
Oh how to describe a book that was so delicious on every page that I had to slow my reading way down so I wouldn't miss a word, a drawing and feeling of where Susan Branch was taking me. Each page was so personal, so warm and friendly, so full of smells, colors, food and love of England and Beatrix Potter and Jane Austin that I did not want it to end. She and her husband "crossed the Atlantic on the Queen Mary2 and spent two months wandering the English Countryside" to quote the inside jacket. ...more
Chris Ficcardi
Feb 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Love, love, love this book! If you weren't an Anglophile prior to, you will be after reading this amazingly beautiful (in every sense of the word) book by Susan Branch. Somehow she makes each page come alive through her lovely words and art and you are soon surrounded by the scent of roadside wildflowers, sun-dried linens, and newly-shorn sheep!
As my husband and I are planning our first trip to England in early fall on the anniversary of our twenty fifth year together ( coincidentally just as
...more
Charissa
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this 2 times in a row because it was so great. Susan branch is the best. While she is best known for her handwritten and watercolor cookbooks, her product lines, her art, and her blog... she has come out with this wonderful book. She takes you on a journey and let's you see the English countryside through her eyes. Plus, it is a darling love story between her and the love of her life, Joe. Everything you want it to be... with pictures, quotes and her lovely paintings:) included. But this ...more
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I'm the author of the Heart of the Home series of hand-written and watercolored books, and most recently, a three-part illustrated memoir that begins with The Fairy Tale Girl (as the appetizer), goes to Martha's Vineyard, Isle of Dreams (for main course), and then (for dessert) it's A Fine Romance, Falling in Love with the English Countryside. (You can take the girl out of the cookbook, but you ...more
“And beyond the timeless meadows and emerald pastures, the rabbit holes and moss-covered oak and rowan trees and the "slippy sloppy" houses of frogs, the woodland-scented wind rushed between the leaves and blew around the gray veil that dipped below the fells, swirling up in a mist, blurring the edges of the distant forest.

(View from Windermere in the Lake District)”
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