Author Katie Fforde shares the top ten books that inspired her own writing upon the release of her new book The Country Escape. 

Katie Fforde by David O'Driscoll

Katie Fforde by David O'Driscoll

Collins Albatross Book of Verse edited by Louis Untermeyer, Out of print

There is something so moving about poetry. They often tell such fantastic stories. This collection is one I won as a school prize, my favourite poem is Patterns by Amy Lowell. As far as romantic tragedies go, this one nearly always leaves me sobbing.  

The Magic Ring for the Needy and Greedy by Moira Meighn, Out of print

This little gem is filled with recipes for little dishes and advice from a time when young women first went to London to work and lived in bedsits with limited kitchen appliances. One of my favourite quotes from the book is “Never trust a man who refuses apple dumplings” – sage advice, no doubt.

The Rattle Bag: An Anthology of Poetry edited by Seamus  Heaney and Ted Hughes, Faber

Another collection of poetry that I hold dear to my heart! This was given to us as a Christmas present and became a bona fide member of the family. I have happy memories of reading each other our favourite poems.

Rivals by Jilly Cooper, Corgi

This is one of those books that helped to inform my own writing. Rivals inspired me to put realistic characters in my books – even if they were eccentric. This novel in particular is one of my favourites.   

The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer, Arrow

All of Heyer’s novels are addictive and I read them all very quickly. Though I loved each one, The Grand Sophy stood out immediately as a firm favourite. In fact, I enjoyed it so much – I stole the plot for one of my own novels. 

 The Girl in the Photograph  Kate Riordan

‘A wonderfully evocative and atmospheric book, the author really puts you back in time with her exquisite prose and keen eye.  A little bit spooky, but none the worse for that!’

Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce, Picador

This is a shooting star of a book! The story takes place in 1940s London and follows the tale of a woman dreaming to be a Lady War Correspondent. The book is humorous, charming and incredibly touching. I loved every single minute of it. 

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase, Michael Joseph

This book is filled with intrigue from start to finish. Set in the wilds of the Cornish countryside I found it so easy to get lost in its pages. With interesting characters and a brilliant plot, Polly has created a delightful read. She really is a fabulous writer.

The Honey Farm on the Hill by Jo Thomas, Headline

The Honey Farm on the Hill really does transport you to a whole new world – the Cretan mountains to be exact. I was swept away with its charming characters and fantastically romantic story. It is most definitely worth a read if you get the chance.

The Early Birds by Laurie Graham (part of the Future Homemakers of America series), Quercus

Laurie Graham has created a series that really captures the value of friendships that last a lifetime, as it follows a group aging ex-Air Force wives. It is funny, heart-warming and a real treat. I would recommend it to anyone.