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“[England is] Like a basket of drinkable kittens, wrapped in a blanket, next to a fireplace.”

Last November I was supposed to meet my cousin Lenita Virtue and her family in San Luis Obispo, CA, at the Remnants of the Past Antique Show and Sale. Besides seeing ‘Nita, my main goal was to meet author Susan Branch and buy an autographed copy of her latest book, “A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside”. Because I was still waiting for the new-to-me motor for my Jeep to be delivered, I wasn’t able to go.

So I did the next-best thing: I ordered “A Fine Romance” from Susan’s Website, http://www.susanbranch.com. My book came in Saturday’s mail, and I started reading this morning. I devoured the pages for two solid hours without even taking a break to fix a cup of tea. I will be finished tonight before going to bed, and I may start over again in the morning!

This delightful little volume details the wonderful journey Susan and her husband, Joe, took to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, beginning and ending on the Queen Mary 2, with nearly two months in between wandering the English countryside. It is hand-lettered and illustrated in typical Susan Branch fashion…that is, absolutely delightful watercolor sketches that could be photographs, and photographs that could be sketches.

They visited places I have yearned to see, and her notes and pictures took me there with them. If you dream of seeing where Beatrix Potter drew/wrote her Peter Rabbit stories, or James Herriot doctored his animals, Susan’s book will take you there. I invite you to find her sweet book, and go along for the ride.