Some things are simply timeless – like the little black dress that you pull out of the back of your wardrobe every time you think you have ‘nothing to wear’.

Like slipping on that LBD, allowing yourself to relax into the capable hands of a consummate storyteller is one of the most wonderful feelings, especially when they allow you to escape to another world filled with glamour, romance, excitement and intrigue. It’s like cosying up for a natter with a good friend, and that’s exactly how I felt when I read Claire Lorrimer’s novels for the first time.

The Rochford Trilogy: One Family. Three Generations. A Lifetime of Secrets…

I always feel bereft when I’ve finished a good book where I’ve really engaged with the characters, so I loved the idea of tracking a family through the generations and watching the relationships develop, deepening the connection with each instalment. Plus, I’m a sucker for a bit of romantic historical drama (Downton Abbey withdrawal symptoms anyone?) and the fact that the intimate, and highly relatable, family narrative is set against the backdrop of some of the most tumultuous times in British history, the end of the Victorian Era, World War I and World War II, simply adds more weight to the human drama that unfolds. But the thing that spoke to me the most was the authenticity of the author’s writing. Even Jilly Cooper is a fan, praising the author’s ‘terrific storytelling’ and I couldn’t agree with her more – I found these books completely unputdownable. Before I knew it I was over 100 pages in and desperate to read on.

They say ‘never judge a book by its cover’, but let’s face it, we all do, and rightly so! A good cover should tell you enough about the book to pique your interest so that you pick it up and open up to the first page. The cover is a way of setting the scene, if you like, and it’s always a challenge trying to come up new ideas. In the end, we garnered most of our inspiration from the titles themselves.

The first book in the series, The Chatelaine, was by far, the most straightforward. The word ‘chatelaine’ has two meanings; it can be used to denote the mistress of a large house or a decorative way of carrying keys. The moment where the keys to Rochford Manor are handed to the naïve and innocent Willow, symbolic of her new role as Chatelaine, is pivotal to the story, and the beginning of a dramatic chain of events that will change her life forever. I also felt that the key was a good image to start this series with, as by reading this first novel, you’re unlocking the door into a world of the Rochford family.

The second title, The Wilderling, also offered us a clear direction in terms of cover design, as like a ‘wilderling’ – a cultivated flower that manages to live in the wild – the heroine of this story, Lucienne Rochford, has survived her terrible early years in France. In discussions with the designer we both felt that as this novel is set during World War I, a poppy would be extremely fitting.

Putting together the cover for the third novel was by far the most challenging. Even though it’s my favourite title of the series, The Dynasty doesn’t lend itself to any particular object to focus on like the other two, and we felt it was important to keep a sense of continuity with the cover style for all three books.

I found myself somewhat stumped until I was watching a local news item one evening about a box of letters recently discovered in an attic. They were written by a soldier who had fought during World War II and had sent them home to his sweetheart from the front line. After watching that news story, I knew I’d hit on the perfect image for the third cover. Aside from the obvious association with the historical period, and indeed, letters do play a key role in this novel, it seemed particularly appropriate as these novels have been published before. When I read them for the first time last year, I felt how I can imagine the person who discovered those lost letters must have felt – as though they’d uncovered a genuine treasure that they had to share.

Fabulous stories, brilliantly told, populated with captivating characters never go out of style. As an editor, it’s what we’re looking for in every submission we read with the hope that we find our own literary version of the LBD – timeless and classic.

We’re publishing these three novels one a month throughout May, June and July. Also look out for the second series we’re publishing by Claire Lorrimer, the Women of Fire trilogy, coming this Autumn.

Please get in touch with us through our blogsite www.piatkusbooks.net and our facebook and twitter sites.

Claire Lorrimer online: Goodreads | Website

Courtesy of Lucy and Piatkus I have FIVE (5) copies of ‘The Chatelaine‘ to give away to FIVE lucky winners! This giveaway is for UK Residents Only (publisher’s request) and ends 11th May 2011!

All you have to do to enter is the following:

1. Leave a comment for Lucy
2. Fill out this form (please be sure to read BCC’s giveaway policy)
3. One entry per person please

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Carolyn created Book Chick City in July 2009 due to her love of books. A Brit chick obsessed with zombies, kick-arse chicks and sexy heroes. She's also seriously addicted to chocolate, shopping, and coffee. Her favourite genres are Urban Fantasy, Romance and Zombie Lit... Brrraaaaiiinnnnsss!


littlepinkstars44 May 4, 2011 at 9:50 am

Great giveaway prize! I've entered!


carol810 May 4, 2011 at 10:19 am

how lovely to find Love letters in an attic. they must have been very interesting reading.


Landslide May 4, 2011 at 10:35 am

This series sounds great. And I love the covers. Too bad the giveaway isn't international :(


BooksforCompany May 4, 2011 at 11:04 am

Thanks so much!
I agree, it is hard to not judge a book by their covers as most covers tell you a bit about the book itself.


Miss Sigh...anide in the Word Emporium May 4, 2011 at 12:06 pm

I've never really read books that depict generations of the same family for some reason, probably due to some weird prejudice on my part, but these ones, both the covers (guilty) and what little is revealed about the stories have really intrigued me, and I would love the chance to win!


whispering words May 4, 2011 at 12:49 pm

what beautiful covers! thanks so much for the giveaway!


Tore May 4, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Thanks for the giveaway.Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com


Louise May 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm

I would love to win this! It's sounds right up my street :-)


kara-karina May 4, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Absolutely beautiful covers! Loved it!


shazjera May 4, 2011 at 6:04 pm

I love historical novels and it sounds as if the characters would live with me for a while!

Love the way you chose the designs for the book covers (symbols) to highlight the contents.

Great giveaway. Thanks for the opportunity!


Leannz0r May 4, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Great giveaway, I've entered. Thank you


Mel May 4, 2011 at 7:03 pm

I love the covers and titles of this series – while a book can't be judged solely by the cover it is great when the covers are so beautiful as well! :-)

I think I saw that news article as well about the love letters – so romantic and a great hidden slice of history.


Alicia May 4, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Thank you for this amazing giveaway – the series sounds well worth a read!


softkiss51 May 4, 2011 at 8:28 pm

these look like great books, just the sort I love to read! Lovely giveaway! Thankyou!


Blodeuedd May 4, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Can't enter, but nice post :) I did not know about these books, but the cover drew me in, and thy sound great


Kulsuma May 4, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Great giveaway! This series looks really interesting. Thanks.


nicnacnoo100 May 5, 2011 at 6:29 am

Great post – made me feel all warm and cosy and I can picture myself snuggled up reading these stories! Best enter the giveaway then to get started on the first one…


NellW May 5, 2011 at 8:52 pm

I realise that these covers are arranged to focus our attention on what the women are holding, but am I the only person who dislikes covers that chop women's heads off? I suppose the thinking is that you can put your own face on the heroine,but to me it looks a bit creepy, especially when you see the three books in a row.


Katia May 8, 2011 at 7:11 am

I look forward to reading all your books.
kr_moreau at doglover dot com


AMANDA LETCH May 9, 2011 at 10:48 am

I have been looking for a good read like this for ages !

Also it't great to have more books to read when you've finished the first one


ThatGirl-xox May 10, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Thanks for the chance :)


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