The Gingerbread House
Nestled among cherry trees in a picturesque country garden, the Gingerbread House resembles an illustration from an old-world storybook. But beware! For in the fairy-tale, that s where the witch lives…
Away from the city, with no distractions, the Gingerbread House seems like the perfect place to start work on a novel. That’s what former advertising copywriter Tess thinks when she goes there to live with Eleanor, her aged mother-in-law. But Eleanor is suffering from dementia, and caring for her proves tougher than Tess could ever have imagined: feeling increasingly isolated, her only comfort is wine o’clock and weekend visits from her husband. Meanwhile her teenage daughter Katia is helpless to intercede; in the end, she can only watch as things fall apart and a tragedy even closer to home surfaces.
The Gingerbread House is a deeply moving novel: a compassionate and occasionally wickedly funny tale of a family’s agonising struggle with dementia.
I read the book in one sitting, I always go into a book without reading the back cover blurb. I like to be opened minded and ready for whatever journey the author wants me to go on and which lessons I can learn from each crisp new page.
With this book, the cover gives nothing away. But it is beautiful with the strong colours.
Beaufoy writes with such purity and honesty that the heinous topic that is the heart of this book is laid out in front of us in its raw naked state. Beaufoy does not try to sugar coat the struggle that millions of older Adults who are caring for their elderly relatives face each day. Having seen my own parents cope with the illness Dementia slowly stealing my Nana Alice. I could relate to the frustration and angst of the main character. It was a slap to my younger self as to what they went through.
I love the way the Little Mermaid and Charlottes Web are incorporated into the book. They play a very important role. I thought it was a beautifully creative way to relate to us important details of the story.
So what did I learn from my journey of the book? It made me reflect on the past and I had the urge to immediately tell my friends about the book so I could talk about it and dissect ours and the Authors thoughts.
Although the journey is uncomfortable at times. It has perfectly times humour. On point and even made me laugh out loud at times.
If you would like to purchase your copy please click ~ Amazon UK
About Kate Beaufoy
Kate began her career as a professional actress – winning a Dublin Theatre Festival Best Actress award – before becoming a full-time writer.
Her novels have been translated into French, German, Greek, Italian, Czech and Dutch, and are available as audio books.
Her first historical novel – the critically acclaimed Liberty Silk – spent four weeks on the Irish Times bestseller chart. Her second – Another Heartbeat in the House – charted the following year, and was shortlisted in the popular fiction category in the 2015 Irish Book Awards. Her latest novel – The Gingerbread House – has been described by Roddy Doyle as ‘gripping, heartbreaking, funny and surprising’.
Kate lives some of the year in Dublin and some on the West coast of Ireland. She is an advanced-level scuba diver, a wild swimmer, a keen practitioner of Bikram yoga, and the fond keeper of a bewitching Burmese cat.
Q&A With Kate Beaufoy
Describe yourself using three words?
Nature-loving. Irreverent. Impatient.
What inspired you to write your first novel?
I was hitting a very dangerous age for an actress, and I thought it might be a good career move. It was only after I hit the mid-point of the first novel that I realised I’d fallen head over heels in love with writing! My chief regret is that I didn’t start sooner. If any of you reading this are putting off writing your novel because you don’t have time, my advice is to set your alarm for 90 minutes earlier in the morning and just do it!
What time of day do you like to write?
I can’t write much later than 6.00 or 7.00 pm – like most people I just want to spend the evening chilling in front of Netflix. But my brain is in work mode all the time, so I have to keep a notebook by my side to jot down any thoughts that come into my head. If I wake in the very early morning, it’s a bonus. I just bring a cup of tea back to bed and get cracking – I’m at my most productive in the hours before breakfast.
What is your favourite book and why?
Vanity Fair. I based the heroine of my last novel – Another Heartbeat in the House – on Becky Sharp, who has to be the wickedest, most engaging leading lady ever written.
How did you pick the title of your book?
The narrator of the book – a fourteen-year-old girl called Katia – chose the title for me. When you read it, you’ll understand why.
Are the characters in your book based on real people?
Some famous real life people make appearances in my historical novels – Picasso, Coco Chanel, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, William Thackeray – so I had to research very carefully in case I got details wrong. The local library is the best place to research – you can pick up information there that hours trawling on Google won’t disclose.
What’s your favourite word?
If you were a colour what would it be?
A designer I know – the fabulous Lainey Keogh – once kindly agreed to dress me for a very special event (it was an opening night on Broadway). She looked me up and down, then brought out a beautiful, incredibly fragile gossamer tunic. It was sea green with tiny flecks of gold. So I guess that’s my colour!
Who is your favourite Author?
My favourite author is my best friend, Marian Keyes.
If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose?
I love this question! I’ve never been asked it before. I think it would have to be Soames Forsyte. He is a thoroughly unpleasant character – cold and almost reptilian – but his love for his daughter Fleur redeems him. *Spoiler Alert – His death at the end of the Forsyte Saga, when he is trying to save his paintings from the fire is brilliantly written.
Are you working on a new project?
I am – a new historical novel – but I have had to put it out of my head until The Gingerbread House has been launched. The Gingerbread House is so different to anything I’ve written before that I need to concentrate all my brain cells on promoting it.
Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?
Yes! For readers based in Ireland, I’m participating in the Mountains to Sea festival on Saturday 18th March – see http://bit.ly/2lMFQvN for details.