Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Swallow and The Hummingbird by Santa Montefiore.

                        Copertina anteriore     

  • Paperback: 474 pages
  • Genre: Romantic Fiction
  • Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton 2004 – This edition Hodder Paperback 2007.
  • Source: Purchased Oxfam Bookshop in UK
  • Review Quote: ‘Santa is the new Rosamunde Pilcher’ Victoria Mather, Daily Mail.
  • My Opinion : The above quote is spot on I think especially as Rosamunde Pilcher retired from writing in 2000.

I first took an interest in this author’s writing in 2001 when her first novel Meet Me Under The Umbo Tree was published. I went on to read the next two as they were released The Butterfly Box and The Forget Me Not Sonata.  It was another five years before any more of her books came my way when in 2008 I read two more of her novels  Last Voyage of the Valentina and The Gypsy Madonna.  With this latest one it seems I am still only half way through her novels.   I have two more on my TBR bookshelf and do not think it will be long before I read them as they are the perfect type of novels for summer afternoons reading in the shade.
The setting is England and the Argentine, starting just after the end of WWII when George Bolton returns home to Frognal Point a quiet seaside village in Devon. The sweetheart he left behind before the war, Rita Fairweather has waited patiently for his return, expecting their relationship to continue from where it left off. George though is no longer the boy who went off to war and became a Spitfire pilot, he finds himself unable to settle back into his previous way of life. He decides that he needs to get away for awhile to get over his wartime experiences and departs again to spend a year with relations in Argentina. Rita although disappointed resolves to wait for him in Devon as she feels unable to go with him if they are not yet married. Would you wait for ever for the love of your life? This is what happens to Rita as she keeps her promise to George, he however finds a different life that he enjoys and it is ten years before he returns to England again.
The Swallow and The Hummingbird was Santa’s fourth novel to be published back in 2005, the year after we left the UK to live in Italy so I somehow missed obtaining a copy until I found one at the end of last year. It is three years since I have read one of her novels but this was just as I expected it to be a richly woven tale with a large cast of characters and lots of vivid detail. Recommended for all lovers of romantic fiction, especially fans of Rosamunde Pilcher.

Santa Montefiore was a guest at The Royal Wedding last week so for an author photo I decided to share this one of her on the left and in the blue her sister Tara Palmer Tomkinson.

Santa Montefiore was born Santa Palmer Tomkinson on February 2nd 1970. After studying Spanish and Italian at Exeter University, she went to Argentina, where she spent much of the nineties. She now lives in London with her husband, writer and historian Simon Sebag Montefiore
and two daughters. Her family have been close friends of The Prince of Wales for over three decades.
The following extract is taken from her own Official Website as she describes perfectly the sort of books she writes.
‘With my novels, I hope to carry you away to sunnier shores, while at the same time remind you of all that is wonderful about England.  Above all, they are love stories, because love is more important to me than anything else.  I hope you laugh and cry in equal measure, but most vitally, escape for a while’.
She has eleven published novels to date, the first one published in 2002 and the most recent will be published in July of this year.
  • Meet Me Under The Ombu Tree(2001)
  • The Butterfly Box (2002)
  • The Forget-me-not Sonata (2003)
  • The Swallow and the Hummingbird (2004)
  • The Last Voyage of the Valentina (2005)
  • The Gypsy Madonna (2006)
  • Sea of Lost Love (2007)
  • The French Gardener (2008)
  • The Italian Matchmaker (2009)
  • The Affair (2010)
  • The Mermaid Garden(American title) The House By The Sea. (2011)

Biographical Information is courtesy of the following websites and from the paperback itself.
Wikipedia - Santa Montefiore
Goodreads - Santa Montefiore
Santa Montefiore Official Website
This is a short interesting video of Santa Montefiore talking about herself and her writing do watch if you have 3 minutes to spare.

Meet Author Santa Montefiore  Thanks to
What We're Reading  I have linked this post to the May Reading Linky Party here


  1. I have seen this writer's books in book stores but have never read one of her novels. I have enjoyed Rosamunde Pilcher so I will give Santa Montefiore a try. Thanks for the recommendation. "so many little time!"

  2. I always loved Rosamunde Pilcher's novels. I actually met her once here in my home town, when she signed one of her books for me and I got a nice photo as well. The book you have reviewed has a reference to Devon in it, and sounds like a really good read on a lovely summers day. I shall definitely buy it, and thank you for the review. I have read one of her novels before, but for the life of me, I can't remember the title.

  3. Very topical with the wedding last week.
    This lady's name caused a stir in the commentary of the wedding.

    Sounds like a good read.


  4. I have not read much of romantic fiction, but this book sounds great.
    I love how they can 'carry' those hats!
    Thanks for the mother's day wishes!

  5. I havent been reading romantic fiction for a while now.This book sounds interesting.You put in so much effort into your reviews ..Thanks !! Loved the video clip.

  6. The pic with the hats looks cool.. I haven't picked up any of this author.. Hopefully will do so soon..

  7. These sound like books I'd want to read. Thanks, LindyLou!

  8. I like how to write your reviews giving so much information about the book and the author. Haven't read this author, should try sometime.

  9. Patricia@ I look forward to hearing what you think of her writing. I know exactly what you mean about time and books!
    Thisisme@ I bet she was a lovely lady, it is a shame she is now so elderly and has retired from writing.
    DizzyC@ Topical but a complete coincidence!
    Bookquoter@ Do give her writing a try and let me know what you think sometime.
    Bhargavi@ Thanks for your kind comment of appreciation.
    Jyoti@ If you enjoy this genre she is worth a try.
    Talli@ Yes, I feel they would appeal to you, let me know how you get on if you do read any.
    Vibha@ I am happy you like my presentations of the authors and their work.

  10. Hello lovely,

    I LOVE books to do with how people cope with wartime difficulties so this sounds right up my street. I do enjoy the video clips you find. They add a lot to your posts, I think.

    I've just finished reading Room by Emma Donaghue. It was AWESOME. I'd REEEEEEALLY recommend it!


  11. Hi Sarah

    This comment must have been a victim of the Friday the 13th blogging problems as it did not appear on the blog until I put it here!!!

    Thanks for your kind words about the video clips. :)

    We are just back from a Uk trip, as you may already know but guess what I came home with a copy of 'Room' as everyone keeps recommending it to me!!

  12. I had no idea who she was I saw her image everywhere at the wedding so thank you for telling me! I will have to see if I can find this book as I am trying to read more and I love to read books that friends recommend.

    Thanks for telling me about this blog in the world did I miss it?

    Take care and best wishes for a wonderful weekend.

  13. Thanks for a great recommendation and for linking up to our What We're Reading Party! I've put this book on my to-read list!

  14. Great review with enough of a taster to pique my interest.
    Didn't realise the author was related to TPT!

  15. Natasha@ It is great to have you here and I hope you will find some titles that appeal to you. I hope you find Santa's novels are available in Australia.

    Bonnie@ I am delighted to hear you have added this to your TBR list.

    Maggie@ Exactly my intention to pique the interest, without spoilers.

  16. Ciao Linda! This one is next on my list from Santa Montefiore. Thanks for your fabulous book review ... loved the video! :-)

  17. Laura@ I hope you enjoy it as much as The French Gardener, personally I think you will.


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