We’re at the point of writing the blurb for the back cover of the book – the paragraph that will entice readers to look inside and – I hope – take the book to the cash desk and buy it. Or (even better) buy two – one for themselves, one as a Christmas present…
So which of these two would most tempt you to buy and read? It won’t be one or the other, but something of a mash-up, I suspect. But would you, members of my book clan, be kind enough to help me once more? Let me know which paragraph appeals to you most – and why, if you know. An instant impression is the best, so don’t think too hard! In the bookshop or the online catalogue the book only has a few seconds to make an impact, so please be brutally honest: would you want to read the book described in No.1 or No.2?
A Romanian moving to Britain is no news. A Briton moving – kitchen sink and all – to Romania is not such a common story. And each factor makes the story more compelling: a woman in her fifties, living alone in a remote mountain village; a writer, with no steady income, no pension and no Plan B; a Briton who has no plans to go back to Britain because she feels so at home in the Carpathians. Why? How did she arrive here? Why is she still here? How does she cope with country life after 30 years in big cities? Why doesn’t she feel lonely? what sort of future does she have here? What does she like so much about Transylvania? And how do sheep threaten her sanity? This candid and engaging book, which uncovers the secret of happiness, is nothing less than a love letter to Romania.
It’s said that travel broadens the mind. It’s also said that moving house is the third most traumatic event in a person’s life after bereavements and divorce. Mix together five funerals and emigration, and you have something of a challenge. Especially when you’re over 50 and alone. Moving from a colourful British city like Liverpool to a half-built wooden house on a hillside in the Carpathian mountains, eight kilometres from a shop and a world away from her busy life as an author and business journalist in urban England, was a huge leap of faith for this Englishwoman. Add in the grief of family deaths, a childhood with alcoholic parents, the menopause, a mental melt-down, the 2008 financial crisis and imperfect health, and you have a recipe for impending disaster. Instead, this English woman found the secret of happiness in Transylvania. In a candid and engaging account of her change from urbanite to country recluse, she reveals the magic of rural Transylvania in a way that will melt the heart of every Romanian.