Today I’m pleased to welcome Sophie Ranald back to The Love of a Good Book.
Sophie Ranald is the youngest of five sisters. She was born in Zimbabwe and lived in South Africa until an acute case of itchy feet brought her to London in her mid-20s.
As an editor for a customer publishing agency, Sophie developed her fiction-writing skills describing holidays to places she’d never visited. In 2011, she decided to disregard all the good advice given to aspiring novelists and attempt to write full-time. After one false start, It Would Be Wrong to Steal My Sister’s Boyfriend (Wouldn’t It?) seemed to write itself.
Sophie also writes for magazines and the web about food, fashion and running. She lives in south-east London with her amazing partner Hopi and Purrs, their adorable little cat.
When you’re tying the knot, you can end up in a tangle…
Nick and Pippa have been an item since forever, but they’ve always said marriage isn’t for them. That’s until, in a moment of mad romance, they find themselves engaged.
Pippa knows she’s no bridezilla – and she’s definitely not expecting Nick to get swept off his feet by plans for floral centrepieces, vintage cake-stands and colour coordinated everything. Then Nick’s mum gets involved, secrets from Pippa’s past threaten to surface, and planning their perfect day begins to tear Nick and Pippa apart.
This eagerly anticipated second novel from Sophie Ranald is a funny and poignant romantic romp. If you love Tracy Bloom, Mhairi MacFarlane and Sophie Kinsella, then say “I do” to A Groom with a View.
My fantasy A Groom with a View launch dinner party
One of the things I enjoyed most about writing A Groom with a View was that there’s loads in it about food. I love devising recipes and cooking (and eating, obviously!), so imagining the dishes that Pippa, who’s a professional chef, might come up with was great fun. Choosing what to serve for my fantasy dinner party would involve endless planning, making and revising of lists and asking my friends for advice – but choosing five guests to invite is even harder! After a great deal of pondering, here are the ones who’ve cracked the nod.
An oldie but a goodie! The hero of Jilly Cooper’s bonkbusters is as fanciable as ever, and one could count on him to flirt shamelessly with the female guests (pick me! pick me!), although of course he’d end up going home to his gorgeous and adored wife Taggie.
I’m currently obsessed with Punchdrunk’s immersive promenade theatre production The Drowned Man. It’s set in a fictional 1960s Hollywood studio, presided over by the sinister Leland Madison Stanford (played by Sam Booth). Even after seeing the show ten times, I’m still discovering new things about the world of Temple Pictures, so I would simply love the opportunity to pick Mr Stanford’s brains about the meaning of it all. I’d provide oranges.
Fun, feisty and feminist, the creator of the hit comedy Girls would bring sparkling conversation to any dinner table. She could also be relied upon to tell Rupert off when he made politically incorrect comments.
I’ve just finished rereading Oryx & Crake, The Year of the Flood and MaddAddam, and I was struck afresh by their darkly comic genius. So many of her novels are modern classics, and I’d truly adore to meet her. I suspect I would be too star-struck to speak to her, though!
Some of the aspects of Pippa’s mum in A Groom with a View were inspired by my own mother, who died in 2011. I’d just love to see her again.
And what’s the welcome drink?
It would have to be the cinnamon mojitos that Nick loves, and the excessive consumption of which plays an important part in the plot of A Groom with a View. Here’s how to make them.
225g golden caster sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
2 wedges lime
25ml golden rum
First make a cinnamon syrup. Dissolve the sugar in the water in a small pan, add the cinnamon sticks and simmer for 20 minutes. Cool, strain and discard the cinnamon.
In a highball glass, gently muddle the lime wedges before adding plenty of ice, the rum and 1tsp of the cinnamon syrup. Stir well, top up with prosecco and serve.
A big thank you to Sophie