A Gift ~ Tied with Heartstrings

Tea and cake for a celebration

Hi Friends!

It felt like a gift! Truly it did!

It was one of those gifts that we wait a very long time for, making it feel even sweeter.

I wasn’t alone, as I waited. Thousands of Girlfriends were also waiting!

Beloved author, Susan Branch, has been hard at work for over a year, pouring through the diaries she has kept since her 20s and all of her cherished, old photos. She was lovingly writing her memoir, watercoloring her illustrations, and choosing just the right photos to tell her story.  Her newest book, The Fairy Tale Girl, published in September, is what we have all been waiting for!

Susan Branch book collection

My treasured collection of Susan Branch books

After reading her books again and again through the years, Susan’s devoted readers already knew many parts of her story. Her charming blog posts let us peek into her wonderful life today on Martha’s Vineyard.

Susan Branch speaking at Westmoreland Country Club

Susan is such a wonderful storyteller!

Over the years, so many of us have been blessed to meet Susan. We smiled as she shared her delightful stories about traveling through the English Countryside at book signings across the country. We listened with rapt attention, at a tea party in her honor, as she told us about the time she met the Beatles.

Susan Branch signing books after tea party

What a joy to meet Susan for the second time, at a lovely tea party!

Last May, Susan’s legions of devoted Girlfriends had the opportunity to pre-order her new book. While Susan was still busy illustrating her memoir, adding the photos, choosing the perfect paper, and ribbon bookmark, we cheered her on. ‘Our’ book was almost ready… and we were eagerly waiting!

Just two weeks ago, our books began arriving in our mailboxes! I was sitting on the front porch with with a guest, when our mail carrier walked up holding a package. I *might* have squealed and hugged the package! 🙂

I knew that it was a true gift, tied with heartstrings!

DSCN5885The long-awaited moment had arrived!

DSCN5889The Fairy Tale Girl ~ by Susan Branch

Oh, the joys of reading Susan’s life story…

With great anticipation, I had carefully planned ahead for some long, lazy afternoons of reading. I wanted to savor her words, her illustrations,… her story! Afternoons on the front porch, with The Fairy Tale Girl and a cup of tea, were such a gift. There were knowing smiles as she shared her childhood stories of growing up in the 1950s and 1960s. Laughter filled my heart and tears flowed. The beautifully watercolored song lyrics had me singing along to the soundtrack of my life. (I’m just a wee bit younger than Susan.)  As I read, I often paused to think about my own life during the very same time, making so many connections.

Each chapter felt like a gift from Susan.

She is sharing her heart with all of us!

What a privilege it is to know the real story

of  the author who has inspired me in so many ways over the years.

DSCN5926

It is so enchanting to watch Susan grow into the amazing woman we all admire today!

DSCN5924

The diaries that Susan has kept since she was in her 20s fill her memoir with vivid details

and the pure emotions of each chapter in her life.

She is very open and honest about her adventures in life,

her happy childhood, hopes, dreams, heartbreak,

and starting over.

It’s easy to see why Susan cherishes both her lifelong girlfriends

and the Girlfriends (fans) that celebrate her today.

DSCN5925

I had planned to read the entire memoir very slowly, savoring each moment.

However, when Susan’s heart was broken,

I just had to keep reading nonstop, trying to pull her through those years.

As the chapters of her life unfold,

Susan reminds us all that life is sprinkled with both sad and joyful parts.

It is just another one of Susan’s gifts ~ tied with heartstrings!

♥♥♥

Susan writes,

“A part of ALL of us is written into the pages

of The Fairy Tale Girl.”

♥♥♥

So true…

You might enjoy reading The Fairy Tale Girl, too!

As you read Susan’s story,

you will certainly reflect on your own life

(or perhaps your mother’s life),

growing up at a time

when women’s roles were evolving.

♥♥♥

It’s the very best kind of book ~

the kind that leaves you wanting more!

Susan leaves us with a real “cliff-hanger” at the end of the book.

Now we are anxiously waiting for Book Two of her memoir,

Martha’s Vineyard ~ Isle of Dreams.

Book Two will be published in Spring of 2016.

I can’t wait to read about how Susan runs away from heartbreak in California,

buys a little home of her own on Martha’s Vineyard, in Massachusetts,

and makes all of her dreams come true!

It’s sure to be another lovely gift ~ tied with heartstrings!

♥♥♥

Whether you are a seasoned Susan Branch fan or brand new to her books,

you will love her engaging writing style and charming artwork.

Autographed copies are available now at SusanBranch.com

Visit your favorite independent bookstore soon.

Amazon will have the book later this month.

Happy Reading!

♡ Dawn

P.S.  Can’t wait to chat about this book! If you are a nearby Girlfriend, let’s get together over tea to talk about the book. 🙂  Please share your thoughts with a comment or via email.  I look forward to chatting…

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34 thoughts on “A Gift ~ Tied with Heartstrings

  1. How very lovely to read after a busy day, Dawn. It is amazing how some authors can enter our lives and remain our very best of friends. Enjoy your read and, I suspect, reread, and thank you for sharing such enchanting tidbits of Susan Branch’s latest book.

  2. Oh, thank you, Penny! So very true! Susan Branch has always been that kind of special author to me. I actually began buying her books as gifts for my mom! So many of our family traditions, recipes, and travel dreams come from her books. I know you would enjoy her memoir, too! Hope you will have time in the garden this week. I’ll be busy outside tomorrow! Perhaps we will see you at the final 3 French Hens Market for the season this Saturday. We are planning to go early. Have a great week, Penny! ♡

  3. What a lovely story about your friendship with Susan! I’m familiar with her books, but I’ll have to check them out. I’m in a book club, and perhaps one of them would be good for our discussions. Thanks for your kind comment on my blog, too.

  4. Hi, Beth! Susan’s Summer book inspired my white picket fence herb garden years ago. I think all women would find personal connections to The Fairy Tale Girl. What fun it would be to share those stories in a book club setting! Just reading Susan’s memoir makes me want to discuss it with others. Thanks so much for stopping by tonight, Beth! I always enjoy visiting your blog. Wishing you nice days in the garden! ♡

  5. Oh, Jann! I think you would love reading about Susan’s creative life ~ cooking, entertaining, gardening, painting,… She is so genuine and kind. Over the years, her books have inspired so many of our family traditions. Susan writes the most wonderful blog, too! Happy reading, Jann! ♡

  6. Hi Dawn, I really wanted to read this one slowly, so I thought I would just check out the flaps of the book jacket and maybe just peek at the first few pages…..6 chapters later the dogs broke the spell, because they had to go out before bed! One more sitting and I was at the end! Now of course, I have to go back and reread….slowly and take more time to look at pictures and illustrations. Waiting for book #2 is a little like waiting for Downton Abbey to come back on! You have a lovely stack of Susan’s books. I don’t have quite that many and I keep them with my Gladys Taber books, it just seems like they belong together! Of her cookbooks, Autumn is my favorite and it was my first SB book. I have two copies of A Fine Romance, one I loan out and one that NO ONE may borrow! LOL. I had that one signed at The Learned Owl in Hudson, Ohio and I have a sweet picture of Jim and I in front of the Fine Romance Van that I keep on the hutch in the breakfast room. It was a wonderful trip that year that I remember fondly. It will be fun to see where she goes on the next book signing tour.
    Great book review Dawn, you should probably post it on Amazon.
    Have a great rest of the week! Fall has finally arrived here!
    Chris (W Texas)

  7. Heartfelt thanks, Chris! I understand exactly just how hard it was to read The Fairy Tale Girl slowly! 🙂 I’m also ready to read it again. There is is much to pause and reflect on. It truly will be hard to wait for Book Two! Downton Abbey will be the perfect distraction as we wait! In 1986, I started buying Susan’s books as gifts for my mom! Now she has gifted Susan’s early books back to me ~ a complete circle of love! It was such a blessing to meet Susan on her last book signing tour, Chris! Another blessing was meeting so many Girlfriends there. At the tea party, there were over 100 kindred spirits getting to know one another and making friends! I remember seeing your family photo when you drove to Ohio to meet Susan. I have two copies of A Fine Romance, too. Hope one copy will travel to the English Countryside with us one day! Won’t it be fun to see where Susan and Joe travel for the book signings in the Spring? Fingers crossed! Autumn is such a treasure! This morning, I am baking Susan’s Cranberry Apple Crisp to bring to friends tomorrow. I’m always on the lookout for Gladys Taber books at antique shops and used book sales. Her books transport us back to simpler times!
    Thanks so much, Chris, for leaving such a nice comment! I love our little chats. Enjoy the arrival of Fall in West Texas! Best wishes for you and Jim! ♡

  8. Oh, Judy! I was one very happy lady!! 🙂 It was especially lovely because Susan kept us posted on her blog about her writing process. So, we had tiny peeks as she wrote and illustrated her memoir. I think you would really enjoy her blog, Judy! She had her first book signing for The Fairy Tale Girl on Saturday in Meredith, New Hampshire. There are lots of wonderful New England photos on her blog. Thanks for stopping by today, Judy! Have a great week! ♡

  9. Dawn,
    I used to own all of Susan’s books. This was when my children were growing up (a long time ago) :-). Along the way they were donated or given away. It was you, my dear blog friend, that re-introduced me to Susan’s work through her blog. Once I subscribed to her site I was reminded of the joy her words and illustrations brought me. She fills my heart with positive thoughts and reminds me to observe and enjoy each day of life’s journey. I haven’t ordered her new book but your review convinces me I need it! Thank you so much.
    xo,
    Karen

  10. My pleasure, Karen! You will love, love, love The Fairy Tale Girl! Book One of her memoir takes place in California. So, you will have lots of connections to her story. It’s so delightful to watch Susan ‘become’ the woman we admire so much as she is growing up. Since it is an illustrated memoir, it is filled with all of her beautiful watercolors. Just a joy to read, even though there are some very sad parts. Books ordered through her website have two-day shipping and are autographed. You could be reading it by this weekend!

    It’s so wonderful that you were reading Susan’s books as you raised your family, Karen. I’m sure that some of your favorite family traditions were inspired by Susan Branch! Each time I serve something new when my brothers visit, they ask, “Is this a Susan Branch recipe?” So many of her recipes and ideas have become our family traditions over the years! Let’s chat about The Fairy Tale Girl after you read it. I would love that, Karen! From one Fairy Tale Girl to another… ♡

  11. Susan is lucky to have met you, dear friend! I shall definitely order the book after your rave review!

  12. Oh, Anne! So sweet! It’s part rave review, part love letter! 🙂 I know you will really enjoy Susan’s memories of growing up in California in the 1950s and 1960s. Susan is very open and honest about the heartbreaking part of her life. It’s lovely to watch her grow into the Susan Branch we admire so much! It’s also interesting to read about the changing roles of women during those times. Autographed copies, from her website, are shipped by two-day Priority mail. You will have Susan’s memoir in your hands (and heart) in no time! I can’t wait to share our thoughts after you read this special book, dear Anne! From one Fairy Tale Girl to another… big hugs! ♡

  13. Dawn, The Fairy Tale Girl was a very interesting personal look into Susan’s life. Like you I have been a fan of hers forever. She has inspired me in so many ways! I just love her. Thank you for your thoughts on her new book. I had to read it quickly as I couldn’t put in down. There are so many women that can relate to her growing up in the 50’s–myself included. I’m hoping one day to meet The Fairy Tale girl in person! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on her new book, dear one! I hope she reads your review! ♥

  14. Hi, Martha Ellen! We waited so long for Susan’s memoir. Wasn’t she brave to share her story in such an honest, open way? It’s a story that just had to be told… and she knew all of her fans would be very supportive. Now I must read it again! This time, I think I will be able to savor it slowly! 🙂 I’m sure you will meet The Fairy Tale Girl in person one day next Spring. I am always so excited whenever I hear that that Susan is doing a book signing anywhere. I can remember how thrilling it was for me… and wish the same experience for all of the wonderful Girlfriends, near and far! ❤ It was lovely to spend my afternoons reading on the front porch, just knowing that so many kindred spirits were also doing the very same thing. Susan's memoir is truly a gift ~ tied with heartstrings! Wish we could chat about her book over a cup of tea! ♡

  15. I am rather new to Susan’s books. Though I just ordered and am reading “A Fine Romance,” right now! I am an avid tea drinker and an Anglophile for ever! So in love with that book and am savoring it slowly for sure! I think this book sounds wonderful and it probably captures the mindset of my Mother’s generation perfectly. It would be a fun read. Thanks for sharing this lovely review and I will keep this book on my list for future reads!
    Sherry

  16. Hi, Sherry! So glad you stopped to visit! Isn’t A Fine Romance wonderful? During the book signing tour for that book, I was blessed to meet Susan twice! (Just click on the orange stripe to reveal the slide-out side bar on my blog. You can find the post “Celebrating Susan” in the September archives or just find Susan Branch in my tag cloud.) If you haven’t read Autumn, it’s one of my favorites ~ filled with recipes, traditions, and Susan’s beautiful, heartwarming, watercolored illustrations. I’m so glad to meet a new Susan Branch fan, Sherry! Happy reading! ♡

  17. Hi, Marcia! You will love, love, love Susan Branch’s books! She also writes the most delightful blog Definitely check it out! It’s the perfect time of year to read and savor her Autumn book, too. It’s so exciting to find authors who speak to our hearts and inspire us to appreciate the small moments that make each day special. Happy reading, Marcia! ♡

  18. Oh, Karen! It’s such a wonderful memoir. Susan Branch has been inspiring me for so many years. I think you would enjoy it, too! Enjoy Autumn in your new home in Florida! ♡

  19. I was so tempted to preorder, but I also love the anticipation of waiting for something special, and so decided to put it on my gift wish-list. I may have to wait a little longer, but sometimes that makes the end result even sweeter! Plus, from a practical standpoint, autumn is the very busiest season in our household, so I wouldn’t have those quiet moments to really savor it. I look forward to this winter when I can curl up with a blanket and some tea and read it!!!

  20. Anticipation is such fun, Ericka! I agree that winter will be the perfect time to relax and savor this wonderful book! You will have lots of company, since I’m sure many of Susan’s fans will be reading (and rereading!) her memoir during the cold winter months. Hope you will email or leave a comment about The Fairy Tale Girl if you feel like chatting about Susan’s memoir. In the Springtime, we will all be anticipating Martha’s Vineyard ~ Isle of Dreams. Anticipation is a wonderful feeling! I’m so happy that you stopped to visit today, Ericka! Enjoy the Autumn colors!

  21. Finally, my copy is here. I resolved not to read here until it had done so just in case of a spoiler {already had one or two elsewhere, so on a small social media sabbatical to avoid} I am now up to chapter eleven and it seems the wait to next May will be interminable now that we have had a small slice of Susan’s auto~biography. I may even have to bite the proverbial bullet and pay international shipping for that one.
    This, dear Dawn, is a wonderful post, sharing the joy we all feel as Girlfriends. Susan is one lucky lady to have met you, and you her. Looking forward to chatting with you about ‘the book’. I am sure I will finish it by this weekend. I am not speed reading it, but I will be ready to go back and re~read at a more leisurely pace too! Hugs from Across the Pond ~~~ Deb xoxo

  22. So happy that your book is now in your hands (and your heart), Deb! No spoilers here… I was very, very careful not to give away any surprises from Susan’s wonderful memoir! 🙂 This post is more of a love letter to the author and artist that we so admire! I’m really looking forward to Martha’s Vineyard ~ Isle of Dreams!! I can’t wait to read how she fell in love at first sight with a little house and bought a home of her very own. I will have so many connections to that part of her memoir! I’m looking forward to rereading our books together, Deb. There will be ♡ to talk about! Big hugs, my friend! ♡

  23. It sounds delightful, Dawn. I love that you set aside time to really savor the book. Good for you! I often do that with cards or letters: put them aside till I can fully enjoy them.

    I’ll have to look for her book in town. Thanks for the review. And you won’t have too long to wait for part two.

  24. It’s a treasure, Alys! As Susan Branch wrote and illustrated her memoir, she kept in touch with all of her fans through her wonderful blog posts. We knew that she was pouring her whole heart into this special book. Since she has become her own small publishing company, Susan was able to make lovely decisions about every aspect of her book. She found a printer in the U.S., chose just the right paper, and even added a lovely ribbon bookmark. Since I had pre-ordered the book many months ago, I knew just when it would be shipped. It was fun to set aside time to read! 🙂

    I think you would enjoy Susan’s memoir, too! She grew up in California, so you will find many connections. It’s so interesting to think about the challenges of coming of age at the start of the women’s movement. Everything seemed to change in an instant during those early years. Let’s talk about The Fairy Tale Girl after you read it, Alys! From one Fairy Tale Girl to another… Have a happy week! ♡

  25. Delightful idea! Thank you, Dawn. I also plan to buy a copy for a friend, the one that introduced me to her in the first place. Sharing the love! I hope you have a terrific week. We’ve had just a hint of rain, a welcome respite in our drought-parched state.

  26. Oh, Alys! What a thoughtful gift for your friend! You will both love getting to know more of Susan’s story. Wishing you many more gentle rain showers in California! Happy reading, Alys! ♡

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