The story behind the story

My romance Warm Hearts in Winter is set amidst the beautifully bleak winter landscape of the Yorkshire moors near Haworth.

Yorkshire Winter - HP

 When I was a child, my family would always visit Haworth a week or so before Christmas. On the drive, I would watch the passing scenery and wonder who lived in those old stone houses looking out over the wild, wintry moors. When we got to the village, we would park near the old parsonage where the Bronte sisters once lived, then potter past the lovely old church and down the steep cobbled main street. We popped into the sweet shop to buy sugar mice, the grocer’s to buy nuts, the apothecary to sniff at all the old-fashioned bath salts and soaps, and little gift shops to look for stocking fillers for Christmas. Then we would warm up and have lunch in a pub with a welcoming fire, and finally drag ourselves back up the hill to the car.

Even after I left home, I still made the visit – though not every year. When our own children were small, we took them for a ride on the steam train that runs from the bottom of the village, with Santa and elves and all!

Although I have visited at other times of the year, I always associate Haworth and its surrounding countryside with winter. And that childhood imagination that once wondered who might live out there eventually came up with Jack, a widowed novelist who uses his old stone house as a retreat for solitude, writing, and nursing his broken heart – until temporary personal assistant Abby comes along to break him out of that solitude, aid his writing … and maybe help mend that heart.

They go on plenty of walks from the house, and when the weather lets up enough, Jack takes Abby to look around Haworth and visit the Bronte parsonage museum. And although Jack’s house looks dour and forbidding from the outside, it’s cozy on the inside, with a log fire for our hero and heroine to curl up in front of, after their brisk walks in the snow!

Do you have a favorite place full of warm winter memories? I’d love to hear about it!

WarmHeartsinWinter_HelenPollard_ Cover

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6 thoughts on “The story behind the story

  1. Helen Pollard says:

    It is such a traditional Yorkshire village. Writing about it made me promise myself I’d go this Christmas! As for sugar mice … I wouldn’t recommend them if you want to keep your teeth! They’re basically mice shapes made out of some sort of hardened sugar mass, with a cotton tail sticking out and eyes painted on, and you could get them in pink or blue or white etc. I wanted to paste in a picture but the technology is defeating me – you can just google ‘picture of sugar mice’ and you’ll see!

  2. H.Y. Hanna says:

    Hi Helen – what a pretty site you’ve got! 🙂 And that is such a lovely story – just reading about the village, made me feel so cosy & romantic already. You really evoked the atmosphere. We used to live in the Cotswolds before emigrating Down Under and we get really nostalgic sometimes for our Sun morning walks in the countryside and a country pub lunch! Especially in winter, when there would be a roaring fire waiting for you indoors… It’s not as cold as Yorkshire, of course, and I’m sure the atmosphere/scenery is even more remote & beautiful there… but there is nothing at all like that in this part of the world – it’s all very sunny & dry here in Australia! 😉 – so we do miss it!

    • Helen Pollard says:

      The Cotswolds are really beautiful, aren’t they? And although I may moan about the weather over here (it’s a national trait, after all!) I know I would be beside myself with the heat you get in Australia!

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