WEST Bay author Rosanna Ley has released another of her popular escapist novels this summer.

From Venice with Love will transport readers across Europe to Venice and has a strong Dorset connection, where family relationships are explored.

The book is a holiday read about family bonds and following your heart.

From Venice with Love sees Joanna returning home to the family cottage in rural Dorset. She discovers a bundle of love letters in the attic written by a watercolourist called Emmy. Determined to discover Emmy’s true story, she heads to Lisbon, Prague and Venice - where a whole new magical world seems to unfold in front of her.

Rosanna said: “The story was inspired by connections - family connections, such as the relationship between the two sisters, Joanna and Harriet, plus their relationships with their late father and their eccentric mother... but also the connection between past and present, which Joanna explores when she discovers watercolourist Emmy’s letters in the attic.

“I used bridges as a literal and symbolic ‘crossing point’ a symbol of new beginnings and thinking about what you might have left behind. Joanna follows Emmy’s original Grand Tour and so she explores the cities with bridges that Emmy painted - Venice, Prague and Lisbon. Venice is of course famous for its bridges, Prague has the historic Charles Bridge and Lisbon a Roman Aqueduct which dominates the city. I visited all these cities while I was writing and this formed the structure of the book.

“The inspiration for Mulberry Farm Cottage (which is a fictional cottage, of course) and Warren Down was Eype Down and the small village of Eype which is a mile down the coast from where I live in West Dorset. It’s a beautiful landscape which means a lot to me just as it does to Harriet. I often walk along the cliff to a ‘writing spot’ with a bench which looks out over Eype. This is where the purple thrift grows in springtime. Then I walk down to the beach and up along the coastal path or the Down to the bluebell wood which I situated behind Mulberry Farm Cottage. It was wonderful to be able to put all these special and personal locations in the book!”

Rosanna says lockdown has been ‘a strange time’.

“At first, I relished the slowing of pace, the tranquillity and emptiness of the landscape around me and the lack of distractions that enabled me to fully immerse myself in writing. But the challenges and the sadnesses have been immense for some, and we can’t ignore that. Now that things are ‘easing off’ I’m glad for people who can re-open their businesses, albeit in a very different way. But there is still a lot of anxiety and we still don’t know how much life has really changed.”

Rosanna’s favourite lockdown read is The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary. She writes: “It’s well-written, sparky and funny, with sharp dialogue and bucketloads of emotion - just what you need to distract yourself from real life right now.”

*From Venice With Love is published by Quercus in paperback and is also available as an ebook.