Last night marked the publication of Summer’s Grace by Vanessa Hannam. The launch took place at Daunt Books in Fulham Road to an enthusiastic crowd who came to pay tribute to a fine lady and an accomplished novelist. Below is the text of my short dress on this occasion.

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Ladies & Gentlemen,

We are here today to celebrate the publication of Vanessa Hannam’s latest novel, which I can confidently say is her best so far. I enjoyed it in manuscript form and I am sure you will all agree with me, once you embark on reading it. You will find, with every page, you are likely to look forward to reading the next and you will retain this delightful anticipation until the very end.

Stanley Johnson, as you can see from the back cover of Summer’s Grace, heaps praise on the book by declaring that he read ‘her brilliant new novel in a single sitting’ describing it as a ‘first rate historical romance which combines fascinating insights into the court of King George II, with a gripping account of Anson’s amazing circumnavigation of the globe.’ He ends his recommendation on a yet more complimentary reflection that ‘Hannam has a sure touch.’

As her publisher I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that her latest accomplished offering is destined to receive the accolade it truly deserves. Please share your enthusiasm with me and buy more than one copy of the book and tell your friends about it. ‘Word of mouth’ is so crucial today, given the uncertainty of the current economic instability worldwide.

I must end on a personal note. Last February, I lost my wife Maria, my companion for 60 precious years, and whose passing left me bereft to such an extent that my life became unbearably void. You can imagine, therefore, the boost I got when Vanessa wanted to dedicate her new book in loving memory of Maria. Such a caring, kind gesture helped me find light in the darkness which invaded the serenity of my existence nine months ago.
I owe Vanessa a great deal, almost impossible to express as words fail me in my present state, but my heart glows every time I hold Summer’s Grace in my hand.

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