Bestselling author, Tasmina Perry’s new novel begins with a forgotten photograph that takes archivist, Abby Morgan on a journey across continents. Here, Tasmina takes you on a whistle-stop tour of the book’s destinations.
The opening scene of The Last Kiss Goodbye takes place in a big county house in Buckinghamshire, and although it doesn’t specify where, I was imagining some big leafy pile like Hartwell House, now a luxury hotel and spa.
There are amazing country homes dotted all around Buckinghamshire. My favourites are Waddesdon Manor in Aylesford, which is more like a beautiful Loire Valley chateau, and Stowe House, which is one of the most impressive buildings in the country. It’s leased to the famous Stowe school but you can visit the house in the school holidays or on a guided tour.
The South of France is a very special place for me – it’s where I first got together with my husband! It’s full of amazing places, but as I’d already written about Cap Ferrat in Perfect Stranger I moved the action in The Last Kiss Goodbye to a villa on the coast overlooking Antibes.
The whole coastline is soaked in glamour – have a bowl of mussels at a harbourside café in St Jean Cap Ferrat or visit the Chateau de la Chevre D’Or in Eze, which has my favourite view of the Cote D’Azur – lunch on the terrace is pricey but breathtaking.
Just the very thought of St Petersburg makes me feel like a Russian Tsarina dressed in mink. It is a very different chic to Paris, more glamorous, but just as romantic. The Church on Spilled Blood, with its coloured onion shaped turrets, is ‘straight out of a fairy-tale’ stuff, whilst the Hermitage museum rivals the Louvre for artistic treasures.
A trip to the ballet at the Marlinsky Theatre is particularly wonderful, and visit during the summer ‘White Nights’ when the creamy evening light reminds you that this is the world’s most northerly city.
Paris is one of my favourite places. I love the feeling when you step out of the Gare De Nord that everything feels very different, even though you are only two hours from Kings Cross.
Everywhere in Paris has its own special sort of chic, but I particularly love the Rive Gauche – possibly because I’m a writer and love the whole literary history of the area. Book lovers should saunter to the Left Bank via the magical Ile de Louis and lose an hour browsing the aisles at the brilliant Shakespeare and Co. bookshop.
Spend the rest of the afternoon wandering through the atmospheric streets of the Latin Quarter. Perk yourself up with a coffee at the Café De Flore on the Boulevard St Germain, then enter foodie heaven in department store Bon Marche’s amazing La Grande Epicerie de Paris, (I always stock upon biscuits and crepe mix!)
The gorgeous gardens at the Musée Rodin are some of the most beautiful in Paris. End the day with a blow-out meal among low-key high-society at Le Voltaire restaurant by the Musée D’Orsay.