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Jude Deveraux Thrills With LEGEND
As Jude Deveraux's Legend hits the bookstores this month, it seems only fitting to take some time to recall the visit a fortunate group of us paid to Jude's palatial Queen Anne manor, Ketton House, on Lady Barrow's Tour to England this spring. As I am a long time fan of this legendary author, it was an incredible thrill to meet her on her new home turf. And what a rare treat to find down home American Southern charm right in the heart of Suffolk!
The Romantic Times tour group who glimpsed the private life of this incredible storyteller included RT's own Kathryn, Lady Barrow, Lynda Ryan and Kathe Robin, plus thirty two ladies and two gents, all of whom remember our exclusive tour of Ketton House as one of the highlights of the trip. After a splendid visit to Barrow, a festive mood prevailed on our bus ride through the English countryside to Suffolk, near Cambridge, and as we got closer to Jude's, ladies scrambled to put on their heels and fancy jackets. After all, we'd been invited to High Tea!
Jude herself greeted us at the front entry of the long driveway and promptly gave us an escorted tour of her extensive property. Along the way, she charmed us with stories about the rebuilding and renovation of her home and explained some of the difficulties she's had making peace with the 300-year-old historical house and countryside customs. Jude put a fence around the property for the first time in centuries and suddenly Ketton House was no longer a public park for all who happened by. Fortunately, many of her neighbors support her goal to restore the house to its original glory and are only too pleased to watch from over the fence!
We strolled across Jude's large property, through her orchard then on towards her dovecote, encountering several of her gardeners along the way. Eventually, we drifted into the house and were tempted by a luxurious tea -- one that rivaled High Tea at the Savoy! -- served by a Martha Stewart look-alike.
After indulging us with lemon meringues, cucumber and watercress sandwiches and a variety of pastries, Jude encouraged us to explore every part of her new home. She understood that our very American curiosity wouldn't be satisfied unless we saw everything and even led us into her cellar where we saw beams (including the famous and very aptly named "banana" beam) that were 400 years old. Elsewhere in the house, we were enchanted by the many beautiful rooms Jude had only begun to decorate, among them a room for visiting children made up to look like a cabin on a ship with an authentic porthole!
But the best was still to come-a peek at the cover of her newest book, Legend, in which a time-traveling heroine, Kady Long, puts on an antique wedding gown and finds herself transported back to 19th-century Colorado. Kady is tricked into marrying a tall, rangy man whom she saves from hanging, and then finds herself falling in love hard and fast! Kady then discovers that her dark hero, Cole Jordan, has a secret haunting him and that she must give up all that she knows to save both Cole and the town of Legend.
Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to peek at the story at the time, but that can only mean one thing-that with Legend hitting the stands this month, the best is still to come!
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