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When I began to plan the Riverside Lane series of 4 books, I had no idea how the past 18 months would highlight the importance of community spirit and the places we lived in.

One of the positive things about the past year has been the way people have begun to change their time for a better quality of life. So many businesses have benefitted from those wanting to stay close to home and connect with their communities.

During lockdown, when people couldn’t travel further than their local area, I began to read so many stories about how pubs were playing a vital role in village life. As well as providing vital food and services, they are also a huge source of human contact for so many people. At that moment, I knew I had to include one in the series!

The Village Inn of Secret Dreams is about the community of Cranbridge, a fictional village in the English countryside. Belle Clarke has lived in the Black Swan Inn for almost all of her life. However, the pub is no longer the heart of the village as its rundown state and arguing landlord and landlady are putting off many customers!

But if the Black Swan Inn closes then Belle loses both her job and her much loved life in the village. Thankfully her oldest friend Pete Kennedy has returned home from working abroad and has a plan to save the inn. The trouble is that Pete has some rather radical ideas for the renovation and Belle isn’t sure that any of them are going to help bring in any more customers.

However, when a snow storm hits, Belle and Pete are forced to put aside their differences and work together to help the village. This idea was one that I was inspired to include, especially when so many local pubs throughout lockdown were providing food and drink to the struggling rural communities.

If any good can come out of this time, I do hope that community spirit becomes a way of life for many of us. Making new local friends and supporting where we live is hopefully here to stay.

Community spirit is one of the many reasons why Belle is desperate to stay in Cranbridge, near to her friends and family. Pete has spent the past 3 years away from his family but if he is able to stop running from his past, he may just learn that home really is where the heart is.

As they both try to save The Black Swan Inn, secrets are revealed and just maybe, they’ll finally find out how they really feel about each other as well!

I do hope you enjoy reading The Village of Inn of Secret Dreams. I’m on Twitter and Facebook if you would like to contact me.

Happy reading!


Alison Sherlock’s new book The Village Inn of Secret Dreams is out September 30th!

Available to pre-order/buy here:



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