Arbor Ladies’ Luncheon Club: special guest Natasha Solomons

At the Green House we take the simple pleasures very seriously and that includes delicious food and wine with friends, and a stonking good book that keeps us turning the pages. So we are thrilled to announce that one of Dorset’s most talented novelists will be joining us for lunch on 22 July.

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Natasha Solomons is the author of the internationally-bestselling novels Mr Rosenblum’s List, The Novel in the Viola, which was chosen for the Richard & Judy Book Club, and The Gallery of  Vanished Husbands. Her novels have been translated into 17 languages.

At the Arbor Ladies’ Luncheon Club event on 22nd July, members will be able to hear Natasha talk about the inspiration for and the themes of her latest book, The Song Collector (out in early July), before enjoying a three course-meal, based as always on quality local, sustainably sourced ingredients.

The Song Collector was born when Natasha discovered her home in Sturminster Newton had once belonged to 18th-century fiddler Benjamin Roe – ‘song collector, alehouse keeper and mischief-maker’, as Natasha intriguingly describes him – whose long-lost songbook had recently been resurrected by local folk musician and storyteller Tim Laycock.

This highly personal connection to the musical traditions of her village ignited in Natasha an interest which quickly became a passion.  ‘The more I read about and listened to [the songs],’ she explains, ‘the more I realised that I had to write about a musician and song collector and his connection to the landscape – and woman – he loves.’

And so she created the celebrated composer Harry Fox-Talbot. ‘Fox’ wants to be left in peace to grieve for his beloved wife: he’s unable to write a note of music, and no, he does not want to take up some blasted hobby. Then one day he discovers that his troublesome four-year-old grandson is a piano prodigy. The music returns and Fox is compelled to re-engage with life – and, ultimately, to confront an old family rift.

Decades earlier, Fox and his brothers return to Hartgrove Hall (set in Dorset) after the war, determined to  save their once grand home from ruin. But on the last night of 1946, the arrival of beautiful  wartime singer Edie Rose tangles the threads of love and duty, leading to a shattering betrayal.

Members of the Arbor Ladies’ Luncheon Club will be able to learn more about the ideas behind Natasha’s captivating, haunting tale on 22nd July at the Green House Hotel.

‘I’ll be discussing The Song Collector and its themes of grandparent-hood, music and landscape as well as creativity in later life,’ Natasha says. ‘I’ll also be talking about writing in Dorset and how the local landscape inspires my work.’

Since completing The Song Collector, Natasha has helped set up a communal project to create a portrait of contemporary Britain in song. Every hillside, village and city street has a song, some ancient and others new, and the project aims to map them and put as many as possible online so people can access them for free.

‘When I finished the book, I knew I wasn’t finished with song collecting,’ Natasha explains. ‘I’d been utterly caught. After all, there’s always one more song to find.’


The price of the Arbor July Luncheon Club event is £22.50 plus the price of the book – which will be signed by Natasha for each attendee. To find out more about the club and to book your place please email or call 01202 498900.

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