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Faith Hogan on writing her latest book The Gin Sisters’ Promise

Faith Hogan on writing her latest book The Gin Sisters’ Promise

When I sat down to write The Gin Sisters’ Promise I didn’t really think about the fact that I might be expected to be a gin aficionado or at the very least to be a gin enthusiast. The fact is, I’m neither. Not that I wasn’t partial to a glass of gin in the garden when the sun was shining and it seemed like summer was never-ending, but the fact is, I haven’t had a gin and tonic in probably about fifteen years.

So what on earth was I thinking writing a book about a family owned distillery in a fictional seaside village in the west of Ireland?

Like all my books, The Gin Sisters’ Promise is much more about the characters and place than it is about anything else. That’s not to say that Georgie, Iris and Nola don’t manage to get through a few glasses of gin, wine and maybe even a glass of champagne at some point too, but the real story here is about relationships.

The Gin Sister’s Promise is a novel that takes the reader from the most devastating and perhaps affecting moment in the sisters’ lives, right up to the present day. By the end of chapter one, we realise that while each sister has achieved her life goals, they have also lost a lot along the way. And so, when they return for their father’s funeral, having not laid eyes on each other in a decade, they are concerned with hiding the empty parts of their lives more than bragging about their successes, which it turns out were fleeting and essentially empty anyway.

One might imagine that turning up for a funeral is a simple case of throwing on a decent dark frock, serving up some sandwiches to the neighbours and then high-tailing it back to normality with one third of the family fortune in your back pocket. But this is Ireland and these are the Delahaye sisters, whose distilling business has been in operation for over a hundred years.

Their father, lost for many years in his own grief, has bitterly regretted that he did not manage to pull his family back together during his own lifetime and so, in his will, he sets out to forge bonds between them that he hopes will fasten them together forever.

Six months, living in Solider Hill house, a break from the hum drum lives they’ve all been leading, it almost sounds ideal, except they have to spend it with the last people on earth they want to spend five minutes with, let alone six months.

I had huge fun writing this book, each day, after I’d finished writing I took my dog for a walk through the nearby woods, past the local small distillery and I would think of Georgie, Iris and Nola and wonder what else could possibly go wrong for them. Could they find their happy ending? Three warring sisters, in a distillery – who needs gin and tonic to enjoy that?

The Gin Sisters’ Promise by Faith Hogan (author of The Ladies’ Midnight Swimming Club) is out on 9 June 2022. Published by Aria, an imprint of Head of Zeus. Available to buy in paperback for £12.99.

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