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Restoration Heart

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781472132178

Price: £12.99

ON SALE: 17th September 2020

Genre: Biography & True Stories / Biography: General / Autobiography: General

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‘Breathtaking untold story . . . riotously colourful’ Mail on Sunday

‘I read most of it in one exciting sitting. It is brilliant, gripping and sad’ Harry Mount

Restoration Heart is a story of love, double divorce and redemption. It is a biography of the heart, and of a house. When William Cash suffers a post-divorce, mid-life breakdown, aged 43, life seemed bleak – but things were about to change. Like William himself, his old Shropshire family house Upton Cressett was in as much in need of being rescued and ‘fixed up’ as its owner. As William embarks on re-building his life and ruin of a country house, he starts looking again for love. But money, patience and the likelihood of ever finding family happiness soon start to run out.

Drawing on his haul of letters written to various wives, fiancées and girlfriends – all potential third wives – the book follows Cash’s search for a chatelaine for Upton Cressett. Restoration Heart is a tempestuous, Gulliver-like voyage of the heart with a colourful cast of figures including Tom Wolfe, Jay McInerney, Margaret Thatcher, Elizabeth Hurley, David Hockney, Piers Morgan, an American singer legend cousin and, most dramatically, future prime minister Boris Johnson. Hilarious and poignant, this ‘restore-a-wreck’ memoir is an account of how an Englishman is rescued by love, architecture and beauty. The memoir also holds up a dark lens to the Bonfire of the Vanities generation that Cash was a member of at Cambridge.

The story reveals how a broken man can become completely transformed – both emotionally and imaginatively – by a building and its surrounding landscape. During the four year refurbishment, the house’s reclamation becomes inexorably linked with his own re-birth and salvation before he finally marries for the third time and gets to live in his family house. This is not a misery-memoir; it is an uplifting – albeit tempestuous – Gulliver-like biography of the heart with an ancient Elizabethan house as the writer’s Arcadian safe house and source of salvation.

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A touching, entertaining memoir which traces the twin track restoration of a broken heart and dilapidated Shropshire Manor
The Tablet
Cash, who has often written of society and scandal, is adept at setting dramatic scenes throughout his memoir. Yet there's another layer to Restoration Heart-an acute literary sense . . . Restoration Heart is buoyed by Cash's self-effacing humor. He's a romantic when it comes to love, and also writing
The Millions
Intriguing . . . wittily recounted and moving . . . This book will surely give heart to anyone embarking on a seemingly Sisyphean restoration job, be it of the house or of the soul
Mary Killen, The Lady
Hilarious . . . Restoration Heart conveys the transformative power of good architecture . . . this book is one to be treasured
The New Criterion
A funny and unexpectedly touching book
Clive Aslet, Country Life
Historic House
Cash emerges as a flamboyant character . . . a classically English romantic . . . Cash's transition is genuinely endearing
The Art Newspaper
Recommended . . . unexpected poignancy
New Statesman
A very amusing and candid memoir
Jeremy Musson, architectural historian and broadcaster
An endearing story of rebuilding and restoring
You magazine
I'm very much enjoying Restoration Heart
John Challis, aka Boyce in Only Fools and Horses and restore-a-wreck author
Breathtaking untold story . . . riotously colourful
Mail on Sunday
I read most of it in one exciting sitting. It's brilliant, gripping and sad. The personal romantic memoir is terrific
Harry Mount, editor of The Oldie
Immensely readable . . . Laugh-out-loud funny, Restoration Heart is a delightful true story of love, hope and redemption by one of the foremost society writers of our day
An excellent memoir
Nicholas Coleridge
This entertaining, often poignant, book is straight out of Waugh or Wodehouse
Catholic Herald