India Hicks’ new book is the sum total of all her lives.
One’s about creating a social-selling business that women can run from their kitchen tables. Another’s about building a house that fits into its landscape. The third may be the most challenging: Mother to five children, ages 10 – 21.
And in “India Hicks: A Slice of England,” all those all blend into one. “It’s about how to write a book, create a business and design a house without going bat-sh** crazy,” the New York Times best-selling author quips. “And how to live with horrible teenagers.”
There’s more to it than that, though – lots more. The book’s split into two sections: One’s devoted to her family’s homes in the English countryside. That means the Broadlands estate belonging to her grandparents, Lord and Lady Mountbatten. And how her father, legendary designer David Hicks, brought life and style to the rooms of Britwell and Grove, in the English countryside.
Her inspiration came from those houses, and her parents. “My mother has the second-best design eye in England and my father had the first,” she says. “And I was lucky enough to have a taste of that.”
The book’s second section vividly describes how she reinterpreted all she inherited into her own home, America Farm, in idyllic Oxfordshire, England. Mingled into the book’s 224 pages are anecdotes – clever, stylish and witty – of what it means to grow up among British and design royalty.
“It’s a journey, with some of the day-to-day traditions of English life, like mince pies, fireplaces and travelling circuses,” she says. “But it’s really about the power of family legacy and how to adapt it to modern life.”
The challenges of pulling it all together? For starters, she’s chronically dyslexic, and apologizes in advance for having no sense of grammar. And though she does love writing, there was pressure too, from building a business and raising a family all at once.
It’s an easy read, says a self-deprecating Hicks. “This is picture book that takes about 20 minutes to read while sitting on a loo,” she says. “I am not Tolstoy.”
Maybe not. But she is loaded more style than most mortals on this planet.
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