Author Profile : Alison Hoblyn

Alison Hoblyn lives in Oxfordshire with her architect husband and two daughters.
At age eleven her first published piece was a descriptive letter to a girls’ magazine about a visit to Spain.

After a thirty year hiatus in her writing life – which she filled with the visual arts as a designer, artist and teacher – she returned to publication in the form of a book on painting techniques and articles for magazines. This enjoyment of words led her further to write fiction. Her other passions are gardens and travelling and the inspiration for her stories most often grows from visually arresting places.

The idea for The Scent of Water grew out of the image of renewal – brought by water to a thirsting plant – and a visit to a sublime Tuscan garden. She also wanted to explore the way both art and wisdom can have an influence on lives lived centuries later.

By this author

The Scent of Water by Alison Hoblyn

ISBN 1-905175-175 Price £7.99

Available November 2005

Read an extract from the book here


“A transformational story. A journey through loss and change, to forgiveness, faith, and new beginnings.”


Ellie, an artist in her middle age, needs to live her life in a new way after the death of her husband. Feeling fearful but doing it anyway, she enrols on a garden course in Tuscany one spring.

Here she begins relationships with fellow students Nerine – an eccentric character in her seventies – and the much younger Max. Through the teaching of Salvatore – the owner of an ancient palazzo – Ellie comes to find that the universal truths, expressed in the Renaissance painting Primavera and the philosophy of Marsilio Ficino, still hold a potent relevance


“I really enjoyed the book. So much of it was quietly beautiful and delicately perceptive and the plotting was good.

You assemble an utterly convincing cast of characters right from the beginning, and the novel's real strength lies in the way understanding of these builds, so that even when we are confronted by the worst things....we are still required to see this as just another aspect of multi-faceted humanity, which we, like Ellie, have to come to terms with.

So, many congratulations on your insights – and incidentally on the knowledge and love of art and gardens which shines through each chapter.

What a deeply satisfying ending. It is full of hope, and a sense of
rightness...which is exactly what I for one, want from a book.”

Bel Mooney, journalist and broadcaster

‘This book is a joy… lyrical and contemplative.’

Marina Oliver

‘Lyrical prose, a good, strong storyline, plenty of soul searching and last minute revelations all add up to an excellent read.’

The Nottingham Evening Post

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