Hitchin businesswoman stars in new novel

A BOOK based on the success of a Hitchin businesswoman will be launched in the town tomorrow (Saturday).

Summer Daydreams by Carole Matthews will be on sale at Waterstones, with both the author and the woman it was based on signing copies.

Hitchin resident Helen Rochfort is at the centre of the novel which will be sold in 30 countries, after setting up her own designer handbags company five years ago.

Helen, who started up in Hitchin Market, now has 110 stockists worldwide with celebrity endorsement from Sienna Miller and Hollie Willoughby.

Carole and Helen met on social networking site Facebook through a shared love of handbags, and after the author asked Helen to create a limited edition handbag for the launch of her novel The Chocolate Lovers Club, they became friends.

“She realised I had quite a colourful life and approached me about two years ago about the idea of using the story of me juggling family life and becoming a successful handbag designer,” said Helen, whose business is based in Station Terrace.

“I’d say the book is about 75 per cent true so it’s been a really strange experience. There’s lots of little details about my daughter and my dog so it’s really close it. Carole has written for Hollywood so she did say it could be a film as well!

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“The novel mentions Bancroft Gardens and all the major landmarks around Hitchin. Hopefully it’s going to put Hitchin and the surrounding area on the international map.”

Both Helen and Carole will be at Waterstones from 11am to 1pm on Saturday, where a pop-up shop of Helen Rochfort merchandise will be on display.