The story is set in Regency England (as I’m sure you’ve picked up on). England is my home, I was born and bred here and I really do love it more than anywhere else in the world. It’s the countryside that inspires most of my love. It is just beautiful in the life spring gives, the heat of the summer (occasional heat at least), the grey rainy days of autumn and the crisp, frosty mornings of winter. I also love my heritage, it adds so much to the landscape you’re viewing. Knowing who walked here before you, seeing the ruins of castles where barons once ruled, walking beside canals with longboats still resident, climbing the rugged hills in the Peak District, seeing sheep on the hills where they have grazed for hundreds of years, driving down roads that were originally Roman and standing on the wind whipped coast of the West Country; it’s all just so…well, what’s the word for it? So, inspirational.
I guess a lot of people view English people and therefore English history as filled with stuffy, stiff-upper-lip people- that’s the stereotype at least. Truth be told, however, when you look over the years of the past you see extraordinary English people who were by no means stuffy at all. Look at Henry VIII, one of the most notorious kings and the one I loved to study at primary school, he was by no means prude and proper and yet he shaped so much of history. I think Prince George, the Regent of Britain between 1811-1820, was quite like Henry, famous for his fatness when he was older and infamous for his greed, though like Henry, he too patronised the arts.
Anyway, I am getting besides the point, I think I just wanted to explain that English history, much like any other history is filled with people, not stereotypes and it is into this real history that I tried to write the characters of The Widow’s Redeemer. They are all fictitious of course, but they are all living in a very non-fictitious country! They are living in England, my England, and the story starts in Cornwall. For all my non-English readers and the natives who have never visited the West Country, there is really nothing like it.
Cornwall is, in my opinion, the most beautiful place in Britain (though I have yet to see the Highlands of Scotland) and as such is obviously one of my favourites! It just so happens that my parents have recently retired down there and that is just delightful for me! Driving down to Cornwall is like driving back in time or rather, into a time that doesn’t exist…it’s a world apart from the rest of the country and that’s in a good way. When I stand upon the cliffs, stepping gingerly out to the edge with sheer drops either side of me, the swirling jade below roiling up into smashes of foam upon blackened rocks, the coarse grasses behind me, the free expanse of sea before me and the heavens above, time suspends, I stand inspired and in awe.
The story then comes away from Cornwall as Letty Burton travels to London with her mother-in-law Clarissa Burton. Now, I have never liked London. I’m sorry, but it’s a fact, and from reading M.M. Bennett’s post about it on English Historical Fiction Authors, it sounds even more ghastly in the past than it is in the present. I guess you could peg down the reason for my dislike of London (and also any city), to the fact that it presents the total opposite of the West Country and therefore places I love. They are crowded, bustling, polluted places and the thing I find the hardest is the claustrophobia, knowing I’m miles from an open green-field. Even writing about it makes cringe.
Yet, Regency London is something that I can at least read and write about because, although I dislike cities, I love to people watch and people watching is best done in densely populated areas don’t you think? I think that’s why I can write about Regency London.
The final destination I will leave you to find out when you read it 😉 I hope you enjoyed this post, I actually really loved writing about the place I love and am now smiling 🙂
Only 11 days to go!
Remember, the GoodReads Giveaway of The Widow’s Redeemer is still FREE to enter and there is the chance to win one of two copies of my debut novel! Enter Here!