Saturday, 28 March 2009

The Wild Card

Take a young man seeking adventure and action. He fights in Wellington's Peninsular Army against the French forces of Napoleon. But then he is badly wounded at the battle of Talavera and has to give up the military career he loves so much. He becomes moody and difficult.

Another young man lives the life of a society darling but he has no money. He must live by his wits. Into their lives comes a lively young lady, determined that she will not be married off to anyone, even though her mother has ordered her to make a good match. She longs to go back home and carry on helping her father the vicar with his good works.

B -u -t the two gentlemen are so very handsome and so admiring, she is tempted.... just a little....and at the same time she becomes aware of sinister undercurrents in society life. She has to prevent a spy from damaging her country, but at  a possibly fatal cost to herself.

 The Wild Card was one of the winners in the RNA Joan Hessayon Awards for a first novel.  
The Judge’s summary:

The Wild Card (Hale) by Beth Elliot  - "The background is terrific, the story lively and the pace relentless as the story builds to a fantastic climax. A wonderful charming and well-written Regency with its essential lightness spiced with intrigue."

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

I couldn't resist

I took my Turkish cousin to Bath for the day. She loved everything, starting with the Abbey and the Pump Room. And when she suggested snapping me in the same place as shown on the cover of In All Honour, how could I resist?

Sunday, 8 March 2009

The city of Bath

'Mr Allen...was ordered to Bath for the benefit of a gouty constitution.' Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. And so begin the adventures of Catherine Morland in the delightful, smart and lively city of Bath

Bath is a beautiful city, thanks to the harmony of the architecture and the honey coloured local stone. It was always an important place, due to the healing powers of its hot springs, first developed by the Romans. In the Georgian period there was a massive development programme to provide elegant and comfortable public and private buildings.
For Georgian society Bath was THE place to spend several weeks or months in the winter.They came to take the waters for their health but also to enjoy showing off their fine clothes as they walked along the wide pavements or in the Parade Gardens below the Abbey. There were coffee houses, circulating libraries, pleasure gardens and of course the Assembly Rooms, where they could dance, gamble and drink tea.
The truly sick were taken from their beds straight into a sedan chair [the staircases and doorways in Bath are all made wide enough for this service] and taken to the hot bath, which gave relief from rheumatic pain.

The Sedan Chair
[Image courtesy of ]

Other complaints were treated by drinking a pint of the warm spring water three times a day. No wonder they sought out the amusements and entertainments to have something they could enjoy!

You can view many old scenes, etchings and paintings of Bath in the Georgian period at 
 Several of the characters of In All Honour are in Bath for their health. Another family is there because it was a useful way to prepare the young daughter, Lavinia, for her come-out in London. In Bath she can learn to dance without being too shy, she can join in the morning promenades, the tea parties, the concerts and gain poise and the necessary social skills of polite conversation and exquisite manners so that she will not be mauled in the tougher world of London society.
In addition, there were a number of schools or seminaries in Bath, for the education of young ladies. Sarah and her friend Lizzie spent several years in Miss Howard's Academy in Queen Square. Then as now, the shops were full of smart and enticing goods and the girls enjoyed their Sunday afternoon walk around the town, when they could get a glimpse of these tempting things.