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Guest: Rachel Brimble

Lovely Lucknam Park

The inspiration behind my July release, The Arrival Of Lily Curtis came from a house – a house steeped in English beauty and history. Today, Lucknam Park is a five star hotel and spa, boasting Michelin Star chefs and luxurious indulgence and I was thrilled when a friend treated me to afternoon tea there.

As soon as I sat in the astounding beautiful conservatory, I knew I had found my hero’s home. Writers and readers of Victorian romance have the uncanny knack of seeing beyond the modern changes, the dress of today’s visitors and nonchalant acceptance that these buildings exist all over the UK, to propel themselves back to a time when real people lived in such huge homes and rode their horses across such vast estates.

By the mid 1800s, the house had passed hands several times but it was during this time that the magnificent columned portico and bow wings were added to the house as well as acres and acres of country land. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any pictures of the exterior of the house which weren’t under copyright but I strongly urge you to visit the house website to see just how romantic looking a house Lucknam Park is, www.lucknampark.co.uk and how easily it became my mission to make it come alive with my characters and plot.

The rooms are amazing, the Jacobean paneling and crystal chandeliers breathtaking and the antiques scattered seemingly carelessly on side tables and shelving downright scary!

Here’s the blurb for the story I created to take place with Lucknam Park in mind:

At the mention of an arranged marriage, Elizabeth Caughley feels her life is over at the age of three and twenty….so she hatches an escape plan. She will reinvent herself as a housemaid. Overnight, Elizabeth becomes Lily.

Viscount Westrop wants nothing more than his legacy to be passed to his own son one day. Even though he feels insurmountable pity for the unborn child already, he knows how much pain a broken promise can cause and will do what is right. But with the arrival of his new housemaid, his plans are thrown into disarray. Lily is funny, feisty and the most beautiful creature on earth – Andrew is thunderstruck. But if anyone suspects how much he wants to ravish her and endlessly love her, Andrew’s lineage will be in peril. And he cannot let that happen…

Excerpt:

Lily lifted her head and met eyes as blue as a crisp winter sky. He said nothing as he continued to study her. His eyes hungrily brushed over her hair, her neck, her breasts. Lily flicked a glance left and right as her body traitorously heated beneath his gaze. The other gentlemen were carefully watching the exchange. Their curious eyes darted back and forth between the two, undeniable amusement twitching their lips.

“Are you ready to be seated in the dining room, my lord?” Lily said, standing a little straighter.

“I’m sorry?”

“Your meal, sir?”

He blinked and the tension broke. He hastily threw a look at his friends before turning to meet her eyes once more. He straightened his spine and regally lifted his chin. Lily held his gaze, noticed that his eyes now burned with something she couldn’t quite decipher but whatever it was triggered her natural defences to high alert. The curiosity when he had looked at her not a moment before had vanished, only to be replaced with mischief.

His smile turned wolverine. “Oh, I’m more than ready to eat, Lily. I’m positively salivating.”

Lily smarted as his friends burst into a flurry of mocking laughter. She gritted her teeth but kept her eyes locked on his. The tone of his voice had disguised neither the implication nor his obvious enjoyment at her expense. A flame of indignation ignited inside of her.

Her smile was slow and intentionally provocative. “I am so pleased, sir. For I would hate for you to have to endure cold soup.” Her gaze lingered down to his crotch. “After all, you and your guests are quite obviously still chilled from an afternoon of riding.”

The gentlemen’s sniggers instantly halted and the lord’s smile dissolved. He looked from her face to his crotch and back again. His eyes widened.

“Why, you….”

The Arrival of Lily Curtis is available from July 23rd at http://www.thewildrosepress.com but I will be giving a pdf copy to one lucky commenter tomorrow. Hope you enjoy reading Lily and Andrew’s story as much as I did writing it!
www.rachelbrimble.com

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14 Comments

  1. Glenys says:

    Rachel – touring those wonderful stately homes is always top of my list in the UK & Ireland…and the occasional French chateau, too. I like to think I was an aristocrat in a past life, but probably was a tween stairs maid 🙂 Your book sounds like fun, and I really like the premise, Wishing you lots of success!

  2. Isabel Roman says:

    Rachel, thanks so much for stopping by! I’m sorry I never figured out how to get the house picture posted. 😦 OH, duh! Where’s my head…here. That works!

  3. Great excerpt, Rachel! The building looks gorgeous! I’m sure it’s just as beautiful inside!

    Best of luck with your release!

  4. What a great concept – a fiesty heroine and a gorgeous home to build your story in. I agree that those old, beautiful houses are intriguing. Sometimes I wish walls could talk. Imagine the stories they could share.

    Best of luck with lots of sales. It was nice meeting you today.

  5. Thanks so much for your interest and kind comments, ladies! I loved writing this book and having Lucknam Park and its surrounding countryside to visit as an excuse was fantastic.
    In fact, I’m starting to think of where my next excuse…i mean, book could be set ; )

    Thanks for the excellent picture of the house, Isabel – I couldn’t find one as good as that which wasn’t under copyright!

    Best
    Rachel x

  6. Sherry says:

    I hope your new ‘excuse’ is as beautiful a house as this one. No wonder you wanted to people it with your own characters.
    I enjoyed the excerpt, too.

  7. Beautiful house. Your story sounds very interesting. Love your cover.

  8. Rachel, what a beautiful cover and country home. I envy you getting to see inside. I love travel to the UK and Ireland, but didn’t get to visit inside as many homes as I wish. Your book sounds delightful. Good luck with sales!

    caroline@carolineclemmons.com

  9. I love your excerpt, Rachel. Very saucy!

    How wonderful to have such fantastic inspiration right on your doorstep, so to speak.

    We writers have the best job in the world, don’t we?

  10. Denise Eagan says:

    What a lovely, um, house? Mansion? Oh whatever, it’s gorgeous. The books sounds awesome too! Love those Cinderella type stories (even if she isn’t really a housemaid, it’s still fun!–has me very curious about her real background too).

  11. What a wonderful estate to have as your inspiration. And what good luck to have tea there! Sounds like your heroine is in a difficult fix. Makes for an intriguing and entertaining story. 🙂
    Congratulations!

  12. I am so happy to have received such a great response from everyone regarding my writing, the beautiful estate of Lucknam Park and future ‘excuses’!

    I have just started my second historical, set near Lucknam Park in the famous city of Bath, UK. If any of you travel to the UK and want to immerse yourself in Georgian/Regency history, make this your first port of call. It is a beautiful place and I am lucky enough to live just twenty minutes away by car.

    I will be back shortly to announce the winner of the pdf of The Arrival of Lily Curtis!

    x

  13. Shelley says:

    Hugh Jackman is turning over in his grave.

  14. Hello again, everyone!

    I forgot to announce the winner here and contacted her direct instead, whoops! The winner is Caroline Clemmons, YAY!!!!!!!!!

    Enjoy!!!!

    (Hi Shelley – not sure I understand your comment?!)

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