Home Improvements Historical Style!

Appuldurcombe exteriorNicola here. One thing that always interests me about the castles and old houses I visit is the different stages in their life; the way in which their purpose changes over the years and so they change shape and the usage of the rooms varies and the gardens are altered and each generation develops the property and leaves their mark on their home. It struck me recently as we planned some renovations to our cottage that the process we go through is not so different from that of grand builders of stately homes, only on a much smaller scale! (The picture is Appuldurcombe House on the Isle of Wight – more on that later.)

Ashdown House, for example, was used as a hunting lodge for several hundred years and so was not lived in permanently. It therefore remained architecturally unaltered all that time because there was no change in its purpose and so no need to spend money on alterations. However the moment the Victorian Cravens decided to take up residence there on a full time basis, they changed it completely. The house was too small to be an aristocratic family home so they extended it, just as people build extensions now. They added two wings, with a ballroom, a smoking room and a billiards room, and most importantly, one suspects, they built servants’ quarters to house the thirty eight people who waited on them! The gardens were also considered too plain so they remodelled them as well with a fashionable Italianate parterre garden that was all the rage in the mid-nineteenth century. 

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Regency Romantic Adventure with Alison Stuart!

Alison-web smallNicola here, and today I am thrilled to be interviewing author Alison Stuart on the blog. I've been a fan of Alison's books for a while and when I heard that she was forsaking the 17th century to write her first Regency I was intrigued by this change of era. Having had the pleasure of reading Lord Somerton's Heir I can confirm that it has all Alison's trademark adventure and action as well as intriguing characters and passionate romance. So, over to Alison!

AS: Thank you so much for inviting me to join the august company of Word Wenches today!

NC: It's a pleasure to have you visiting the blog, Alison. Please tell us a little about Lord Somerton’s Heir.

AS: I think my publisher (Escape Publishing) summed up the story of LORD SOMERTON’S HEIR rather succinctly in a recent promo piece: “A Regency romantic suspense about a widow who wants to move on, a war veteran with an unexpected inheritance, an estate in desperate need of a Lord, and an unexpected attraction that complicates everything.”

LORD SOMERTON’S HEIR is about the characters and in Sebastian and Isabel I found two damaged people seeking forgiveness and redemption.  Dark shadows haunt both characters and a mysterious death stands between them. Sebastian and Isabel have to work hard for their HEA! There is also a cast of secondary characters that I had a lot of fun with, particularly Sebastian’s batman, Bennet, who is guaranteed to lighten the mood.

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