Hi Everyone, my name is Maddison Michaels and I’m thrilled to be doing a blog post for Fresh Fiction! First off, just to tell you a little about myself, I write historical romances that incorporate sexy history with a dash of mystery. My debut novel THE DEVILISH DUKE won the Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year in 2019 for best historical romance! It is book one in my ‘Saints and Scoundrels’ series, and book two is THE ELUSIVE EARL, with my current up and coming new release THE SINFUL SCOT being the third book in the series (they are all stand-alone, though the characters do make appearances in the other books).
One of the things I love about writing historical romances is researching the era and the setting that the book is set in. And I had such fun researching the Scottish Highlands which is where THE SINFUL SCOT is set in. I’ve never travelled there myself (though it’s on my bucket list) so I immersed myself online as much as possible to get a feel for the country-side. During my research, I spent some fun times looking at all of the castles in the regions, and I thought I’d share with you all some of the cool stuff I found out.
The main castle that I based Connie’s residence around was Dunrobin Castle – which is filled with some very interesting history… Currently, Dunrobin Castle is the seat of the Earl of Sutherland and Clan Sutherland and is the largest castle in the Northern Highlands. Here’s a pic of the Eastern view:
Isn’t it stunning!! The castle itself is thought to have been named after Robert, the 6th Earl of Sutherland, and was originally built in 1401. Of course, the castle in the picture is not the original castle from 1401– it underwent many changes over the years and between 1835 to 1855 it was remodeled extensively by Sir Charles Barry, who remolded in the Scottish baronial style, though he incorporated many elements inspired by the work of French architect, Violet-le-Duc, such as the pyramid style roof.
Though the castle did suffer damage when in 1915 it was used as a naval hospital and there was a fire, which damaged the roof and much of the interior, though it was mainly confined to the newer renovations. To restore the castle, Scottish architect, Sir Robert Lorimer was employed to renovate following the First World War.
Another interesting fact about the castle was that when the 5th Duke died in 1963, the castle and Earldom attached to it went to his niece (YES in Scotland females could inherit earldoms – isn’t that awesome!! I had to use this cool bit of research so I made one of the characters in The Sinful Scot, Lady Lorelie, heir to an earldom), while the dukedom had to pass to a male heir.
Interestingly enough between 1965 and 1972, the castle became a boarding school for boys. Then in 1973, the castle has been open to the public, however, the Sutherland family still retains private accommodation within for their own use.
Here is a pic of the west entrance of the castle:
Can you believe it, but there are 189 rooms within the castle – no wonder it’s the largest in the Northern Highlands (though it makes you wonder how many rooms the largest castle in Scotland has…)!
And take a look at the gardens of the castle… aren’t they amazing!! I would just love to go and explore them in person!
The gardens themselves cover over 1,379 acres and were apparently inspired by the Garden of Versailles and the French formal style. They were completed by Barry in 1850 and have been maintained since, with the same layout.
Anyhow, thank you so much for having me on the blog! And I hope you had fun reading about Castle Dunrobin!
Take care, Maddison
Saints & Scoundrels #3
Constance Campbell, the Duchess of Kilmaine, once believed that all she needed in life was a duke. But everything unraveled when she realized her perfect husband was a perfect monster. Now broken beyond repair, she hides her misery behind a perfect Society mask…even from her childhood friend, Alec.
Dr. Alec McGuiness reluctantly finds himself back in Scotland, and checking up on the only woman to ever get under his skin, Connie. After she spurned him many years ago, he knows his humble life as a doctor could never be enough for her. But when the Duke of Kilmaine is murdered in cold blood, with Connie sleeping right next to him in bed, Alec knows he must protect Connie at all costs from those who would frame her for the duke’s murder.
Now on the run, Connie feels a freedom she only ever dreamed about before, and an unexpected attraction to the man who is keeping her safe. But even if they can win her freedom and clear her name, could she ever open her heart up to someone again?
Each book in the Saints & Scoundrels series is STANDALONE:
* The Devilish Duke
* The Elusive Earl
* The Sinful Scot
Romance Historical [Entangled: Amara, On Sale: January 27, 2020, e-Book, ISBN: 9781682814789 / eISBN: 9781682814789]
About Maddison Michaels
Indoctrinated into a world of dashing rogues and feisty heroines when she was a teenager, Maddison Michaels is a bestselling, award-winning Australian romance author, who loves to write sexy history with a dash of mystery! Her debut novel, THE DEVILISH DUKE, won the 2019 RWA Australia Historical Romance Book of the year.
Maddison’s historical novels are her way of time traveling back to Victorian London to experience a cornucopia of intrigue, romance, and debauchery all from the comfort of her living room! She lives in Sydney, Australia with her own very handsome hero, beautiful daughter, and two fur babies! Oh and always starts her day with a cup of liquid gold… coffee (just quietly, she’s addicted to the stuff)!