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Elizabeth Keysian | 5 Romantic Settings in Wessex
Author Guest / May 9, 2018

Five romantic settings from VANQUISHING THE VISCOUNT that you can see for yourself. The heroine of this book, Emma, lives in a crumbling Elizabethan manor house, which is too expensive to maintain. This is where James, Viscount Tidworth, falls ill and is nursed by Emma. She risks her reputation to help him, but he shows no sign of recalling the incident. Unless he’s shamming… Emma’s home, Tresham Court is based on Kentwell Hall in Suffolk, famous for its recreations of Tudor life. It was also the location used for filming Terry Jones’s film version of Wind in the Willows. Emma moves to Figheldene Hall to work as a governess, desperate to keep her noble origins under wraps for fear it will bring the bailiffs swooping down on her impoverished family. Figheldene is inspired by Horton Court in Gloucestershire, used in filming Wolf Hall and the series. The place is built around a Norman hall dating to c.1185, and was owned at one time by William Knight, who was pivotal in obtaining Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon. Emma is whisked away to the dizzy heights of No. 12, Great Pulteney Street in Bath. This is an elegant Georgian townhouse,…

Elizabeth Keysian | Five Scandals and Scoundrels that influenced me
Author Guest / December 13, 2017

I’ve always been attracted by the image of the heroic highwayman, even though the myth puts a golden gloss on reality. So I squeezed a highwayman into the plot of A PERILOUS PASSION—well, two, actually, although neither steals anything more valuable than a pocketful of eggs. My imagination was fuelled by the stories of Claude Duval, and James Maclaine. Duval was a Frenchman who took to highway robbery on English roads after the Restoration of Charles II. A great one for the ladies, Duval robbed them with courtesy and flattery, flouting his handsome looks. When he was executed, aged only 27, it is said a number of disguised but obviously wealthy female mourners came to pay their last respects. James Maclaine, “The Gentleman Highwayman”, worked in partnership with a bankrupt apothecary called William Plunkett. The elegantly-dressed Maclaine pursued the ladies, in search of an heiress or someone with a substantial dowry, but never quite made it to the altar. His clothing and lifestyle were paid for by highway robbery, although he tended to lurk in the background while Plunkett conducted the actual hold-ups. Maclaine, having accidentally grazed writer Horace Walpole with a pistol shot, then wrote him a letter of…