It’s season finale time – and we’re staying in the West Country for our last On Location post of the year. I’m delighted to welcome author Rachel Brimble as my guest to talk about the beautiful city of Bath, the setting for her series of Regency novels.
I was born and bred in the maritime city of Bristol but, in 2001, my husband and I moved to a small market town just a short 30-minute drive from Bath, along with our eldest daughter who was two at the time and our youngest daughter who was happily cooking away in my belly!
Back then, writing was little more than a pipedream that I’d harboured for as long as I can remember but, once we were living so close to Bath it quickly became my one of favourite places to visit and all sorts of story ideas began to float around in my mind.
Not that I did anything about them until a few years to later – I didn’t start writing properly until my youngest started school full-time in 2005. As a voracious reader of historical fiction and romance, as well as an avid watcher of each and every period drama that might grace our TV screens, to be so close to where so many famous scenes have been filmed is a constant thrill.
Bath has been used for BBC adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, not to mention films such as The Duchess starring Kiera Knightley and Vanity Fair starring Reese Witherspoon. Most recently, of course, it was used in season 1 of the fabulously successful Bridgerton.
One of my favourite places to visit is No 1 Royal Crescent which is open to the public for most of the year. Each room, it fantastic staircase, kitchens and small yard have all been retained as they might have looked during mid-late eighteenth century. I especially enjoy visiting when I am in the process of plotting a new series which I plan to set in Bath. This house has been used several times in my different books albeit in different guises!
Other famous Bath landmarks I have used in my books include Pulteney Bridge, Parade Gardens, Victoria Park, Sally Lunn’s Eating House, the Assembly Rooms, the Pump room and many of the pubs dotted around the city, some of which date back to early fourteenth century. The city is an absolute godsend to me and my work!
Every September (if circumstances allow), Bath hosts the Jane Austen festival will draws Janeites (devotees of Jane Austen) from all over the world. The events I have attended over the years have always been fantastic and vary from tours around the city, to balls, to regency markets and palm-reading. It’s two weeks of Jane Austen and Regency fun which culminates in the grand Regency Parade where hundred of people snake through the city side by side. Actors and the public dress up in Regency costume, including military uniforms, day dresses, ball gowns and clerical dress. It’s a wonderful sight to see and a date for next year’s diary for any Jane Austen fans!
So far, all of my historicals have been set in Bath and Pennington’s department store, which is the focus of the Shop Girl series, was inspired by Jolly’s on Bath’s famous Milsom Street… although Pennington’s is probably five times the size!
As for other real-life places which feature in my latest series, The Ladies of Carson Street, there are too many mentioned in their real or fictional guises to list them all, but Carson Street itself was ignited in my imagination by North Parade, a beautiful row of Georgian townhouses opposite Parade Gardens.
Bath is wonderful and I feel blessed to live so very close and be able to visit whenever I want…
Books 1 & 2 in the Ladies of Carson Street trilogy are available now with book 3 due for release in February 2022. Here are the buy links for A Widow’s Vow and Trouble For The Leading Lady.
You can find out more about Rachel and her writing at https://www.rachelbrimble.com
Many thanks to Rachel for taking part. I’ve visited Bath many times and it has to be one of my favourite cities in the UK. It’s a great way to end the series and I hope everyone has enjoyed reading about the locations I’ve featured over the summer. Hopefully you feel inspired to visit some of these amazing places, even if it’s just through the pages of a book!