The Brides of Fortune Quartet!
Fortune’s Folly is a fictional spa town but I based it mainly on Harrogate, where I had previously set one of my books, The Chaperon Bride. I have very fond memories of Harrogate from my childhood (afternoon tea at Betty’s tea shop!) The discovery of medicinal springs at Harrogate was first made in 1571. The first well, the Tewitt Well, was located in the middle of the open area of land called The Stray where the villagers grazed their animals. In the 17th century the medicinal properties of the waters were more widely publicised by Edmund Deane who wrote Spadacrene Anglica, or the English Spa Fountain and by the later 17th and 18th centuries Harrogate had developed considerable fame as a spa town.
In Regency times Harrogate was known as "the Bath of the North" and noble families made regular visits. The air was bracing and invalids would take the waters -"the Cure" - at the Sweet Spaw in High Harrogate, which tasted better than the Stinking Spaw in the village of Low Harrogate! But Harrogate was not only a spa - there were also balls and assemblies, visits to the Theatre Royal and trips out to the medieval castle at Knaresborough. It was a lively place, busy with the red coats of young officers on furlough and older officers retired from Army life, lords on the hunt for an heiress bride and ladies looking to dance at the balls and snare themselves a husband... It seemed the perfect setting for a Regency Quartet and so I had the background to The Brides of Fortune!
These days you can take the waters at the Valley Gardens and the Royal Pump Room Museum. But be warned – the sulphur and iron in them is a horrible combination and I thought it tasted vile!
The Secrets of a Courtesan will be available online from Harlequin HQN Books from 18th May and The Confessions of a Duchess will be on sale in the US and online in June. There is also a contest on my website to win copies of both books!