Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to a great 2015. As I look back at 2014, I am grateful for so many blessings and experiences.
One of the highlights from last year was my trip to England in May. My Edwardian Brides series is set there, and I was eager to see more of the country and visit the location I’d chosen for the setting. For months my friend and fellow author, Cathy Gohlke, and I exchanged emails and phone calls as we planned our trip. Our excitement grew as we made reservations and purchased our tickets.
Finally on May first, we flew overnight from Philadelphia to Manchester. From there we took a train down to Bristol. The next morning we set off to explore Tyntesfield, the beautiful country estate I have in mind as I write about Highland Hall. I’d seen several photos of Tyntesfield online and even watched a documentary about its history, but I was not prepared for how amazing it was to see it in person.
We went to the gift shop first where we met our friend and fellow author Melanie Dobson, who was also doing research for her novels. The day was bright and sunny, and the gardens were in bloom. As we toured the house and grounds I was continually awestruck by the beautiful details in the woodwork, tile, furniture, paintings and sculptures. Cathy, Melanie, and I kept smiling and saying how beautiful it was as we snapped more photos. It just felt so unreal to be there!
I’d hoped to see the night nursery, since many of the scenes in The Governess of Highland Hall take place there, but we were told an antique mirror had fallen and broken on the floor, causing a mercury spill which was dangerous, so the room was closed. But when the staff learned I was an author who had set a novel at Tyntesfield, we were taken upstairs on a private tour of the day nursery and shown the governess’s bedroom. What a delight! It was just as I had pictured it. We saw several other beautiful rooms as well.
One of the most surprising and beautiful parts of Tyntesfield is the chapel. The Gibbs Family who oringially build Tyntesfield were deelply committed to their faith and added this lovely chapel to their home. The stained glass windows and the mosaics are amazing.
I treasure the memories of that visit to Tyntesfield. And as I look back on the photos and read the notes in my journal, I’m thankful I could share the day with two good friend who understood how meaningful it was to me.
You may not be able to visit Tyntesfield in person . . . but you can get a taste of what it’s like when you read The Governess of Highland Hall, The Daughter of Highland Hall, and next fall, A Refuge at Highland Hall. You can order your copies here.
Until next time ~ Happy Reading,