18th Century thriller set mainly in Stockholm
A time-slip novel set in Bath – plus Talking Location with one of the authors
17th January 2017
The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen, by Ada Bright and Cass Grafton, a time-slip novel set in Bath.
September in Bath! How much can happen! The city is playing host to the annual Jane Austen Festival running over 10 days. People in early 19th Century costume are parading up the well known streets made famous through her novels, Great Pulteney Street, Sydney Place, the Royal Crescent and more.
Rose Wallace is an avid Jane Austen fan, she is working for a letting agency and is waiting for her friend from the States, Morgan Taylor, an exuberant Californian. Watch out too for Dr Aiden Trevellyan!
Rose happens upon Jenny Ashton, who seems very much the part and genuinely writes like the author and even speaks with the lilt and vocabulary of the era. Strange, but gradually the penny begins to drop. Could it be “her”? But how, that would be just too bizarre…..
A necklace of topaz and chains of gold that adorns her throat is an integral part to the story. Early on a naughty dog snatches it and because of this event, Jane is very much in the present and there is no evidence of any of her literary work. What does Rose need to do assist her new found friend to get her work written, in the appropriate era, in order that her legacy is available to subsequent generations? There isn’t a single book with her name on it in the here and now! Action has to be taken, the necklace has to be recovered as it is instrumental in the ability to transfer between periods. Stuck as she is in the recent present, Rose simply has to assist Jane in moving back in time. If not this necklace, then is there another way to solve the situation?
Tina for the TripFiction Team
Over to one of the authors, Cass Grafton, for #TalkingLocationWith…
Bath was not only one of the main inspirations behind our story, The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen, but the location became almost another character! The story is a contemporary mystery-cum-romance with a strong underlying theme of friendship running through it, and it’s set, as you can probably imagine, in this beautiful city.
As a regular visitor to Bath, I had the opportunity in 2014 to stay in the only former residence of the well-known author where you can actually spend the night!
Combine one over-active imagination with a mysteriously locked door and an old iron safe built into the wall, and I was already thinking about how Jane Austen would view present day Bath if she reappeared in her former home and, more particularly, the annual festival in her name. I love to people watch, and the idea of her observing all the fans who travel to Bath each year to celebrate her life and works really amused me.
Ada and I have had a lot of fun co-writing online in the past and, after years of talking about it, we finally decided it was time to turn this enjoyment into a book.
With one of us living in California and the other, although British, currently living in Switzerland, we’ve always been amused by what we have in common and yet how easy it is to confuse one another. All we needed to really get our book going was a story to showcase what we’ve experienced and hopefully express how fun and heart-warming it’s been.
Once I’d started to tell Ada about my stay at No 4, we knew we had our story at last. All we had to do, despite the thousands of miles between us and the nine-hour time difference, was write it!
How was the location researched and explored?
We met up in Bath in the spring of 2015 to brain storm our plot and define our main characters, and during that time, Ada had a whistle-stop tour of key locations. She had been to Bath before, but not with the story inside her head!
Thereafter, because I lived so much nearer, I was able to hop over to Bath several times during the writing phase, and spent time talking to Marcus Whittington, the Director of Bath Boutique Stays, about the renovation and restoration of No 4 Sydney Place. I also spent time with the Local Studies Librarian in Bath Central Library and met up with Jackie Herring, Director of the Jane Austen Festival. These discussions all fed various aspects of the plot.
Of course, Ada and I also did some careful research of local restaurants on behalf of our characters, who do have a love of eating out!
Some of our favourite things to see and do in Bath!
If you are already a Jane Austen fan, then our top recommendation is to attend the annual Jane Austen Festival. Visitors come from all over the world to experience 10 days of everything Austen in this beautiful city, including a grand costumed promenade through the streets, a masked ball in the Pump Room and numerous trips, walks and talks on every possible subject connected to the author’s life, works and era.
Key locations to enjoy include walking in the footsteps of the heroines of two of Austen’s novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, as well as those of the author herself. Personally, we love to walk along the Royal Crescent, visit the Assembly Rooms and take afternoon tea in the Pump Room.
Best place to stay for an Austen fan? Why, No 4 Sydney Place, of course! As mentioned, this Georgian townhouse overlooking Sydney Gardens has been converted into high-end holiday apartments. They are a charming mix of character and modern appliances, perfect for enjoying a true Jane Austen experience with all the 21st Century creature comforts we are accustomed to.
If you’re not a Jane Austen fan, then Bath is still a wonderful location for a short break or longer holiday at any time of year. A World Heritage City with stunning architecture wherever you look, it has great shopping and restaurants and hosts several festivals throughout the year, along with a popular Christmas Market.
For drinks, we love Hall & Woodhouse, especially in the summer on its roof top terrace. For relaxation, enjoy a session at the Thermae Bath Spa, including a dip in the roof-top pool/Jacuzzi! For that special meal, try Aqua on Walcot Street or The Circus on Brock Street (which links the Royal Crescent to the Circus, two of Bath’s most iconic locations).
Thank you so much to Cass for sharing their joint research and top tips for the city of Bath!
About the Authors:
Ada Bright is an author, wife, mother, friend and all around lover of stories. She grew up in Southern California, where she maintains a fun household and yearns for rain once in awhile.