It’s always a treat to hear about Anna’s books, so I am delighted today to bring you news of her latest which is released tomorrow. To whet your appetite, Anna is going to tell us all about the setting for The Highlander’s English Bride. Take it away, Anna!
The Setting for The Highlander’s English Bride by Anna Campbell
I’m an Aussie who has always had very itchy feet. The last few years, I’ve been lucky enough to do a big European trip, involving extended stays in the UK. This year, for various reasons, I was unable to make it – and as it’s turned out that with the world going mad around me, I’m very glad that’s the case! I’m hoping that by next year, things will have settled down again and I can go back to being a globetrotter.
One of the nice things about being a writer is that at least we can visit exotic foreign lands in our imagination. It’s not quite as good as going there, but it comes a close second!
The Highlander’s English Bride, book 6 in my Lairds Most Likely series, comes out on 30th March and writing it allowed me to spend time (at least in my head!) in two of my favourite places. London and the beautiful west coast of Scotland.
The hero and heroine of this story move in scientific circles and the book opens in a grand country manor not far from the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. Originally, those opening scenes were set at the Royal Observatory, where my hero is announcing the discovery of a new comet. Although I haven’t visited the site, I spent a lot of time on-line working out the practicalities.
Unfortunately, after deciding the internal configuration of the Octagon Room was perfect for my story, I then checked the outside view and realised that if I wanted my hero and heroine caught up to no good in the gardens, the Octagon Room was of no use to me whatsoever. It was upstairs. Sigh. If London society was to discover Hamish and Emily sneaking past the reception room, my protagonists would need to have wings. Thank goodness for plan B which was to invent a house perfect for my needs, although I must admit to a pang when I had to ditch all that wonderful research.
We then move to Bloomsbury and Mayfair. I’ve always had a great fondness for Bloomsbury, not just because of its intellectual connections, but also because it was the first place I stayed in London. But Bloomsbury then and now can’t compete with Mayfair’s fashionable status. It seemed a nice way to compare and contrast my middle-class heroine with my aristocratic hero.
The second half of the book is set on the west coast of Scotland, north of Oban, which is when I let my yearning for the Highlands take over. I’ve visited Scotland many times, and for the last three years, I’ve done a long writing retreat on the beautiful island of Eigg, just south of the Isle of Skye. It nearly broke my heart to have to cancel this year’s visit, but I’m already booked for next year. I’ve included a couple of photos so you’ll understand my pain!
While Hamish’s estate, Glen Lyon, is on the mainland, I borrowed many things from Eigg for my descriptions. Not least the way the stars burn so large and clear in the sky. In the Hebrides, the light pollution is so low that on a fine night, you feel like you can see to the edges of the universe. When it’s a full moon, the light is bright enough to keep you awake. In fact, the pollution is so low altogether, that the air is like cold champagne. It’s far enough north that most years, they can see the northern lights. A gorgeous part of the world.
Hamish builds an observatory in an old peel tower on his estate – these Dark Ages defensive structures are more a feature of the Borders than of the Highlands, but I’ve always wanted to feature one in a story since I heard about them in grade eight history. I also interweave elements of the strong Viking influence in this part of the world into the story’s background. Norsemen were up and down this coast for hundreds of years, and they left their mark in place names, in surnames, and in local genetics. When longships are cutting edge technology, the Hebrides move much closer to the centre of the world than they’ve since become in our age of land travel. Hamish is a descendant of Viking raiders and looks like it – I had Chris Hemsworth in mind when I wrote him!
The Highlander’s English Bride ends up in a manor house based on Inveraray Castle, the Campbell clan seat. Beautiful grey stone with gothic windows in the Scottish baronial style. There’s even a little china cabinet room like the one at Inveraray. And like Inveraray Castle, Lyon House overlooks a beautiful sea loch. After their many trials and tribulations, it was a pleasure to settle Hamish and Emily there to enjoy their happy ending. Perhaps they’ll invite me to tea next time I’m in the neighbourhood!
I’m drawing to the end of my Lairds Most Likely series – there’s The Highlander’s Rescued Maiden and The Highlander’s Christmas Lassie left to come, before I move back to Mayfair in a much more dedicated way for my next series. It’s been wonderful timing revisiting my memories of the glorious Highlands while I’m stuck at home as Australia goes into lockdown!
An impossible pairing…
Hamish Douglas, the mercurial Laird of Glen Lyon, has never got along with independent, smart-mouthed Emily Baylor. Which wouldn’t matter if this brilliant Scottish astronomer didn’t move in the same scientific circles as Emily and if her famous father wasn’t his mentor. But when Emily looks likely to derail the event which will make Hamish’s career, he loses his temper with the pretty miss and his recklessness leaves her reputation in ruins.
A marriage made in scandal…
Emily has always thought her father’s spectacular protégé was far too arrogant for his own good. But what is she to do when the only way she can save her good name in society is to wed the unruly laird? Reluctantly she accepts Hamish’s proposal, but only on the condition that their union remains chaste. That shouldn’t be a problem; they’ve never been friends, let alone potential lovers – except that after they marry, Hamish reveals unexpected depths and a host of admirable qualities, and he’s so awfully handsome, and now the swaggering rogue admits that he desires her…
From the ballrooms of London to the grandeur of the western Highlands, a battle royal rages between these two strong-willed combatants. Neither plans to yield an inch – but are these smart people smart enough to see that sometimes the greatest victory lies in mutual surrender?
Social media links:
Website is www.annacampbell.com
Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Anna-Campbell/e/B002NKV1HQ/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B084WSDY2Y/
Amazon Australia: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B084WSDY2Y/
About Anna Campbell:
I live on the east coast of Australia and I write historical romance for a living. So far, I’ve had 35 books released, a mixture of traditionally published titles with Harper Collins and Hachette, and my indie releases which have included two substantial series, The Dashing Widows and The Lairds Most Likely. Writing full-time is a dream come true. I was the kind of kid who always had her nose in a book – I still do when I get the chance! So producing stories for people from all around the world to read is my definition of the perfect job. To date, my books have been translated into 24 languages, which proves that love really is the universal language! At present, I’m winding up the Lairds Most Likely series which began in 2018 with The Laird’s Willful Lass. After The Highlander’s English Bride, I’ll release The Highlander’s Rescued Maiden and a Christmas story called The Highlander’s Christmas Lassie. In 2021, I’m planning on returning to London and society glamour and scandal with a brand-new series that I’m really excited about. Watch this space!