Friday, June 29, 2018

Brighton, Regency Social Whirl and Victorian Seaside Resort: History and Pictures

To complement my latest TRAVELS WITH CERISE video and my travel pictures on Facebook, I post here some of my commentary, my own photos and a few historical references for you!

For references, do see listing at bottom of this page.

To view the video, do go to my FB author page:

Brighton, on the coast of Sussex, was initially a fishing village. On the Channel, the water is brisk, cold, fierce and gray...or I can say it certainly was when I was last there. The intriguing bit about Brighton is, I think, that like Bath, it retains many of the same characteristics of centuries ago.

Brighton, originally called Brighthelmstone, was small, a modest settlement on the coast for many centuries. With a rocky (not sandy) shore, the coast has an odd configuration. This features a beach and tall white cliffs, demarcated by a slope toward the sea which allows for a road on the beach and above it. Even today, you may walk along the Marine Parade (the road) atop the cliff or take the lower coastal level road to stroll along the shore of brown fist-sized rocks. Brighton has no natural harbor, although a modern man-made one for those who own pleasure crafts now exists. The better harbor is to the west, name Shoreham. There, a Custom House still stands and many of the 19th century references (such as newspapers) talk of Revenuers who went out to catch smugglers from Shoreham not Brighton.

The nature of this beach allows for sun-bathing even though walking on those rocks is very tough! The water seems deep enough to wade in or sport surf, and many do! In centuries past, many opportunists took the chance to land their various-sized vessels here to haul in cargo. Brighton, therefore, like many of the other seaside towns on the British coast, was an area were smugglers hauled in contraband. Do see the drawing below which illustrates the cliffs and various people above and below the Parade. Many said that women would often come to amuse the Custom officials while smugglers ran their boats upon the shore and quickly distributed their wares to those merchants who bought their products illegally!

Brighton, 1815

Brighton remained a small fishing village until 1783 when the Prince of Wales (later Prince Regent) visited the town to escape the attentions of his mother and father. Visiting his uncle, the Duke of Cumberland, Prinny came to Brighton often. Loving the sea air and the remoteness from London, he decided to build his own home here. He also decided to build one for his common law wife, Mrs Fitzherbert. While the plan for that house does not survive, Prinny's interest in the town influenced society to follow him. Over the decades, he came often. I currently write a series, CHRISTMAS BELLES, set in Brighton in 1815. Prinny was still Regent and his influence great. The ton came with him to visit for days, weeks, holidays or Christmas. Their presence had a great effect upon the very nature of the town and its residences.

Reward of 200 GBPounds for information
to Custom House, London about smugglers into Brighton!

At first, accommodations for the aristocratic visitors was minimal. They wished to attend His Royal Highness and so had to rent rooms in local homes. Soon it became vital that they stay longer and many wished for finer facilities than were available. A few hotels opened. One, popular then and in Victorian period, still exists.

A few of these larger homes still exist, but are re-purposed. Many of the townhouses we see in Brighton today are compact structures similar to those we see in London from this period. More striking are the Lanes (Laines)  the narrow walkways dotted with shops, pubs, restaurants huddled together a few streets north of the center of town, The Steine.

The Steine (Steyne) denotes the main vertebrae of the town, running approximately north-south. Along this major promenade one walks along a park and arrives at Prince George's marvelous attraction, the Royal Pavilion. This building, a fantasy of architecture, sports the feeling of the best of Mughul architecture outside and inside a fantasy of what was then the perception of Chinese interior decor. Few pictures are here of the inside as the Pavilion is privately owned and operated and on-line sites can offer you a good idea of the interior. (Sold by Queen Victoria to the City of Brighton, the building offers tours of its magnificent collection of art and furniture.)

When Prinny assumed the throne in 1820 on the death of his father, his visits to Brighton became fewer and fewer. Many however continued to enjoy the town, though it was no longer the center of royal activities. Townhouse development, like the marvelous Brunswick Square townhouses (and the must-see Regency Town House restoration) continued. Started in 1823, Brunswick Square boasts a wonderful U-shaped configuration that leads to the sea. The lovely butter yellow paint makes you smile to see it, even from atop British Air's i360 EYE miles up the coast!

When you are in Brighton, do take the tour of Regency Town House. For a pittance, you will have a marvelous afternoon listening to one of their curators tell you about the house, its architecture and those who bought and rented these houses. Other Georgian era townhouse squares exist and you should take a look at those, too.

During Victoria's reign, the town grew dramatically. In 1841, the first railroad line was completed. The railroad station is a beautiful example of 'muscular' Victorian architecture. Arriving there from London in less than an hour now, it took twice as long in the latter part of the 19th century. But with the railroad came Londoners who sought the sun, the sea and fun!

Even today, people come for the day. Many come for the weekend. During the Victorian era, as servants and laborers got their Half-Day, they journeyed to Brighton for the curative powers of the sea air! Ladies came with their long bloomers to wade in the water. They also changed their clothes in so-called bathing machines. Many preferred to dip in the ocean inside these little boxes on wheels!

Brighthelmston 1822

Brighton today still feels like a Victorian seaside. The long Pier, the Clock Tower and the Aquarium are all innovations of the late 19th century. You can still see them and inhale the crisp cool sea air.

Please see below for a few references, should you wish to learn more.

Brighton, 1830

Ladies of a certain reputation were known to distract those on the cliff walk as smugglers landed 
their boats and dispensed their wares to local merchants!

Brighton, 1890 showing Aquarium and clock tower along the Marine Parade! 

Seaside fun! This was the Brighton Top Hat Swim Club of the 1860s!

Antram and Morriss, BRIGHTON AND HOVE, Pevsner Architectural Guides, Yale University Press, lonond, 2008.

The Regency Town House

Brighton Pavilion

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Join me Saturday when I do another of my videos explaining the joys and delights of Prince Regent's Brighton and the town as Victorian seaside playground! Pictures, commentary! For all who love historical romance, readers and authors alike!

I will discuss who went to Brighton, how it grew into a playground for rich aristocrats during Regency period, how it declined, then resurrected once more as a seaside resort for middle and lower classes who had half days off during the Victorian period!

"An excursion to Brighton, 1820"

Prinny travels to Brighton and his Royal Pavilion!

The second in my Victorian series, THOSE NOTORIOUS AMERICANS, is currently only 99 cents! Get it now!

Want to go to Opera Garnier?
Drink champagne at House of Worth?
Dance at Moulin de la Galette?
Live in Montmartre with a charming sculptor?
B&N: (digital)
B&N: (Print)

Friday, April 20, 2018

Curator of Regency Town House on Travels with Cerise Saturday 4/28 11 EST

Join me Saturday 4/28 at 11 EST/10 CENTRAL/9 MTN/8 PACIFIC when my guest is one of the curators for Regency Town House in Brighton, England!

Last October, when I was in Brighton doing research for my Regency and Victorian historical romances, Paul was my tour guide to this wonderful house whom many professionals restore to its former glory.

Connecting with him on Twitter and Facebook, he saw that I did these LIVE CHATS and voluteered to join me!  I am tickled to have him with me and to answer your questions.

Please visit the website of Regency Town House for more info and do join us Saturday for a marvelous morning of fun and facts!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

English Country Houses! You need to hear how they were built! Monday at 2 EST!

How were those huge country houses built? How much did they really cost? Who designed them? Who decorated them?

I've begun a series of short chats on Facebook to describe my research—both in books and in person—to help me portray these houses in my novels. A lot of what I've learned cannot go into every book. THAT would be "hanging the drapes" and telling you every tiny detail you don't need to know to enjoy a novel and get its verisimilitude.

Do come here to chat with me!
SWEET SIREN is Book 3 in my series,
At a reduced introductory price for a limited time!

But I give you a few tidbits, a few illustrations, most of which are my own pictures!
Join me, ask questions!

I began this research years ago to complement my novels and have continued, especially with my newest out now, SWEET SIREN. Here the hero—an American tycoon and robber baron—commissions an architect and his designer to build a country house for him in Brighton in 1879!

A posting in a newspaper about the opening of Harlaxton Manor House, the house you see in my post above! Marvelous, isn't it, that it was open to the public...for a price?
I will discuss my tour, among others, in Brighton of REGENCY TOWN HOUSE.
This building is owned by a non-profit and renovated by experts in period construction!
Do Follow them on Twitter for more info!

My picture of a part of Prince Regent's Royal Pavilion in Brighton!
I will talk about this in detail and tell you why and how it influenced the growth of seaside Brighton!

My picture of one facade of Spencer House in London.
I will discuss at a future date how this townhouse differs from many others, especially those in Brighton!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Come build an English Country House with me Tuesday night Live Chat on FB!

Tuesday night at 8 EST, 7 Central I'll chat LIVE about English Country Houses! I built one in my latest novel SWEET SIREN, as well as 24 new townhouses!


If you've ever wondered who build these marvelous mansions, why, how much they cost and what went into the building of them, come chat with me!

I plan a series of these chats. The topic is worthy of more than 30 minutes! And you'll want to ask about plumbing (w.c.s), electricity, who designed them and much more!

Pre-order on Amazon now for reduced price!
Releases Friday March 23
AMAZON Buy Link!
Release Party Saturday on FB!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

You need to come with me to English country houses and French chateaux! Now!

We'll dine in this famous Frenchman's
lavish dining room and I'll tell you
how he angered Louis XIV!
Come with me to England and France as I show and tell you (live and on chat) about my research for my novels!

I've toured so many country houses, chateaux and palaces—and you should see them all! Do visit my Facebook author page for recent posts,  (text and video chat!) and go to TEATIME WITH  CERISE AND SUSANA.

TEATIME occurs every Wednesday at 5 EST  on Facebook when my cohost, author Susana Ellis, and I pour tea, talk about your favorite romances and invite one special author guest for you to meet!

Here I am near the huge roasting oven  inside the Old Kitchen (as they dub it) at Kenwood House, England!

I'll tell you where this library door leads!
(Ham House, England)

I'll tell you how I used this building in Montmartre in DARING WIDOW!
I'll tell you how I went to the Opera Garnier
and how I took my characters to the opera one evening!
My own picture of Sacre Coeur
one rainy Paris night!
A favorite pix of mine!
Climb aboard!
TEATIME every Wednesday at 5 EST!
Full cover of my newest in THOSE NOTORIOUS AMERICANS, debuts March 2018!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

An older hero? A vibrant heroine? Romance at any age! SWEET SIREN debuts soon! Cerise DeLand: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle
Ever wondered if you could find a romance with an older hero? I decided to give my 48-year-old father of three and robber baron a lady love who initially gives him the cut direct! 

She has reasons.

He, however, shows persistence. And when he encounters her again at another family wedding—this time his niece Marianne's to her French duc de Remy—Killian Hanniford decides he will demand to know why she was so rude to him!

You'll want to know too.

And in the meantime, you'll come along with me as I show you Brighton, England in all its glory in the Victorian period. I'll show you how wealthy men had grand country houses built. I tell you about how much they cost! GASP!

And I'll will show you how they decorated the interiors! And yes, I give you a grand love affair for two people who never thought they'd love so well ever again!

Here, too, I show you my full print covers for SWEET SIREN and for Book 2 in the series, DARING WIDOW. I just adore the art...and there is a story to each panorama!
Come with me and learn what those stories are...and experience Brighton in the age of the "bathing machine" and Paris in the age of Belle Époque!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Travels with Cerise, Part I: How I get great tidbits in my historical romances!

Cerise at Ham House, outside London
 (All pictures are property of Cerise DeLand, 2016. 2017, 2018.) 
The biggest challenge to writing historical romances is getting all the facts right! The romance usually comes to you in a flash. The hero appears, the heroine startles or the conflict between them lives for you. But getting the details about their relationship correct and the setting is a huge challenge. Research, not just those facts found in the pages of a thick nonfiction tome, but those discovered on holiday abroad make my job as a writer a delight!

My latest book based on research trips to Paris and Montmartre!
Traveling to “imbibe” the setting and atmosphere of the period is a great way to spend a vacation. I think so. I know many authors do.  Some go alone. Others take their friends or spouses. Mine, thank goodness, is tickled to go. And because he speaks French (and I speak German), we complement each other and get so much done!

Pump Room, Bath, England
Door from library
to Duke's bedroom
Ham House
Luckily, he likes my choices of places to visit and things to do. All of them, we research on-line and in printed references at home months before we catch the plane. This May is our next vacation when we do the Loire Valley for 3 weeks (and 12 castles, a vineyard and a monastery!) and then back to Paris to eat well, walk and visit old haunts.

What can you learn by doing this kind of research on the hoof?

Briska de Voyage at Vaux le Vicomte, south of Paris
made by Fuller in Bath, England
For one thing, you learn how far a house was from the center of royal court! In this first photo, I stand before Ham House in what is now suburban London. But in the early 17th century, this grand estate was far enough from the capital to be serene and close enough to allow the owners (earls of Dysart and Lauderdale) to respond to any summons from the monarch.

What you also learn from such a trip is a sense of terrain and social intercourse. Ham House is on the river. Very close to two other notable country homes, Ham sits so close, you can look across the river and imagine how members of the families visited—or argued—or fell in love with those nearby. You can also stroll through the kitchens (like the one where I’m standing in Kenwood House) and marvel at the huge roasting pit. You can examine the kitchen garden where the lady of the house painstakingly grew her vegetables. You can enjoy the stillroom where cooks dried herbs or the dairy room where maids separated cream and churned butter. You can admire the dolls that were Queen Victoria’s when she was a child. Or note the splendor of her bedroom when she visited Syon House. Even more intriguing is to stand next to the figure of Prince Albert her husband in all his court regalia (as he is in Kensington Palace) and note that he was rather short!

Queen Victoria's
doll collection,
Kensington Palace, London
Regency Town House,
Brunswick Square,
You get to admire the true colors of a Regency library as at Kenwood House. Or the splendor of the dining rooms in their formal table service as in those at Syon House (owned by the dukes of Northumberland) and in the Imperial Palais de Compiegne (Bourbon kings and Bonaparte emperors) in suburban Paris. You go to Bath, as Jane Austen did, and have high tea in the Pump Room, drinking ‘the waters’. Tasting it, you discover it’s rather metallic and very unpleasantly warm! You go to Montmartre up on the windy hill in Paris and note that the Moulin Rouge beckons. So does the Moulin de la Galette where Parisians went to dance each night to escape their small rooms. Today, a restaurant stands there, but you can imagine yourself waltzing…and you can dream that your characters do too.

Farther up the Butte in Montmartre, you can enter the house that Auguste Renior once rented. Now a museum, the house displays the atelier of many an artist who gladly lived up in the suburb of Paris. Here the breezes cooled them and wealthier citizens came to buy their paintings and their sculptures.

Walking along the streets of Paris, you can imagine what hardship it must have been to walk the cobbles for miles in wooden shoes. Or how comforting to climb into a smart Briska Voyage carriage (made in Bath, England and now on display at Vaux-le-Vicomte, south of Paris). You imagine sitting in the library at Spencer House looking out on Green Park, so close that people would walk up and wave at the earls inside!

Atelier of artist,
Musee de Montmartre, Paris
You can see the effects of candles and smoke on the bright Regency colors of the walls, turning them dingy. You can smell the old, fine leather of the chairs and marvel at the original volumes of Ivanhoe and Pride and Prejudice on the library shelves.

You can imagine your hero and heroine waltzing in the ballroom at Syon House. Or see them strolling along South Moulton Street in London to go to the dressmakers or the tailors. Or climb into the high tester bed swathed in yards of stiff brocade as they retire for the night.

Painting with words without such rich sensations would be creating from whole cloth, poor representations and bland.

Travel abroad adds color, enrichment and accuracy to our novels. And aren’t you glad, authors take such time and care to show you what life was like for those characters who ‘existences’ we choose to enrich by having them fall in love?

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Who is Cerise?
Cerise DeLand loves to cook, hates to dust, lives to travel, read and write!
She pens #1 Bestselling Regencies and spicy romances starring SEALs! Yep. She loves a dashing, hunky man paired with a sassy woman.

Find Cerise:
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Friday, November 17, 2017

A nibble of my new cherry? DARING WIDOW's charming rogue!

Pre-order now at AMAZON for half price!
Money can buy anything, can't it? Those brash Americans--their dollars and charms work wonders. Until they learn that money can buy anything...but love.  

Andre Claude Marceau, Duc de Remy and Prince d’Aumale, finds Marianne’s joie de vivre enchanting—and her plan for a temporary affair with him impossible.

He offers her one night in his arms, and to his delight, she craves another. But he needs more from her than a few hours of bliss. So when he shows her how to fill her days with passions that complement those they enjoy together at night, Marianne must choose.

Will she insist on a passing fancy? Or will she abandon the terrors of her past to embrace a brighter future beside a man who offers her a grand love affair with life?

Excerpt, DARING WIDOW, Copyright 2017, Cerise DeLand.
Marianne stood in front of Number 10, her destination. A three-story stone structure with grape leaves carved in relief into the frame, the building had two abnormally large doorways. They appeared to be proportioned to receive a sculptor’s works. The one with a large cut glass window seemed to be the entrance. Inside, the concierge in a somber black suit spied her, hurried out and opened the door for her.
The address was the same as on the billboard. The plaque on the door proclaimed it as the “Gallerie de la Cite.”
“The Duc de Remy’s exhibit is here?”
Oui, Madame. Through the foyer and up the grand staircase.”
Merci beaucoup.” She sailed through the lobby and up the steps. Four other patrons casually climbed the broad steps.
At the top, she halted her in her tracks. A man and woman passed around her. But she stared at the sculpture before her. It robbed her of breath.
Here upon a black granite plinth stood a man of white Carrara marble, eight or nine feet tall. All muscle and bone, honed by battle and hewn by strife, massively masculine and robust, he was of such proportions that any other human would fall down in honor of him. He stood in the center of the oval entry to the rest of the exhibit, sunlight from a semicircle of windows shining on him, shadowing the arc of a bicep here and emphasizing the indentation of a deltoid there.
Yet he did not stand tall, but was hunched. His back was curled, bowed in new defeat. His hair long and ragged, etched in the pristine marble to invoke its filth, shrouded him to the waist. Ropes circled his torso and hung from his wrists. His noble head hung lax from his corded neck as he stared at the nothingness before him.
The beauty of this body was nothing to the grand agony of his face. She gasped at the sight and could not look away.
She walked around him and bent to face him. He looked at her, but beyond her. He was blind, in torment. She drew back, aghast once more at the brutal honesty of what she saw.
This was a strong man brought low. By loss. By self-destruction.
She ached with him. Once proud, dynamic. A man others had once envied and emulated. A man so capable, so honored and now, abandoned by others and most tragically, by himself.
She stood for how long she did not know. The power of him infusing her. And the power that he’d lost draining her of envy and inspiring pride at Andre’s talent to portray him so precisely.
Across the room, beyond the giant, a young man in an apprentice’s smock tipped his head in question. Not at her. But someone who stood behind her. He tipped his head and, as if on signal, he departed.
Her skin tingled.
The hunger she’d felt for months dissipated. She’d be sated now.
Bonjour, ma petite,” Andre said in that bass voice she heard in the bleak hours of her lonely nights. “I dared not hope you would come.”
She closed her eyes, wishing to hang on to this moment when he was happy to see her and she was as delighted to see him. In this slice of time, there was none of her inner conflict, no yearning to find him, see him, laugh with him. There was just satisfaction. But it could not last.
Why not tell him the truth? He had asked for honesty and he did not deserve duplicity. He had only told her how he admired her and she had rebuffed him out of…what? Not convention, no. But her own fear to allow such a strong man near her heart or body. Perhaps even her own fear of her outrageous ambitions? She faced him, and oh, the delight to see him again ran through her like cool water after a drought. He was as tall, as magnificent as she remembered him. Perhaps more so, since she had pined for him so badly.
Bonjour, Andre.” She gave him that, his given name as he had allowed her use of it. During these past months, she’d thought of him that way, the sound of his name slipping through her lips at night as she attempted to draw him. Andre. “I saw a billboard and I could not stay away.”
He stood against the white marble wall, the gold veins of the stone highlighting the gilded mien of his own long waving hair. He had folded his arms and one leg was casually crossed before the other. He wore a loosely cut black wool suit, a bright vermilion vest, a white linen shirt open to his strong throat and a purple kerchief tied at his neck. Every inch of him denoted the artist at his leisure.
“I’m glad I’ve come. This—” she said and lifted a hand toward the statue, “—this is glorious. I heard others speak of him but they did him no justice.”
He gazed at her with hollow eyes.
“No words can,” she went on, wanting to give him more praise and unequal to the task. “Will you tell me about him?”
“Him?” he asked, as if she had insulted him with the question.
She knew why. He wanted her to ask about himself. And she would. She would.
He stared at her. “You know who he is.”
She did. “Who could not? To view him is to know. No pamphlet or placard need declare it.”
A light glimmered in Andre’s blue eyes. “What do you see?”
“A man torn by his own desires and ruined by his own misjudgments.”
His marvelous mouth firmed. Pride lit his face. “And?”
“He will never see himself again.”
“He did not truly see himself before he was blinded.”
“A punishment,” she acknowledged, “to fit his crime.”
Andre shifted, peering at her with narrowed eyes. “There is another he will not see.”
Oh, yes. “He will never see her again.”
“The one who betrayed him.”
She nodded. “The one whose beauty he believed was soul deep.”
Andre pushed away from the wall and approached the statue. “He must pay for his own failure to perceive her true nature.”
“She was not equal to him.”
He whirled to face her. “That’s not what he believed. He thought she was the most beautiful creature he’d ever seen.”
“The beauty was outside. Her core was hollow.”
“He pays for his miscalculation,” he said.
She dropped her gaze to the floor, anxiety eating her that they spoke of more than the statue or the Biblical story of the blind man and the woman he had loved so unwisely.
“Do you think she pays?” he asked, his deep voice wistful.
She raised her face to consider the statue’s tortured expression. “Delilah?”
He waited.
“Oh, yes. She forevermore will hate herself for her own failures and unworthiness.”
Andre took her by the wrist. “Come with me.”
Her pulse jumped.
He led her down a hallway and into a room where he shut the heavy wooden door and drew her into a room crowded with bronzes and plasters, scattered about on tables and shelves. Two ivory overstuffed chairs stood in one sunlit corner near a sumptuous black velvet chaise longue.