Sunday, January 26, 2014

Aloha to Cheryl Bolen and LOVE IN THE LIBRARY

Using Stately Homes for Settings
By Cheryl Bolen

My copyeditor recently questioned a reference in one of my books he was editing. "Can this be?" he asked. "Over 300 rooms in this house?"

Yes, many of the British stately homes run to more than 200 rooms and some to over 300 rooms. And because I write a lot of novels about the English aristocracy (both historical and contemporary), I have made it a point to tour as many of these aristocratic homes as possible on my frequent travels to England.

One of my favorite of these stately homes is Chatsworth House, family seat of the Dukes of Devonshire, nestled in the foothills of Derbyshire's Peak District. The "house" has 297 rooms! (It's the one I use in the banner on my blog, Cheryl's Regency Ramblings,

Knole, in Kent, is home to the Sackvilles, cousins of the first Queen Elizabeth, and was once home to the Dukes of Dorset. This rambling "house" has 356 rooms, 52 sets of stairs, and seven courtyards!
I have toured more than 30 of these homes, and I add new ones each trip my husband and I take to England. They make good fodder for the fictional homes in my 20-plus books. While none of these homes is exactly replicated in any of my novels, I do borrow from different houses I've had the pleasure of touring.

My book which can most be identified with a particular property is probably My Lord Wicked. The abbey in which my not-so-wicked lord lived was somewhat modeled on Hever Castle, the girlhood home of Anne Boleyn. Instead of the drawbridge at Hever, my fictional abbey has a clock tower which was supposedly built to disguise the abbey's former bell tower.

In my newest book, Love in the Library, my heroine lives at Number 17 Royal Crescent in Bath. Here's a picture of me in front of one of the magnificent townhouses on Bath's Royal Cresent in June of 2013. 

If you'd like to see what a Georgian townhouse (of the wealthy) looked like, you can tour Number 1 Royal Crescent in Bath. Or you can see the photos of Number 1 at this link.

File:Knole from Morris's Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen (1880(.JPG
Illustration of Knole
Morris’s Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen (1880)
Public Domain (link)

Mahalo, Cheryl, for sharing your travel experience with us!  I toured Knole and loved the it!  I am looking forward to reading your new release, LOVE IN THE LIBRARY, now available:

The popular Brides of Bath (Regency-set historicals) are back!

Certain the "smart" Steffington twin can help her recover her late husband's nearly priceless stolen Chaucer manuscript, Catherine Bexley tearfully persuades the scholar to assist her. A deal is struck. She's particularly pleased this Doctor of Letters is not interested in seducing her because she's finished with men (owing to her late husband's multitude of unfortunate alliances with. . .doxies). Regaining the manuscript and its subsequent sale will give her independence to ensure she never has to marry again,

Once he learns the poor, delicate widow is in danger of losing her heavily mortgaged home if they cannot find the valuable hologram, Dr. Melvin Steffington vows to do everything in his power to restore the rare Canterbury Tales to her. It's obvious the pretty little thing needs a man to help her. Not normally the twin to take note of pretty little things, Melvin can't help but to observe that Mrs. Bexley's physical appearance is much like the beauties so admired by his twin brother.

He hadn’t counted on the fact he would have to pose as her husband as they race against the banker's ticking clock. He hadn’t counted on the mysterious thief attempting to kill him. Most of all, he hadn't counted on how close he would become to the lovely widow or how the kissing of said widow would become the most pleasant experience in his entire seven and twenty years. . .

Read an excerpt from Love in the Library

A former journalist, Cheryl holds a dual degree in English and journalism from the University of Texas, and she earned a master’s degree from the University of Houston. She and her professor husband are the parents of two sons, one who is an attorney, and the other a journalist. Her favorite things to do are watching the Longhorns, reading letters and diaries of Georgian Englishmen, and traveling to England. She invites readers to her website,, or her blog,


Cheryl is giving away an autographed copy of her classic MARRIAGE OF INCONVENIENCE (link).  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Have you visited a stately house?   I visited the only Royal palaces in the US, all located in Hawaii - 'Iolani Palace (link), Hānaiakamalama (link), and Hulihe‘e Palace (link).

2.  This giveaway is open to all readers.

3.  Comments are open through Saturday, February 1, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, February 2.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

'Iolani Palace on King Street
Honolulu, Hawaii


  1. The White House is a stately house :)

  2. I've visited some Heritage listed homes. I guess you could call them stately. They were magnificent.

  3. I visited the Mansions in Newport. It is amazing how much they imported from Europe, including chapel walls, to indulge the rich!


  4. I have heard that Chatsworth House is beautiful. I've only made it to the Tower of London when visiting England (as Buckingham Palace was not open for tours).

    Thanks for the giveaway!


  5. I haven't. .. castles yes... but stately houses. .. no...

    Congrats on your book!

  6. I've visited castles, and the White House. Next time I go home to England for a visit, my sister and I are going to visit stately homes, museums, and Windsor Castle.

  7. Waving to Kim. Thanks for having me here. I could talk about stately homes all day long.

  8. I've visited impressive houses around Great Britain and a few in France, Germany and Italy. Probably the most impressive stately house I've visited in the US is Biltmore in Asheville NC. They are fun to visit, but not many I'd actually like to live in (tho a few nights visit could be fun).

  9. I understand, Di. They're fun to visit, but not terribly cozy.

  10. Don't enter me in the contest since I've already read and loved MARRIAGE OF INCONVENIENCE. :) I really like the author's books and can't wait to read this latest one.

    Marcy Shuler

  11. The only one I can think of is located at Longwood Gardens but it isn't that big of a house.