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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Award-winning author Charlotte Betts reveals her favourite English chateau


I have just finished Charlotte Betts' latest novel, Chateau on the Lake, which is yet another gripping romance from this award-winning novelist. I first came across Charlotte because she has written several books in one of my favourite periods - the seventeenth century, but for this novel we are invited to explore the 18th century and Revolutionary France.

After the death of her parents Madeleine Moreau must travel to France to search for the relatives she has heard of, but never met. The meeting proves disastrous and she is given shelter at Chateau Mirabelle, a breathtakingly beautiful castle which is home to the aristocrat Etienne D'Aubery. Of course there is a little competition for Madeleine's affections, with the handsome Jean Luc, and plenty of dark and sinister secrets in the Chateau's past.

Charlotte Betts recreates the detail of the period painstakingly, whilst still providing a pacy and satisfying romance. The sense of the course of the French revolution with all its horrors - the guillotine, the starving peasants, the mob violence - all these are faithfully depicted, whilst never losing the forward momentum of the plot. It is a hard thing to do, to juggle romance against such gritty realism, but Charlotte Betts does it seamlessly.

I wondered, after the attractions of France, which would be Charlotte's favourite English chateau, a place in which to spend a quiet afternoon - 

Corfe Castle is one of my favourite historical sites to visit. We often holiday in Dorset and I love the way the castle is the focal point of the village. It's always been sunny when I've visited and I like to sit quietly in the sunshine and allow the tourists' voices fade away. If I close my eyes and listen to the echoes of time it's almost possible to unlock the secrets of the past. I conjure up a vision of Lady Mary Bankes who, when her husband was away, led the defence of the castle during a six week siege by the Parliamentarians. What a wonderful novel that would make! Perhaps I shall write about that one day.

National Trust


With her talk of English Civil War sieges, I might just beat her to it. (Only joking of course!)
Find out more about Charlotte Betts on her website

1 comment:

  1. I just finished reading Past Encounters (written under your pen name, Davina Blake). Wonderful book. One of the best I've read, and the kind of book I'll keep to read again. It was a thought-provoking story. I also learned a lot about the treatment of POWs (and I read a lot of WWII material). Superb writing all the way through.