Setting the Scene

secret garden heligan 01In my last blog post, Walking the Streets of Fiction, I talked about visiting the places in London where the action in my upcoming novel, A Dangerous Madness, takes place. But getting the ‘map’ of the novel is only part of the story.

Quite a few of the best scenes between the hero of the book, the Duke of Wittaker, and the heroine, Phoebe, take place in her secret herb garden, tucked at the back of the garden at her town house on Portman Square. I had very clear ideas how this garden would look, but while on my recent trip to the UK, I had the opportunity to visit The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, and honestly, it was such wonderful inspiration for me.secret garden heligan 02

Although the walled gardens of Heligan are larger than I pictured Phoebe’s walled herb garden, and that would make sense because there was a lot less room for a large garden in the heart of London, the style, the look of them, everything was just as I imagined it to be. From the stone walls with ivy creepers (which my cover designer, Frauke, got so exactly right on the cover of A Dangerous Madness!) to the arched, hedged entrance to the garden, it was as if I’d been channelling The Lost Gardens of Heligan in my imagination long before I ever set eyes on it.secret garden heligan 03

My sister and I spend a really wonderful afternoon wandering through the gardens, and I have to say that if any of you ever happen to find yourself near St. Austell in Cornwall, do not miss out on seeing this wonderful place. Two of my favorite things were the dovecote and the well. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a historically accurate dovecote before, only pictures of one. And that well looked like any wish you made on it would most definitely come true.

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Which brings me to my question. Ever since I was little, I’ve always tossed a coin into a well and made a wish. I read way too many fairy tales for me to ever resist. Can you resist wishing wells, or do you think it’s a waste of a coin?

Giveaway: The giveaway I’m running for the launch of A Dangerous Madness is still going, and you’re welcome to enter.

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ADangerousMadness_300x450About A Dangerous Madness:

The Duke of Wittaker has been living a lie…

He’s been spying on the dissolute, discontented noblemen of the ton, pretending to share their views. Now he’s ready to step out of the shadows and start living a real life…but when the prime minister of England is assassinated, he’s asked to go back to being the rake-hell duke everyone believes he still is to find out more.

Miss Phoebe Hillier has been living a lie, too…

All her life she’s played by society’s rules, hiding her fierce intelligence and love of life behind a docile and decorous mask. All it’s gotten her is jilted by her betrothed, a man she thought a fool, though a harmless one. But when she discovers her former fiancé was involved in the plot against the prime minister, and that he’s been murdered, she realizes he wasn’t so harmless after all.

And now the killers have set their sights on her…

The only man who can help her is the Duke of Wittaker–a man she knows she shouldn’t trust. And she soon realizes he’s hiding behind a mask as careful as her own. As the clock ticks down to the assassin’s trial, the pair scramble to uncover the real conspiracy behind the prime minister’s death. And as the pressure and the danger mounts, Phoebe and Wittaker shed their disguises, layer by layer, to discover something more precious than either imagined–something that could last forever. Unless the conspirators desperate to hide their tracks get to them first.

About Michelle Diener

Michelle Diener writes historical fiction and fantasy. To find out more about her and her novels, you can visit her website.
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6 Responses to Setting the Scene

  1. I think throwing a coin in a wishing well is a fun tradition. And it can’t hurt, right? Great pictures from your trip!
    Jennifer Estep`s last blog was …Kait Ballenger on paranormal romance …

  2. Edie Ramer says:

    Wonderful pictures. I’d love to visit Cornwell some day.

    I don’t go to places that have a wishing well. Usually just a concrete fountain that people throw money into. I only put coins into the real thing. :)

  3. Mary Hughes says:

    Hi, Michelle! I love the sound of your story!

    I enjoy tossing coins in wishing wells, fountains, and those gravity well displays. I also like making coins into commorative badges and medallions :)

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