Highlighting Historical Romance explores Brighton with Linda Hoover
Thank you for the opportunity to share some of the things I learned while researching for my newest book, Lighter Than Air, set in 1900 and in which the heroine, Elena, learns that her father had until the end of the summer to pay a gambling debt or loose their home. She believed God had directed her to have a family camp on the grounds of their estate to make the considerable amount of money they needed. The city of Brighton, only an hour’s buggy ride from their home, attracted a lot of tourists. She counted on that fact to draw interest to her camp.
Brighton, located on the southeast coast of England, started as an ancient fishing village and grew into a city. In the 18th century, because some doctors recommended it, people started coming to drink the sea water and bath in the sea. Later a spa was built and mineral water became the beverage of choice along with sea-bathing. Queen Adelaide, consort to William IV, visited regularly. In 1750, the Duke of Cumberland became a seasonal visitor. In 1783 the Prince of Wales, later the Prince Regent, visited his uncle, the duke, and ended up buying a farm house in the area. He patronized the town for the next forty years. During that time, he built a palace called the Royal Pavilion. Having the rich and the royal in the city on a consistent basis had a big influence on the town’s growth.
By the 19th century people flocked to the city to visit what they called pleasure piers. The Chain Pier opened in1823 for the fishing boats, cargo ships, and passenger liners. Kiosks began popping up selling sweets and souvenirs. In the 1840s, rail travel became more affordable than going by sea and shipping died out. The Chain Pier lost its usefulness and the West Pier was constructed for relaxation and entertainment. Kiosks selling food and trinkets and offering games to play lined both sides. There was a pavilion and a band stand stood at the end. The Palace Pier opened in 1899 and is still there today. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country.
Queen’s Park, named after Queen Adelaide, is where Elena goes to investigate the possibility of using a gas balloon tethered there. The idea is for people to pay to ride as high as the rope allows and enjoy the view from over the tree tops. Since the man running the business isn’t there, Elena ends up with more of a view than she counted on. This led to learning how gas balloons work, they go where the wind blows them, and how long it would take to get from Ireland to England by steamer. Once there a person had to take a train to get back to Brighton. Nothing was quick and easy.
About the Book
When Elena Bishop lost her mother at age twelve, her father lost his purpose for
living. Now they’ll lose their home unless he can pay his gambling debts by the end of
the summer. After praying about it, Elena believes God has given her the idea to have a
family camp on the grounds of their estate.
Justin Ramsay, Elena’s neighbor, wants to go to America on a secret mission
given to him by his grandmother on her death bed. His older brother believes Justin
should join the military but offers him a deal. If Justin can keep Elena and the
neighborhood safe until he returns with his American bride, he’ll pay for the trip to
America. If not, Justin will join a regiment in India. Elena might be impulsive and
accident-prone, but Justin believes she’s nothing he can’t handle.
Elena and Justin disagree over the camp, even as an attraction beyond friendship
ignites between them. Within the first two weeks a little boy falls into the cold-water
spring, and problems continue with threatening letters and vandalism. As more money is
needed, Elena goes to Brighton to see a man who gives gas balloon rides. What she finds
lands both her and Justin in a situation beyond their control. With the deadline for the
debt looming, will there be a happy ending for either of them, if they insist on having
their own way rather than follow God’s plan?
You can buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Lighter-Than-Air-Linda-Hoover-ebook/dp/B07FB3WYF4/
About the Author
Linda Hoover lives in west central Ohio with her husband, daughters, grandson and a cat who thinks he owns the house. She earned a degree in psychology from Anderson University where she learned the voices in her head were actually characters from stories waiting to be told.
She got her start writing columns for the South Charleston Spectator, as well as a ten-week middle grade serial.
By day, Linda works as a library assistant at a branch of the county’s public library system where two of her duties include choosing books for the young adult and Christian fiction sections. As a result, she has a very long “To Read” list. In her spare time, she writes the stories her voices tell her.
You can find her here: