Francesca is thrilled to be able to introduce her new saga series, set at the seaside.
Welcome to my new ‘Beach Hotel’ series, set on the Sussex coast in Littlehampton in the First World War.
It’s not the first time I’ve used Littlehampton as a setting in a book. My People’s Friend pocket novel, Desperately Seeking Doreen, published in 2020, was set by the sea here, though this time in 1972. I also have a contemporary novel set there, that hasn’t yet seen the light of day!
So why Littlehampton particularly, when I live in Kent? It’s quite simple really: I was brought up there.
When we moved from Worthing in 1961, the Beach Hotel still sat magnificently on the large green common, between the promenade and the grand Regency and Victorian structures of South Terrace. It had first been built in the late 1700s as the Beach Coffee House, but was replaced in the late 1880s by a large, brick Victorian edifice. It finally closed in the late 1980s and was pulled down in 1994.
I never ever stepped inside the Beach Hotel. I suppose, it seemed out of reach to me as a child and teenager. My staff characters and the interior settings inside are based partly on a 1996 interview with the people who owned it between 1951 and 1979, the 1911 census, other similar hotels, and guesswork from the outside appearance. The rest is imagination.
It was certainly fun creating the interior settings, the characters and their stories, and I hope you’ll enjoy them too.
A New Start at the Beach Hotel
Can Edie find the courage to choose her own future?
June 1914. Edie Moore is a Governess for Lord and Lady Moreland, living in comfort at the grand Downland House in Sussex. But, wanting more from life, she flees in secret to Littlehampton, the place where she spent many idyllic childhood holidays.
Desperate for work, Edie begins working as a chambermaid at the prestigious Beach Hotel, even if the menial tasks are a far cry from her previous job.
While the days are long and gruelling, Edie works hard and soon is in favour with Helen Bygrove, the manager’s wife, who sees that Edie is destined for bigger things – which leads to tension with some of the other chambermaids.
But as she navigates her new life and finds friendship with fellow maid Lili Probert, she also grows closer to charming, cheerful porter, Charlie Cobbett, and finally finds the happiness she has been searching for.
However, what none of her new friends know is that Edie is hiding a secret from her past, one that would change the way they view her, forever. When the truth comes out, will Edie be able to keep her new life and remain in the place she loves so much?
Published by Hera Books / Canelo
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