I recently turned in revisions for my next book, The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill (December 2016)—Book One in my first ever series! (The rest of my 10 books are stand alone.) The series focuses on four women friends in an English village who face changes and challenges with the help of their quirky neighbors and intriguing newcomers.
In the first book, a young widow has to decide between saving her husband’s languishing coaching inn, or trying to return to her former life as a gentleman’s daughter. The book has family drama, romance, and mystery, and celebrates the strong bonds of friendship–because in a small village like Ivy Hill, everyone is connected, like leaves on a vine.
Why a coaching inn?
Stage and mail coaches were the primary means of travel during the Regency period, and they stopped at coaching inns along the way to change horses, let passengers take a meal, or stay the night. Coaching inns were restaurant, hotel, “train” station, travel agency, livery and repair shop, all rolled into one.
I think it’s wonderful setting for a series, providing a backdrop for a cast of regulars who work in or frequent the inn, as well as new people traveling through to add interest.
The series will feature colorful characters like royal mail guards and coachmen, traveling performers, aristocrats and visiting men—and women—of business.
When last I was in England (2014), my old friend and traveling companion, Sara, and I visited many historic inns to research the book (a tough job 🙂 ). I have also acquired and perused many books on the subject. I think it’s a delightful setting full of possibilities. I hope readers agree!
I will share more about the series in future posts. But for now, what do you think? Does such a setting appeal to you? Hope so!