Regency Brighton



Brighton is another town with a great many Georgian style buildings. Its popularity in the early nineteenth century meant that a huge building programme was undertaken. This has given the town a rather grand and harmonious appearance. It is also useful as research material for a new Regency tale.

The House of Correction


The small streets with their tiny cottages, the maze of medieval alleys, even the House of Correction, give the impression of a small town. However, with the growing popularity of sea bathing and the establishment of assembly rooms and a theatre, visitors flocked there in ever increasing numbers.
A new town grew all the way from Marine Parade to Brunswick Town. There are many fine examples of elegant villas and sweeping terraces of tall, colonnaded buildings so beloved by Regency architects.


Brunswick Terrace

Set at the end of the main road from London to Brighton and calculated to catch the visitor’s eye as he arrived, was the Prince Regent’s Pavilion. It is so incredible that normal criticism or comments cannot apply. The Prince loved his summer palace and was a generous and kind host to his guests.


The Royal Pavilion

I have to confess that I would have loved to dine with him in that awe-inspiring dining room, under the massive chandelier with its mirror palm leaves glittering and twinkling above the candles. No doubt the other ornaments and decorations reflected the lights in fascinating ways also. And then I would have loved the Prince to take me on one of his tours of the kitchens, where fantasy gave way to practicality and he could demonstrate his pride in all the up-to-date gadgets he had installed there.

Just a dream…. but in my story, some of my characters can live the dream for me.

Rake's Challenge cover

Some Gossip from the Teatime Tattler

Mrs. Bingham Tries Again

BinghamHalf-Moon Street, London, 27th August, 1813

My dear Celeste,

I trust your esteemed mama improves in health so that you may soon be free to return to Town, for you are missing the Event of the year. You must know that even we married ladies are all aflutter since the arrival of a certain French gentleman in our midst. Monsieur de Montailhac is the brother-in-law of Sir Richard Hartford, and the son of a French marquis and his wife – a Turkish princess, no less. These details I have from Cecilia Hartford, who is only too ready to boast of her handsome guest.

Indeed, Celeste, I have now been present at two events where the gentleman also figured. I feel such pangs of jealousy against Cecilia, who can feast her eyes on this marvel of masculine beauty every day. He casts even Lord Byron into the shade. His hair is raven black, like his eyes. Oh, such fascinating almond eyes, with a constant roguish twinkle. And his smile makes one forget who and where one is! To the advantages of a trim figure, he adds impeccable style and a delicious French accent that charms us all.

Of course, that odious cousin of Cecilia’s, Mrs Bingham, swoops on the poor man, pushing her poor plain little Lydia at him. [The only man who ever notices Lydia is Jack Barrowman and Mrs B considers him a rustic. She would do well to accept the match for her daughter. It is already Lydia’s third season, is it not?]

And by chance, a little later that day I was in Charters Square in Soho to make a purchase at the showroom of the fine silversmith there, when I espied Monsieur de Montailhac [his name is Arnaut, is it not delightful?] coming out of that very shop, in company with a pretty young lady. They stood and spoke for a time, while I pretended to inspect the goods in the display window. Then he kissed her hand and the smile they exchanged was so intimate, I felt ashamed to be spying on them.

It seems Mrs B is doomed to yet another disappointment over her daughter. But if you wish to see our handsome Frenchman, you should in truth come back soon.

Yr affectionate friend,

BinghamAbout the Book

Arnaut de Montailhac’s reputation as a charming rake is well established. Secretly, he longs for a role where he could shine on merit. Perhaps the political events of the summer of 1813 will give him that opportunity.  But when his first official task is to seduce a beautiful young spy, Arnaut suspects he is considered to be nothing more than a charming fribble. However, events quickly turn nasty and he sets off on a quest, determined to prove his true worth. Louise Fauriel, hardworking member of a family of Huguenot silversmiths, is the complete opposite of Arnaut. Linked by the need to smuggle letters from the Bourbon king in exile at Hartwell House to Arnaut’s father, the unlikely pair travel between France and England, with Napoleon’s vengeful agents never more than one step behind. In the desperate race to succeed in this mission, even a rake has no time for love.

Excerpt:       A rake in peril from the ladies

Behind his fixed smile, Arnaut was fuming. He and Richard had taken refuge in the drawing room to settle their plans for the afternoon when Cecilia swept in with a group of ladies. It was evident she was determined to show off her French visitor. Everywhere he looked, he saw ladies nodding and smiling at him. He felt like one of the horses he had seen exhibited at Tattersalls the other day. Servants appeared with tea and cakes. Arnaut was horrified. How could he escape? Yet in less than thirty minutes it would be three o’clock, time for his meeting with Pierre D’Escury in Soho.

He found himself sandwiched between a formidable matron and her shockingly plain daughter. Not for the first time, he regretted his ability to attract ladies. The girl was gazing at him with a sort of dazed intensity, as if he was a rare item in a museum. Arnaut cast an urgent look at Richard, seated in the window alcove beside an elderly lady wearing a monstrous bonnet. Richard met his eye and gave a faint, apologetic smile. No help from him, then.

Now Cecilia came to stand in front of them. ‘How delightful to see you such good friends already with our guest, Cousin Chastity,’ she trilled. ‘I am sure Monsieur de Montailhac is telling you all about the latest Paris fashions.’

In spite of his growing frustration, Arnaut had to swallow a laugh. Nobody could help the name their parents gave them but ‘Chastity’ did not sit well on this large and opulently endowed lady. She turned towards him and beamed. ‘He is making acquaintance with my dear Lydia here. So charming.’

Lydia nodded and wriggled without taking her eyes from his face. Did the girl have any conversation, he wondered, or was she simply her mother’s puppet? He was hemmed in by these three females. He would have felt less threatened among a hostile crowd at a prize fight. Thankfully, someone else addressed Cecilia and she was obliged to move away.

The clock on the mantelpiece struck the hour. Arnaut gave a silent groan. Think, dammit! he told himself. You have to escape without giving offence. He gave an exaggerated start and stood up, pretending to check the time.

‘More tea, Monsieur de Montailhac?’ Cecilia hastened back, blocking his way. This began to seem like a conspiracy. But he was going to escape. He smiled his most charming smile and handed her his cup, still untouched.

‘Thank you, no. I regret, but I am obliged to take my leave,’ he insisted over her shocked protests. ‘In such charming company I had almost forgotten that I’m engaged to spend this afternoon with an elderly friend of my father’s. He is housebound and so you appreciate I cannot disappoint him.’ It was not so far from the truth. He turned and bowed in the grand style his father had taught him. ‘Ladies, I am desolated but I cannot stay.’

He was aware of the sudden silence and the heads turning to follow him. Straight backed, he marched out of the room, letting out a deep breath once the door had closed behind him.

You can buy the book here

The Rake and His Honour, Arnaut’s story, is the second book in the Montailhac Family series. The first brother’s story is told in Scandalous Lady.

There are notes and pictures – and more information about the slightly exotic Montailhac family – at


The year is 1810. Take a young man seeking adventure and action. He fights in Wellington’s Peninsular Army against the French forces of Napoleon. But then he is badly wounded at the battle of Talavera and has to give up the military career he loves so much. He becomes moody and difficult.

Another young man lives the life of a society darling but he has no money. He must live by his wits. Into their lives comes a lively young lady, determined that she will not be married off to anyone, even though her mother has ordered her to make a good match. She longs to go back home and carry on helping her father the vicar with his good works.

B -u -t the two gentlemen are so very handsome and so admiring, she is tempted…. just a little….and at the same time she becomes aware of sinister undercurrents in society life. She has to prevent a spy from damaging her country, but at a possibly fatal cost to herself.

 The Wild Card was one of the winners in the RNA Joan Hessayon Awards for a first novel.   
The Judge’s summary: 

The Wild Card (Hale) by Beth Elliot  – “The background is terrific, the story lively and the pace relentless as the story builds to a fantastic climax. A wonderful, charming and well-written Regency with its essential lightness spiced with intrigue.”

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Off on a new adventure


The year is 1818. In Paris the French king, Louis XVIII, is doing his best to establish a peaceful regime. The Duke of Wellington, along with the other members of the Alliance, wants to withdraw the Army of Occupation and allow France to be independent. 

At the other end of France at the Chateau de Fontanes in the Pyrenees, Joachim de Montailhac, the youngest of the three brothers, has the job of caring for the family estate. He deals with replanting and maintaining the woods, organising the work of the tenants, villagers and farmers, supervising the family stables and other livestock.

Into his busy life come some unexpected problems, in the form of two sisters. He senses from the outset that they are going to be trouble. And at the same time the unrest that has simmered in the southern French towns spreads into the local area. It is clear the rebels are targeting his family.

Helen [Nell] and Sophie Hartford are cousins of Joachim’s sister-in-law, Olivia [see Scandalous Lady]. In the Spring of 1818 they find themselves outcasts from their father’s home and are forced to accept Olivia’s assurance that the Marquise de Fontanes and her family will make them welcome. Two unhappy girls struggle to fit into the very different lifestyle of the large and slightly exotic Montailhac family.  



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      The story of two runaways whose paths cross time and again.

Below are three of the reviews from readers, for which I thank them. It’s wonderful when people enjoy the story you created and so encouraging when they take the time to say so. 


on December 19, 2017
Oh what a perfectly wonderful Regency romance. A runaway heiress, saved by a Rake,
who then ensures her safe passage through the perilous corridors of the Ton. In the end
she saves him.
Fun and engaging
on 21 December 2017 – Published on
Verified Purchase

Enjoyed this light and engaging story very much. Recommend it to anyone looking to spend an evening becoming acquainted with its delightful characters.


Sweet !!!
on 21 December 2017 – Published on
Verified Purchase

Such a lovely story of a search for adventure. Interesting details of a season in Brighton. I thoroughly encourage you to give this book a try.

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The Golden Cannon Public House, Brighton


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Brunswick Square, Brighton



Beth features on Author Interviews by Fiona Mackie


The King’s Arms Tavern, once the Prince Regent’s favourite place of entertainment in Brighton

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A wide ranging chat about my life, my books and my writing process.

via    Here is my interview with Beth Elliott

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Gilbert White’s garden at Selbourne, Hampshire 



Louis XVIII                        Hartwell House, Buckinghamshire

Between 1809 and 1814, Hartwell House in Buckinghamshire was the home of the exiled French king, brother of King Louis XVI who was executed in 1793. Previously titled the Comte de Provence, Louis Stanislas was now known as King Louis XVIII of France.  He worked tirelessly to promote himself as a future ruler of France in a constitutional monarchy; showing willingness to accept many reforms and tolerance of minority religions. He was more liberal than his ministers and even his younger brother, the Comte d’Artois [who later became King Charles X, after Louis’s death in 1824].

It was thanks to his cousin the Regent, later King George IV, that Louis was able to seek refuge in England. The condition was that he must reside at a distance of 50 miles from London. At Hartwell House, he was accompanied by his queen, Marie-Josephine of Savoy, his niece, the Duchess of Angouleme and her husband, the Duke of Angouleme, son of the Comte d’Artois.

Image result for Louis Antoine, duc d'Angouleme              Image result for La duchesse d'Angouleme

                                The Duke and Duchess of Angouleme

My hero is a caveman


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It was only when reading through the printed novel that I realised my hero is actually a caveman. Poor Arnaut.

When he first appears in the story, he walks out from the depths of a cavern. He’s hiding there for a very special reason [* see previous post]. The local people are familiar with the many ancient caverns in the region and use them from time to time for shelter. In this case, Louise and her local guide take refuge from a fierce storm and to escape a pair of Napoleon’s secret agents.

Arnaut is not at all pleased to see them and Louise would rather be anywhere than shut in the dark and eerie bowels of the earth.


Entry Gallery

Photo: Heinrich Wendel (© The Wendel Collection, Neanderthal Museum]

She is oppressed by being shut in and when at last Arnaut leads her back to the entrance, she’s overjoyed to see the blue sky and green hills.

Niaux entrance

Photo: Heinrich Wendel (© The Wendel Collection, Neanderthal Museum]

Louise sets off to complete her mission. As she rides away, she wonders what Arnaut has done for him to be living in such a bleak place. But Louise comes from London and everything about the Pyrenees is strange to her at this point in the story.

The endless steep mountains and deep valleys…..


the small, sure-footed Merens ponies….

the picturesque vistas….


 The mysterious Lake of Bethmale….

but she’ll learn…………..

…and my Caveman? Acually, he’s very charming.


The Heavenly Horse

Heavenly Horse

Akhal-Teke horses are well-known for speed and endurance, intelligence, and for the distinctive metallic sheen of their coat. Natives of Turkmenistan, the bloom on the coat acts as camouflage in the shimmering desert heat. Prized for their beauty as well as their strength and skill, they are known as the Heavenly Horses. These horses are thought to be one of the oldest existing breeds in the world.

No wonder Arnaut de Montailhac is so proud of his Akhal-Teke, Zephyre. [in Scandalous Lady ]

… Olivia was still fascinated by the shimmering golden horse.

‘Mademoiselle,’ said the newcomer, ‘I am delighted to meet you at last. And I agree with you,’ he waved a hand expressively, ‘ My horse is the most beautiful creature you ever saw, n’est-ce pas?’

She was obliged to laugh. ‘Monsieur. Truly, he took my breath away. I have never seen such a proud animal and his coat is extraordinary – like metal.’

He wheeled round to ride beside her as they turned back towards the city. ‘This is Zephyre. He is an Akhal-Teke, a horse from the deserts of Turkmenistan,’ he explained as she shook her head in puzzlement. ‘He is fleet and strong, hey, my Zephyre?’ He leaned forward to pat the animal’s neck and the stallion tossed his head proudly.

The gentleman had a pronounced French accent but he spoke English without any hesitation. Olivia studied him from under her lashes as they rode on. She had noticed that Richard merely exchanged a nod with this gentleman. So they had met before. When? Why had he appeared now? She felt darkly suspicious but what could happen? They were merely riding back home after all. Soon she would be shut up inside four walls for another day of heartache. Her throat closed up as the misery surged up again. Don’t think ahead, enjoy the rest of this ride. At least for the moment she could admire this superb new horse.

She studied at the shining golden stallion as he trotted gracefully along. At once, her companion smiled and nodded. ‘I see you truly appreciate him. But these horses only accept one master.’

‘How splendid,’ she said wistfully, ‘He moves so beautifully.’

That was enough encouragement. The gentleman launched into a list of all Zephyre’s qualities. By the time he finally stopped for breath, Olivia had caught some of his enthusiasm. She managed a smile.


Another day, another duel

Today I’m a guest on The Heart of Romance Blog, revisiting my story about Giles and Anna and the holiday in Brighton that came within a whisker of catastrophe..

A dreamy poet, a wheezy pug, eccentric Italians and very disreputable courtiers are among the cast of this “sunny, relaxing treat of a novel” Rachel A Hyde… and, of course, there is the experience of sea-bathing.