I am so excited to be a part of my friend Leslie L Diamond’s blog tour for her newest book, An Unwavering Trust. I have not read it yet, but this one is on my list to read very soon!
And now, a post from Leslie about the inspiration estate that makes its appearance in her book, An Unwavering Trust.
Thanks, Sarah for having me today! I’m so excited to share with everyone a little of how I was inspired for Darcy’s estate Sagemore in my new book!
I first came up with the initial tidbits that began An Unwavering Trust while writing A Matter of Chance. It was a bit different in the initial plot bunny, but several plot points remained essentially the same including the fact that I needed Darcy to have an estate of his own.
Initially, I had planned an estate in Scotland, but I changed my mind for several reasons. Yes, it was easy to marry in Scotland with few impediments, but I decided I wanted some sort of family around our dear couple as they begin to find their way and Scotland would have likely been construed as an elopement, which was not as respected as a wedding with family in attendance.
I also saw pictures of my inspiration for Darcy’s estate and fell in love.
Now, if I had the millions of pounds (almost £8 million pounds if I remember correctly), I would have sprinted across the Atlantic (I was still living in Omaha, Nebraska at the time.) and bought the house. The entire setting and atmosphere appealed to me. The house sits on five acres on an island in the Thames for goodness sakes!
For those unfamiliar with the house, it lies just outside of the small town of Sonning Eye, and depending upon the source, either in Oxfordshire or northern Berkshire (I used Oxfordshire in the story). The original structure was built in the 17th century (1628) and was remodeled in the 18th century when it was given a Georgian façade.
I searched the Mill House at Sonning Eye or Aberlash house repeatedly and just marveled at the island, the picturesque bridge crossing to the mainland, and the landscaping. It is a lovely spot! I wish I could find the source that mentioned the Magnolia trees lining a part of the drive. Magnolias were still relatively new to England in 1811, but I still used the reference.
“As they both donned their gloves, the stones of the bridge rattled against the hard wheels of the carriage, and she shifted to the side so she could see the Magnolia trees lining the road.
When they first travelled to Sagemore, the Magnolias had fascinated her. She had never seen one until that day, and she had walked amongst them, studying the dark, waxy leaves and brilliant white flowers larger than her own hand.”
The house was originally owned by the Rich family, who were wealthy London merchants and money lenders. In 1797, the home was sold to a miller from Berkshire by the name of Thomas May for his third son. The property has changed hands many times over the almost four hundred years of its existence.
The latest owners are none other than George Clooney and his new wife. I suppose that means I have good taste. 😉 As my mother always joked, I have always had champagne taste on a beer income!
Thank you Leslie for joining us here today, and here are the links where you can get this book, An Unwavering Trust, in Print and eBook format: