Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Guest Post: Concerts on the Rock by Alissa Baxter

I had the delight of reading an advance copy of Alissa Baxter's February 2023 book, so I happily invited her to share some of her research for her series on intrepid ladies with us at Nineteen Teen. Enjoy! Regina

I set the second book in my Linfield Ladies series, The Viscount’s Lady Novelist, partly on an estate near Bristol. It was fascinating to research the area as it is not a popular setting in Regency romances. During the course of my research, I found out about the concerts which once were held at St Vincent’s Rock. Here is an excerpt from Chilcott’s Descriptive History of Bristol, Ancient and Modern, Or, A Guide to Bristol, Clifton and the Hotwells by John Chilcott:

“To an observer on the Clifton side of the river, the opposite woods in summer present a most charming appearance: they contain almost every forest tree indigenous to this country; among which the broad-leaved sycamore, the majestic oak, the sombre ewe, the lofty elm, the graceful mountain ash, with many others, are seen blending their hues together, and forming a scene of foliage that for variety and exuberance is scarcely to be equalled. Here it is not uncommon, during fine summer evenings, for a band of musicians to assemble, at which time the opposite side is covered with an attentive crowd. The soft sounds wafted across the water are truly enchanting!”

And here's how it played out in The Viscount’s Lady Novelist:

As Oliver made his way across to her, strains of music began to waft across the river, indicating the musicians had begun their rehearsal. “Have you attended such a concert before, Miss Linfield?”

“Yes, indeed, my lord. You will find it quite remarkable.” She pointed in the direction of the trees. “Inside the recesses of that wood is a cave. On fine summer evenings, a band of musicians assembles within to play by torchlight. The music reverberates over the river in the most delightful way.”

The crowd hushed as the band performed their first piece. The notes carried across the water, multiplied by the endless echoes of the rocks.

“It’s truly enchanting!” Harriet’s glanced up at him, her expression rapt. “Do you not think so, my lord?”

He inclined his head. The venue and the talented musicians provided a unique experience for any music lover. An attentive crowd of men and women stood quietly amongst the rocks while the musicians played a range of melodies, from popular folk songs to more formally arranged pieces by Handel and Vivaldi.

As the concert drew to a close, Oliver murmured, “We are like so many Thracians, but Orpheus never performed so beautifully.”

Harriet smiled. “Indeed. Orpheus may have been able to charm all living things and even stones with his music, but our musicians must surpass even him in the sweetness of their playing.”

You can find The Viscount's Lady Novelist at fine online retailers such as

Amazon US 

Barnes and Noble 

Alissa Baxter wrote her first Regency romance during her long university holidays. After travelling the world, she settled down to write her second Regency novel, which was inspired by her time living on a country estate in England. Alissa then published two chick lit novels, The Truth About Clicking Send and Receive (previously published as Send and Receive) and The Truth About Cats and Bees (previously published as The Blog Affair). Many years later, Alissa returned to her favourite period with her Linfield Ladies Series, a trio of Regency romances that feature women in trend-setting roles who fall in love with men who embrace their trailblazing ways... at least eventually. Alissa currently lives in Johannesburg with her husband and two sons. She is a member of Regency Fiction Writers. Her website is https://www.alissabaxter.com/.

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