Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Searching For Captain Wentworth - in Bath's Pleasure Gardens

Bath Street, Bath

My latest book, Searching for Captain Wentworth is published on September 7th - though it is possible to order it now through Amazon and the usual channels. I wanted to write something a little different from my usual Jane Austen sequel and have always wanted to try my hand at a contemporary romance. I decided to combine the two in a time travel book, another favourite genre, and I enjoyed writing it enormously!
 At the beginning of the book, my heroine Sophie has a broken heart and is feeling very fed up with the world. At the invitation of an aunt, she takes herself off to Bath for a holiday and finds herself living next door to the house Jane Austen lived in 200 years ago. It's not long before strange things start happening and when Sophie finds an ancient glove dropped by her mysterious neighbour, Josh, she is whisked back into the past where she meets Jane Austen and her brother Charles, a handsome lieutenant on the frigate, Endymion. Sophie is soon enjoying the delights of balls and parties with her friends, living the life of her ancestor and namesake, Sophia Elliot. Whilst her friendships with the Austens could not be better or more exciting, Sophie has to contend with her family who are a nightmare! Her father is a snob and her sisters are far from the affectionate siblings she always dreamed of having.
 In the present, Sophie's friendship with Josh gets off to a shaky start. She cannot help being attracted to a man who loves Jane Austen's Persuasion as much as she does - though she's determined not to fall for any man again. Besides, it seems Josh is already taken ... Torn between her life in the modern world and that of the past, Sophie's story travels two hundred years and back again as she tries to find her own Captain Wentworth. And as she comes to believe that may depend upon risking everything but also changing the course of history, she learns that she isn't the only one caught in a heartbreaking dilemma. Her friend, Jane Austen has her own quest for happiness, her own secrets and heartache. I've blended fact and fiction together, drawing on Jane Austen's life, novels and letters in an attempt to create a believable world of new possibilities behind the inspiration for Jane Austen's beloved novel, Persuasion.

Sydney Gardens is opposite Jane Austen's house in Bath. It features in several pivotal scenes in my book. The gardens have changed since Jane Austen's day - known as pleasure gardens then, they featured such delights as bowling greens, a Labyrinth or maze, "small, delightful groves", waterfalls, pavilions and Merlin's Swing, which stood at the heart of the Labyrinth - a revolving swing wheel from where the 'lost' could be watched in the maze below. There were alcoves to enjoy tea, castle ruins, a millhouse and wheel, a hermit's cot and a Grotto with an underground passage leading to the centre of the Labyrinth. The New Bath Guide in 1801 describes some of the walks - "serpentine walks, which at every turn meet with sweet shady bowers furnished with handsome seats, some canopied by Nature, others by Art." A Ride provided "a healthy and fashionable airing for Gentlemen and Ladies on horseback free from the inconvenience of dirt in winter and dust in summer and not in commoded by carriages of any kind."

Sydney Gardens
The wonderful description of a pleasure garden below was written by Tobias Smollett in his book, The Adventures of Humphry Clinker.

Imagine to yourself, my dear Letty, a spacious garden laid out in delightful walks, bounded with high hedges and trees, and paved with gravel; part exhibiting a wonderful assemblage of the most picturesque and striking objects, pavilions, lodges, goves, grottoes, lawns, temples and cascades; porticoes, colonnades, and rotundoes; adorned with pillars, statues, and paintings; the whole illuminated with an infinite number of lamps, disposed in different figures of sun, stars, and constellations: the place crowded with the gayest company, ranging through blissful shades, or supping in different lodges on cold collations, enlivened with mirth, freedom and good humour, and animated with an excellent band of music.

 Pleasure gardens developed naturally from the custom of promenading, and in Bath the concept was taken a step further with Sydney Gardens when the traditional promenading area was combined with a scheme of houses so that the owners could look upon green spaces as if they owned the land. Thomas Baldwin, the architect to the Pulteney family who owned the estate drew up the first plans, but only one of his terrace's was completed before financial problems hit in 1793. Great Pulteney Street was completed, as were the houses in Sydney Place where Jane Austen came to live in 1801. Bath stopped at this point, the countryside stretched beyond, and a ten minute walk took you into town, much as it does today. You can see why the Austens would have chosen this end of the city. They were country people at heart, and Jane wrote of walking in the gardens and visiting the Labyrinth, every day.
Constance Hill wrote about the interior of number 4, Sydney Place a hundred years after Jane had left.
We sat in the pretty drawing-room with its three tall windows overlooking the Gardens. The morning sun was streaming in at these windows and falling upon the quaint empire furniture which pleasantly suggests the Austen's sojourn there. The house is roomy and commodious. Beneath the drawing-room, which is on the first floor, are the dining-room and arched hall from which a passage leads to a garden at the back of the house. The large old-fashioned kitchen, with its shining copper pans and its dresser laden with fine old china, looked as if it had remained untouched since the Austens' day.

A silver token was issued to each shareholder as a free pass into the pleasure garden - the coin featured what we know as the Holburne Museum today. Back then the museum was a hotel and tavern at various different stages, and sitting (as it still does) at the end of Great Pulteney Street made a fabulous focal point at the end of this classically inspired vista. The museum has recently undergone extensive re-modelling, and the new exhibitions inside are wonderful. There is a lovely cafe at the back where you can enjoy some refreshment, inside and out, and you can get a sense of what it must have been like to attend 'public breakfasts' in Jane Austen's day.

Sydney Gardens opened in May 1795 with the Tavern building known as Sydney House nearest to the city, containing dining rooms and meeting rooms. There were two wings on both sides of dining cubicles, a movable orchestra, and a space for fireworks. There was a main, wide walk, and narrower pathways leading off into shrubberies and winding walks. 
The gala Jane Austen attended on 4th June 1799 was spoilt by rain, so she went to the repeat performance two weeks later. She enjoyed the fireworks and illuminations, but not the music which she avoided by not arriving until nine o'clock!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Searching for Captain Wentworth Giveaway on the Book Rat Blog

I'm giving a copy of Searching for Captain Wentworth away on Misty's fabulous Book Rat Blog. Click on the link to read all about my new book and leave a comment on her blog to be in with a chance to win. Misty's hosting a whole series of events for Austen in August - don't miss the fun!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Searching for Captain Wentworth - the Cover! plus: Jane Odiwe at The Jane Austen Festival 2012.

Searching for Captain Wentworth by Jane Odiwe
I'm very excited to show you the cover of my new book, Searching for Captain Wentworth. As you all know, I absolutely love this portrait of Jane Austen, so when Anne Rice very kindly granted permission for the painting to grace the front of my latest novel, I couldn't have been more thrilled or delighted!

Searching for Captain Wentworth
Who was Jane Austen's real Captain Wentworth?

When aspiring writer, Sophie Elliot, receives the keys to the family townhouse in Bath, it’s an invitation she can’t turn down, especially when she learns that she will be living next door to the house that Jane Austen lived in. But, Sophie’s neglected ancestral home is harbouring more than the antiquated furniture and nesting mice, though initially Sophie tries to dismiss the haunting visions of a young girl. On discovering that an ancient glove belonging to her mysterious neighbour, Josh Strafford, will transport her back in time to Regency Bath, she questions her sanity, but Sophie is soon caught up in two dimensions, each reality as certain as the other. Torn between her life in the modern world, and that of her ancestor who befriends Jane Austen and her fascinating brother Charles, Sophie’s story travels two hundred years across time, and back again, to unite this modern heroine with her own Captain Wentworth. Blending fact and fiction together the tale of Jane Austen’s own quest for happiness weaves alongside, creating a believable world of new possibilities for the inspiration behind the beloved novel, Persuasion.

I've loved writing this book - I think if you follow my blog you'll know how much I love Bath and Lyme Regis where the book is set. I find both places very inspiring, but spending a lot of time in Bath has been particularly wonderful! 

I wanted to write something a little different from my usual sequel - this time I've indulged my fantasy of going back in time where my heroine meets Jane Austen and her brother Charles. Sophie is mad about Captain Wentworth in Persuasion; it's her favourite book. However, her hopes of meeting anyone quite like him have proved to be fruitless so far - in fact, she arrives in Bath with a broken heart! She thinks she will take some time to pen the book she's always wanted to write, but her plans for a quiet life are soon completely disrupted by some very strange goings on!   

This year I am speaking at the Jane Austen Festival 2012 - so I hope you will be able to come and join in the fun. It would be lovely to see you there! 

Here's the info below from the Jane Austen Centre website:

Meet the Author – Jane Odiwe – 10.30am (duration 1 hour)
Popular, published author and illustrator ofEffusions of Fancy,  Lydia Bennet’s Story, Willoughby’s Return and her latest book  Mr Darcy’s Secret talks to us about her writing and also reads to us from her new novel Searching for Captain Wentworth.
Venue: Duncan Room, BRLSI 16-18 Queen Square BA1 2HN
The Jane Austen Festival, Bath

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Austenesque Extravaganza!

I'm thrilled to tell you about Austenesque Extravaganza with Meredith Esparza, Angie Kroll and Jakki Leatherberry over at Austenesque Reviews. There's plenty of fun and games planned during September. Lots of authors are participating - Juliet Archer (author of Persuade Me) is joining me in a character mash-up short story. I don't want to tell you too much, but it involves two of our favourite characters meeting across two time zones! We hope you're going to enjoy it! Below, there's lots of info about the month and what you can look forward to - hope to see you soon on our blogs!

It's time to share with you all the fun and festivities we have planned for Austenesque Extravagnza!  Just like last year, each day of the week has a special themed event.  Some you will recognize from last year, but some are brand new! As are all the beautiful banners made by Team Austenesque member, Angie Kroll! 

Are you curious to know what events you can look forward to???

Here they are, my friends!

SOCIABLE SUNDAY - This event takes place here @ Austenesque Reviews on our NEW chatboard and will consist of an informal chat with several Austenesque authors.  Here's your chance to chat live with your favorite Austenesque author, ask them your questions, and learn more about their writing!

MATCHMAKER MONDAY - Here's your chance to act like Emma Woodhouse!  One of your friends is looking for a specific type Austenesque novel and she needs your help.  Which novel will you pair her with?  What do you recommend?

TRAVELING TUESDAY - Time to travel through the blogsphere and take a few stops at some spectacular Austenesque author blogs!  Lots of fun, CREATIVE, and interesting posts for you to enjoy!

WEDNESDAY WORD GAMES - Mad Libs, crosswords, and all sorts of fun with words!

TOURING THURSDAY - Just like on Traveling Tuesday, you will be leaving Austenesque Reviews to visit other Austenesque author blogs and check out the awesome Austenesque posts they have written!

FUN AND GAMES FRIDAY - On Fridays we will indulge in some fun with BRAND NEW and INTERACTIVE diversions!

SPOTLIGHT SATURDAY - Make sure you set aside some time each Saturday to check out all the fantastic posts ardent admirers of Austenesque literature are sharing with us!  There are so many wonderful readers for you to meet and learn about!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Jane Austen, Devonshire, and Sense and Sensibility!

When I visited Devon recently, the gorgeous landscape reminded me particularly of one of Jane Austen's books. Whilst Jane doesn't tend to write a lot of description in her novels, I was surprised at how much there is to be found in Sense and Sensibility. We know that Jane holidayed in Devon, visiting places like Sidmouth, Dawlish and Lyme Regis, which is on the border between Dorset and Devon. 

In this first passage from Sense and Sensibility, Jane writes about the situation of Barton, the village where Elinor, Marianne and Margaret Dashwood come to live with their mother after their half-brother, John Dashwood inherits Norland House. It's a far cry from the slendours of the house they are used to, but the position is a good one. It's clearly all too difficult for Mrs Dashwood who is used to a grander style of living, and she is soon thinking of ways to 'improve' the cottage. 

 The situation of the house was good. High hills rose immediately behind, and at no great distance on each side; some of which were open downs, the others cultivated and woody. The village of Barton was chiefly on one of these hills, and formed a pleasant view from the cottage windows. The prospect in front was more extensive; it commanded the whole of the valley, and reached into the country beyond. The hills which surrounded the cottage terminated the valley in that direction; under another name, and in another course, it branched out again between two of the steepest of them.
   With the size and furniture of the house Mrs. Dashwood was upon the whole well satisfied; for though her former style of life rendered many additions to the latter indispensable, yet to add and improve was a delight to her; and she had at this time ready money enough to supply all that was wanted of greater elegance to the apartments. "As for the house itself, to be sure," said she, "it is too small for our family, but we will make ourselves tolerably comfortable for the present, as it is too late in the year for improvements. Perhaps in the spring, if I have plenty of money, as I dare say I shall, we may think about building. These parlours are both too small for such parties of our friends as I hope to see often collected here; and I have some thoughts of throwing the passage into one of them with perhaps a part of the other, and so leave the remainder of that other for an entrance; this, with a new drawing-room which may be easily added, and a bed-chamber and garret above, will make it a very snug little cottage. I could wish the stairs were handsome. But one must not expect everything; though I suppose it would be no difficult matter to widen them. I shall see how much I am before-hand with the world in the spring, and we will plan our improvements accordingly."
   In the mean time, till all these alterations could be made from the savings of an income of five hundred a-year by a woman who never saved in her life, they were wise enough to be contented with the house as it was; and each of them was busy in arranging their particular concerns, and endeavouring, by placing around them their books and other possessions, to form themselves a home. Marianne's pianoforte was unpacked and properly disposed of; and Elinor's drawings were affixed to the walls of their sitting room.

Having had some experience of the "dirt of the valleys" whilst staying in Devon, due to tumultuous rain, I must admit it was rather good to be high up in the hills for most of the time. The views from our house reminded me very much of this passage - sadly, I did not bump into Mr Willoughby on any of my walks.

The whole country about them abounded in beautiful walks. The high downs, which invited them from almost every window of the cottage to seek the exquisite enjoyment of air on their summits, were an happy alternative when the dirt of the valleys beneath shut up their superior beauties; and towards on of these hills did Marianne and Margaret one memorable morning direct their steps, attracted by the partial sunshine of a showery sky, and unable longer to bear the confinement which the settled rain of the two preceding days had occasioned. The weather was not tempting enough to draw the two others from their pencil and their book, in spite of Marianne's declaration that the day would be lastingly fair, and that every threatening cloud would be drawn off from their hills; and the two girls set off together.
   They gaily ascended the downs, rejoicing in their own penetration at every glimpse of blue sky: and when they caught in their faces the animating gales of an high south-westerly wind, they pitied the fears which had prevented their mother and Elinor from sharing such delightful sensations.
   "Is there a felicity in the world," said Marianne, "superior to this? Margaret, we will walk here at least two hours."

  Margaret agreed, and they pursued their way against the wind, resisting it with laughing delight for about twenty minutes longer, when suddenly the clouds united over their heads, and a driving rain set full in their face. Chagrined and surprised, they were obliged, though unwillingly, to turn back, for no shelter was nearer than their own house. One consolation however remained for them, to which the exigence of the moment gave more than usual propriety; it was that of running with all possible speed down the steep side of the hill which led immediately to their garden gate.
   They set off. Marianne had at first the advantage, but a false step brought her suddenly to the ground, and Margaret, unable to stop herself to assist her, was involuntarily hurried along, and reached the bottom in safety.
   A gentleman carrying a gun, with two pointers playing round him, was passing up the hill and within a few yards of Marianne, when her accident happened. He put down his gun and ran to her assistance. She had raised herself from the ground, but her foot had been twisted in the fall, and she was scarcely able to stand. The gentleman offered his services, and perceiving that her modesty declined what her situation rendered necessary, took her up in his arms without farther delay, and carried her down the hill. Then passing through the garden, the gate of which had been left open by Margaret, he bore her directly into the house, whither Margaret was just arrived, and quitted not his hold till he had seated her in a chair in the parlour.

The views from the house at Allenham, which belongs to Mr Willoughby's benefactor, Mrs Smith are described in this passage. Woods and high hills abound! I've often wondered if Jane Austen was describing views she knew, from dual aspect windows of a corner room, which sounds delightfully unusual. Marianne can't help but gush in her enthusiasm for the pretty sitting room or help making plans to modernise it.

   She blushed at this hint; but it was even visibly gratifying to her; and after a ten minutes' interval of earnest thought, she came to her sister again, and said with great good humour, "Perhaps, Elinor, it was rather ill-judged in me to go to Allenham; but Mr. Willoughby wanted particularly to shew me the place; and it is a charming house I assure you. There is one remarkably pretty sitting room up stairs; of a nice comfortable size for constant use, and with modern furniture it would be delightful. It is a corner room, and has windows on two sides. On one side you look across the bowling-green, behind the house, to a beautiful hanging wood, and on the other you have a view of the church and village, and, beyond them, of those fine bold hills that we have so often admired. I did not see it to advantage, for nothing could be more forlorn than the furniture, - but if it were newly fitted up - a couple of hundred pounds, Willoughby says, would make it one of the pleasantest summer-rooms in England."
   Could Elinor have listened to her without interruption from the others, she would have described every room in the house with equal delight.

I love the contrast in this passage between Marianne's fervent passion for everything natural, and Edward's very matter of fact consideration of the dirty lanes - something I had some experience of whilst on holiday - though in the photo below you can see it was actually quite a dry day when I took this shot. Edward and Marianne go on to discuss the picturesque with their very differing approaches to the countryside. 
We had to travel down some increasingly narrow lanes before the road rose high into the hills to take us to the house where we were staying. One night we took a taxi into the nearest village and the driver told us that if we'd been there the week before the lanes were impassable because of flooding! 

"And how does dear, dear Norland look?" cried Marianne.
   "Dear, dear Norland," said Elinor, "probably looks much as it always does at this time of year. The woods and walks thickly covered with dead leaves."
   "Oh!" cried Marianne, "with what transporting sensations have I formerly seen them fall! How have I delighted, as I walked, to see them driven in showers about me by the wind! What feelings have they, the season, the air altogether inspired! Now there is no one to regard them. They are seen only as a nuisance, swept hastily off, and driven as much as possible from the sight."
   "It is not every one," said Elinor, "who has your passion for dead leaves."
   "No; my feelings are not often shared, not often understood. But sometimes they are." - As she said this, she sunk into a reverie for a few moments; but rousing herself again, "Now, Edward," said she, calling his attention to the prospect, "here is Barton valley. Look up it, and be tranquil if you can. Look at those hills! Did you ever see their equals? To the left is Barton park, amongst those woods and plantations. You may see one end of the house. And there, beneath that farthest hill, which rises with such grandeur, is our cottage."
   "It is a beautiful country," he replied; "but these bottoms must be dirty in winter."
   "How can you think of dirt, with such objects before you?"
   "Because," replied he, smiling, "among the rest of the objects before me, I see a very dirty lane."
   "How strange!" said Marianne to herself as she walked on.

   Edward returned to them with fresh admiration of the surrounding country; in his walk to the village, he had seen many parts of the valley to advantage; and the village itself, in a much higher situation than the cottage, afforded a general view of the whole, which had exceedingly pleased him. This was a subject which ensured Marianne's attention, and she was beginning to describe her own admiration of these scenes, and to question him more minutely on the objects that had particularly struck him, when Edward interrupted her by saying, "You must not inquire too far, Marianne - remember, I have no knowledge in the picturesque, and I shall offend you by my ignorance and want of taste, if we come to particulars. I shall call hills steep, which ought to be bold! surfaces strange and uncouth, which ought to be irregular and rugged; and distant objects out of sight, which ought only to be indistinct through the soft medium of a hazy atmosphere. You must be satisfied with such admiration as I can honestly give. I call it a very fine country - the hills are steep, the woods seem full of fine timber, and the valley looks comfortable and snug - with rich meadows and several neat farm houses scattered here and there. It exactly answers my idea of a fine country, because it unites beauty with utility - and I dare say it is a picturesque one too, because you admire it; I can easily believe it to be full of rocks and promontories, grey moss and brush wood, but these are all lost on me. I know nothing of the picturesque."

These two sheep were in a neighbouring field, but they kept escaping to our garden where they obviously thought that the grass was greener! They were funny - it was almost as if they knew they shouldn't be there and we never quite worked out how they got in or out. An excellent way to keep the grass down!

I hope you enjoyed the photos!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Jane Austen, Weymouth, and the Olympics!

The Old Harbour Weymouth - hosting the Olympic Sailing

 I recently visited Weymouth just as the Olympic sailing was starting. The town was in festive mood on the day I visited and there was a fantastic carnival atmosphere with decorated floats and activities laid on in celebration of the Olympics. The area round by the old harbour is the prettiest, and there are still some lovely examples of Georgian architecture in the town. I've always been curious to see it because apart from the mentions in Jane Austen's books and letters, I knew that the town became fashionable when George 3rd visited with his family. Fanny Burney recorded a funny tale - the 'neighbouring machine' she refers to is a bathing machine: "...Think but of the surprise of His Majesty when, the first time of his bathing, he had no sooner popped his royal head under water than a band of music, concealed in a neighbouring machine, struck up "God save great George our King".

Cassandra Austen wrote to Jane from Weymouth in 1804 where she was staying with brother Henry and Eliza. Jane doesn't seem too impressed by her sister's account! Jane replied:

Carnival time - Olympic Sailing
Your account of Weymouth contains nothing which strikes me so forcibly as there being no ice in the town. For every other vexation I was in some measure prepared, and particularly for your disappointment in not seeing the Royal family go on board, having already heard from Mr Crawford that he had seen you in the very act of being too late, but for there being no ice...what could prepare me? Weymouth is altogether a shocking place I perceive, without recommendation of any kind and worthy of being frequented by the inhabitants of Gloucester (referring to a newspaper report of HRH the Duke of Gloucester's arrival in Weymouth to visit the Royal Family). I am really very glad that we did not go there and that Henry and Eliza found nothing in it to make them think differently.

Jane Austen mentions Weymouth several times in her novels though she doesn't actually take us there.
Girls from the sea - Weymouth Olympics
In Emma, we find out eventually that Weymouth was the place where Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax were secretly engaged. No one in Highbury, including Emma, is aware of this betrothal until we get almost to the end of the book. Jane Austen leaves lots of clues but I'm sure not many people pick them up until a second reading - one of the delights of this novel.
Jane Fairfax is saved from falling overboard from a sailing boat by Mr Dixon in Weymouth, and as a consequence Emma, helped on by Frank Churchill becomes suspicious of Jane's feelings for her rescuer. Mrs Bates receives a gift of a shawl which was bought in Weymouth, and we learn that Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax sang together whilst staying at the resort. 
Initially, at the start of the novel, Emma has not met Frank whose father married her governess, Miss Taylor. She naturally wants to know all about him. However, she becomes increasingly irritated when Jane will not give any information away. Later, we realise why Jane is not willing to show much enthusiasm for her subject but, at the time, Emma thinks she is only being cautious because Jane is secretly in love with Mr Dixon. 

If any thing could be more, where all was most, she was more reserved on the subject of Weymouth and the Dixons than any thing. She seemed bent on giving no real insight into Mr. Dixon's character, or her own value for his company, or opinion of the suitableness of the match. It was all general approbation and smoothness; nothing delineated or distinguished. It did her no service however. Her caution was thrown away. Emma saw its artifice, and returned to her first surmises. There probably was something more to conceal than her own preference; Mr. Dixon, perhaps, had been very near changing one friend for the other, or been fixed only to Miss Campbell, for the sake of the future twelve thousand pounds 

The like reserve prevailed on other topics. She and Mr. Frank Churchill had been at Weymouth at the same time. It was known that they were a little acquainted; but not a syllable of real information could Emma procure as to what he truly was. "Was he handsome?" - "She believed he was reckoned a very fine young man." "Was he agreeable?" - "He was generally thought so." "Did he appear a sensible young man; a young man of information?" - "At a watering-place, or in a common London acquaintance, it was difficult to decide on such points. Manners were all that could be safely judged of, under a much longer knowledge than they had yet had of Mr. Churchill. She believed every body found his manners pleasing." Emma could not forgive her.

The old harbour, Weymouth - Olympic sailing
 I love the way Frank Churchill first avoids being drawn into a conversation about Weymouth when Emma is trying to find out what happened in Weymouth. He's clearly taken aback and needs to collect his thoughts about what he's going to say.  

"Did you see her often at Weymouth? Were you often in the same society?"
    At this moment they were approaching Ford's, and he hastily exclaimed, "Ha! this must be the very shop that every body attends every day of their lives, as my father informs me. He comes to Highbury himself, he says, six days out of the seven, and has always business at Ford's. If it be not inconvenient to you, pray let us go in, that I may prove myself to belong to the place, to be a true citizen of Highbury. I must buy something at Ford's. It will be taking out my freedom. I dare say they sell gloves."
    "Oh! yes, gloves and every thing. I do admire your patriotism. You will be adored in Highbury. You were very popular before you came, because you were Mr. Weston's son; but lay out half-a-guinea at Ford's, and your popularity will stand upon your own virtues."
    They went in; and while the sleek, well-tied parcels of "Men's Beavers" and "York Tan" were bringing down and displaying on the counter, he said - "But I beg your pardon, Miss Woodhouse, you were speaking to me, you were saying something at the very moment of this burst of my amor patria e. Do not let me lose it. I assure you the utmost stretch of public fame would not make me amends for the loss of any happiness in private life."
    "I merely asked, whether you had known much of Miss Fairfax and her party at Weymouth."
The old harbour, Weymouth - Olympic sailing
    "And now that I understand your question, I must pronounce it to be a very unfair one. It is always the lady's right to decide on the degree of acquaintance. Miss Fairfax must already have given her account. I shall not commit myself by claiming more than she may chuse to allow."
    "Upon my word! you answer as discreetly as she could do herself. But her account of every thing leaves so much to be guessed, she is so very reserved, so very unwilling to give the least information about any body, that I really think you may say what you like of your acquaintance with her."
    "May I indeed? Then I will speak the truth, and nothing suits me so well. I met her frequently at Weymouth. I had known the Campbells a little in town; and at Weymouth we were very much in the same set. Col. Campbell is a very agreeable man, and Mrs. Campbell a friendly, warm-hearted woman. I like them all."
Weymouth shopping street

In Sense and Sensibility, Elinor asks about Willoughby's character and receives this reply from Mrs Palmer who mentions Weymouth. 

"Oh! dear, yes; I know him extremely well," replied Mrs. Palmer - "Not that I ever spoke to him, indeed; but I have seen him for ever in town. Somehow or other, I never happened to be staying at Barton while he was at Allenham. Mama saw him here once before; - but I was with my uncle at Weymouth. However, I dare say we should have seen a great deal of him in Somersetshire, if it had not happened very unluckily that we should never have been in the country together. He is very little at Combe, I believe; but if he were ever so much there, I do not think Mr. Palmer would visit him, for he is in the opposition you know, and besides it is such a way off. I know why you inquire about him, very well; your sister is to marry him. I am monstrous glad of it, for then I shall have her for a neighbour you know."

Jane Odiwe at the old harbour, Weymouth - Olympic Sailing
In Mansfield Park the Honourable John Yates and Tom Bertram strike up a friendship at Weymouth and Miss Crawford is eager to learn all about the seaside town.

I had a lovely day out - I hope you enjoy the photos!

Weymouth Olympics - carnival!

Weymouth Olympics - carnival!