Pleasure Gardens by Suzi Love

An 18th century print showing the exterior of ...

An 18th century print showing the exterior of the Rotunda at Ranelagh Gardens and part of the grounds. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Suzi Love LogoPleasure Gardens by Suzi Love,

author of The Viscount’s Pleasure House. 




Public pleasure houses and gardens had existed for many centuries, so the idea of a 19th century Viscount making money from the Pleasure Garden and Bath House on his country estate was nothing new.

Although, the way Justin created extravaganzas in his pleasure gardens may have raised a few eyebrows in the late Regency era where morals were becoming ‘slightly’ more circumspect.

In Ancient Rome, the landscaped Gardens of Sallust were open to the public for many centuries  and included a temple to Venus and monumental sculptures.

In the 18th and 19th centuries in London, many pleasure gardens were opened, including Cremorne Gardens, Cuper’s Gardens, Marylebone Gardens, Ranelagh Gardens, Royal Surrey Gardens and Vauxhall Gardens.

Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens

Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many of the grander Pleasure Gardens contained large concert halls and hosted promenade concerts or a menagerie for family outings, but there were also many smaller gardens. Some were tea gardens for ladies, but other less publicized ones were outdoor entertainment areas for gentlemen and the women who entertained them.

Towards the end of the 18th century, pleasure touring around England became a popular pastime for the rich and leisured class, and ‘picturesque’ tourists encouraged the reshaping of gardens and  landscapes on country estates.

Capability Brown was often employed for garden redesigns and landowners began to follow the advice in William Gilpin gave in his book – for travelers to examine “the face of a country by the rules of picturesque beauty.

Extensive pleasure gardens, with irregular sight lines and prefabricated ruins of classical’ structures, were built all over England. These ideas were imitated in Europe and as far afield as the Americas, New Zealand and Australia.


Lithograph of Cremorne Gardens in 1862

Lithograph of Cremorne Gardens in 1862               (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So when Justin, Viscount Hawkesbury and the hero in The Viscount’s Pleasure House, needs money quickly to extend his search across Britain for his missing family, he opens the ‘Pleasure House’ on his own estate to the wealthy and bored upper classes of London. These men, and women, will pay anything and go anywhere to find different entertainment that will, for a few days at least, let them toss off their habitual state of ennui.

To Justin, his rich peers are plump pigeons, ripe for plucking. For three years he hosts lavish themed events at the Pleasure House with Arabian tents, harem dancers, and hot baths keeping these indolent aristocrats happy.

But for Justin, pleasure turns to disgust and he is eager to wave goodbye to that lifestyle. His plans, however, are thrown into disarray by the arrival of Lady Wellsby, a country-innocent widow, who is eager to learn as much as possible from London’s notorious Virile Viscount.

Viewing his Pleasure Gardens through Chrissie’s eyes reminds Justin of the beauty of his inheritance, whereas before he’d remembered only the cruelty of his father when he evicted Justin’s mother. Justin had imagined the estate was a means to find and retrieve his family, nothing more.

Gardens are meant to be enjoyed and their beauty slowly savored. Do you have any favorite gardens you visit to walk through and admire the beauty?


Want to read more about The Viscount’s Pleasure House?  The Viscount's Pleasure House

Please visit these places.

Crimson Romance ebooksAmazonB&N  – iTunesGoodreads

Bookworld AustraliaBarnes and NobleAll Romance

Want to read more of my historical research, especially around the late Regency and very early Victorian eras?

Please visit my website.

Or read my magazine – Suzi Love’s Web roundup –

Or read – Suzi Love’s Daily Gossip Newspaper –


Happy Anniversary

Yes, I’m that girl.  My boyfriend, now husband, and I had one of our first fights over an anniversary discussion.  The anniversary of our first date.  He told this chick it wasn’t an anniversary if we weren’t married.  She promptly told me.

Fight ensued. I won.


But we’re not here to talk about my love life, its books and writing that brings everyone together on Ladies in Red.  And for 24 of us, our lives changed June 4th, 2012, the day we debuted with Crimson.

Now for some of us, the Crimson launch wasn’t their first rodeo in the publishing world.  But for me, The Bull Rider’s Brother was my first full length manuscript I sold.  And being the first, it’s kind of special to me. I love the rural mountain setting.  I love the small town atmosphere and of course my characters.  And from that one book, two new stories, and possibly more, have arose.

Launch day wasn’t the end of a dream, it became the beginning.  Since June, I’ve sold six novella or longer length manuscripts, two essays to Chicken Soup, a short to Women’s World, and, had three in person signings.  I’ve participated in several blog hops, and I’ve seen my work available in libraries in Canada and sold books in the United Kingdom.  My work has gone international, even though I’ve never left the states.  (grin)  I may not be a full time writer, but I am an author.  And I love my new job.

So Ladies in Red and LIR readers, what’s the best thing that’s happened to you in the last six months?

Research—not just for school papers…

My second novel, The Spanish Acquisition is now available from Crimson Romance, and so as a public service I am outlining for all aspiring writers the process required in penning such a marvelous opus. First off, I cannot stress too emphatically the importance of detailed research. Often people assume that if you are writing fiction in the present time, research is not required.


In a way, research may be more necessary in contemporary fiction as every reader will be personally acquainted with the lore, costumes and mores of your chosen period. Try putting a Justin Bieber quote into the nineties or a Duran Duran song into 2012 and you’ll know just what I’m talking about. But some research can be a matter of checking your memory bank for personal experiences. In my new novel, the heroine, Lily, is a sculptor living in Brooklyn and attending The Arts Students League in Manhattan. Coincidently, I have relatives living in Brooklyn and attending that art school. I tried welding and clay sculpture there myself but, although it was enjoyable, I never developed any artistic ability.

So where, you’re asking, does my much vaunted research come in? Well, I’m a gonna tell you. In my many years in the dating/cohabiting and everything in between stages, I have never actually dated a tall, dark stranger—or at least not a man with dark curly hair and brown eyes. How could I possibly write a romance with such an exotic creature? I needed to rectify this conundrum.

An advertisement in the Georgia Straight, the newspaper popular in the hip West End of Vancouver, yielded many responses most of which I either did not understand or—if photographs were included—shocked the bejeesus out of me. Some of those position and body parts looked painful, if not highly implausible. And although I was quickly alerted to the many varieties of tall, dark and curly, I didn’t feel the respondents particularly helpful.

I switched to an on-line dating service. There I was introduced to another assortment of men my age. One of the things that struck me immediately with this group, is that older men seemed more interested in talking and less in helping with my, er, physical research. After a certain age, the female body part most attractive to men becomes the ear. Could I listen to one more diatribe about the ex-wife, the mother and how everyone at work was out to get him? It also becomes more difficult to find men with curly dark hair, or even hair, for research purposes.

So I set my target on the younger demographic of my heroic types. Holy doodle! What was I doing wrong in my younger years? It turns out there are a lot of brown haired, brown eyed men just dying to help out a diligent writer. In fact, there were so many, I almost didn’t have time to write my book.  It was a tough slog, but for the sake of my many readers, I persevered. And if I don’t get a Pulitzer for this book, then I don’t know what those judges are thinking.

In closing, regardless of whether or not The Spanish Acquisition garners rave reviews, I know that it is a far better book for my unselfish and thorough research. And that is a satisfying feeling for any writer. Hmm, maybe my next romance should be about George Clooney…


Available in e-books everywhere:  (for


When a multibillionaire business mogul from Barcelona meets a struggling art student from New York in the Dominican Republic, sparks fly. But can they overcome their differences and an odd case of mistaken identity?

On vacation in the Dominican Republic, Lily Scott meets the man of her dreams, and then some.  She’s astounded when he seems equally attracted to her. But after a whirlwind affair, she is devastated when he abruptly insults her and leaves.

Carlos adores Lily, the sweet, unassuming artist he meets on vacation, but then when his personal assistant informs him that she’s suing his company, he exacts revenge and then tries to move on. But can he?

To read more about Nora Snowdon and her other books, visit:


News and Coming Soon!


It’s been busy around my office these last couple of weeks. And by office, I mean my couch since that is where I do most of my writing. 🙂

First, I got back edits on STUCK ON YOU book 2 of my reality TV trilogy. It’s been a while since I read the story and it’s been so fun getting back into the swing of things with Paige and Miles. The chemistry between these two is gets pretty hot. There’s a couple of scenes that made me blush, and they weren’t even… ahem… you know. Whew! Let’s just say there’s a canoeing scene that may just be the hottest canoe ride you ever take. STUCK ON YOU is gearing up to release Feb 11th!!

Second, my editor at Crimson Romance just accepted my third book in the trilogy titled LOST WITHOUT YOU. It’s scheduled to release July 1st!! I can’t wait for you to read Zoe’s story. She isn’t who you think she is…


Have you the 1st in the series yet? FALLING FOR YOU is available everywhere right now and it’s getting some great reviews. I hope you’ll check it out before the next books in the series release!!

FallingForYou-HighResNewly single Cassidy Quinn is thrilled to be a contestant on the new reality dating show The One. But her excitement turns to horror when the gorgeous bachelor turns out to be her ex-boyfriend. Seeing Brad again makes Cassidy realize she might not be as “over him” as she thought—and then she meets hunky cameraman Evan Burke.

After watching his brother lose his wife in a tragic accident, Evan vows never to fall in love. But following Cassidy around as her personal cameraman makes him question his decision, and resisting her gets harder with every sunbathing, bikini-wearing day.

Cassidy and Evan begin a forbidden affair while her ex-boyfriend tries to win her heart back one groping, awkward moment at a time. If Cassidy can manage to stop falling off horses (literally), stop falling onto her ex-boyfriend, the bachelor (yes, literally), and stop falling in love with backstage playboy Evan, she might still make it through the show without becoming a tabloid sensation.

But soon Cassidy must choose between the ex who broke her heart and the cameraman who might never love her back. For Cassidy, this reality show just got real.

AMAZON            NOOK            CRIMSON ROMANCE              iTUNES

“Heather Thurmeier’s hunky heroes and feisty heroines will have you laughing out loud, falling in love … and coming back for more!” ~ Carly Phillips, NY Times Bestselling Author
“Heather Thurmeier writes sweet, funny romances that capture your heart!” –NYT and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Probst
Find out more about me and my books or just stop by to chat at:
WEBSITE          FACEBOOK            TWITTER           GOODREADS             PINTREST

Meet Lady In Red- Ashlyn Mathews

AshlynHi, my name is Ashlyn Mathews and it’s so nice to have the opportunity to introduce myself to romance readers. First off, is this my real name or a pseudonym? Born in Laos (Southeast Asia), I immigrated to the US as a refugee in the 70s, and after many years of having no middle name, I chose Ashlyn (an Irish name meaning dream) as my legal middle name. The last name of Mathews was picked because my husband’s first name is Matthew. Yes, I realize the humor in it now. He’d be introduced as Matt Mathews, lol. But he doesn’t mind. He understands my quirkiness. I made the choice to use a pen name for privacy reasons.

Let’s get the details out of the way:

Single, married, divorced, widowed? Married for 17 years.

Parent? Yes, four boys — a twelve-year-old, a ten-year-old and five-year-old twin boys.

Living where? I live in the Pacific Northwest with a view of Commencement Bay.

Doing what, other than writing? I’m a Registered Nurse and soccer mom.

One—just one—physical characteristic: Brown eyes

What’s your secret passion? My secret passion is to cry over a really good book or movie.

Tell us one thing about yourself you’d never change. I wouldn’t change my drive to achieve my dreams.

Why do you write romance novels? Romantic stories appeals to everyone on a basic level and of all the genres of fiction, romance is my favorite. So it was easy for me to choose romance as something I wanted to write about.

What did you cut from your book that felt like severing a body part? For my debut novel, Shadow Watcher, I had to remove characters I really loved and had planned to use in other books in the series. Over the year of writing Shadow Watcher, I had become attached to these characters and to see them not make it into the final version . . . well, I was very disappointed.  But my disappointment didn’t last because as an author and their “creator” I can still write their stories later down the road.

The best part about my writing life is: The world building of a paranormal romance and the complexity of the issues I can introduce in my contemporary romances.

The worst part about my writing life is: The countless hours and energy it takes to promote a book, especially for a debut author.

Give us a hint about what the next book’s like. My next book is a paranormal entitled, My Fallen, slated for a January 14th release date by Crimson Romance. It’s a bit dark yet sensual. I mean dark in that the hero kills for the heroine. And sensual because they do everything but the final act of consummating the relationship. The heroine believes a mutation in her blood cell will kill the hero should they have intercourse.

On that note, thank you for letting me share who Ashlyn Mathews is. If you want to know more about me or my books, go to, my blog, or follow me on twitter @ashlynmathews or “like” me on Facebook at

My Fallen Final CoverShadow Watcher

The Book Signing – A Little Advice

IMG_1994Hello All!

So nice to see you!  I know I’ve been away awhile, but I’ve been so so busy with all the book release adventures and trekking through Promoland.

I have stopped in today to give a few pieces of advice on The Book Signing.

This is not the normal advice you’ll hear about what to wear or what to give to the book store owner.  This is more of what not to do.

#1 Not to do.

Don’t stay up late to paint your fingernails.

But, if you do, only have one color on your table where you’re working.  I have two colors that are very similar.  They resemble the glittery ruby slippers Dorothy wore in The Wizard of Oz.  One is really a hot pink with glitter and the other is the genuine red ruby color.  I love them. They are so fun!  However, it was 3:30 a.m. when I was brushing the glittery paint on my nails.  My left hand is hot pink.  My right is the ruby glitter.

#2 Not to do.

Don’t try new hair products on the day of the signing.

I have naturally curly hair.  I have to use very specific products in my hair so it doesn’t frizz out!  Especially, if it is humid or raining. Well, a few days before the signing I was running out of what I normally use.  The store had run out too. Yes, I know, but I do live in Montana.  🙂  So I picked up a new “flavor.”  That morning, the new item turned my hair white–momentarily–but I still panicked a little.  It rained all day.  By the time I got home, my hair was an embarrassment!

#3 Not to do.

Don’t forget the lipstick.

I keep my lipstick in my purse.  I took my wallet out of my purse so I wouldn’t have to carry that extra bag.  My lovely husband even asked me, “Do you have your lipstick?”  Of course, I responded and left for town.  Luckily, I stopped to buy roses for the bookstore owner and realized, I had no lipstick.  The dear lady at the floral counter helped me pick a color that would be good for my skin and the clothes I wore that day.  Wild!

Can this day get any more crazy!!!!

It turned out to be a wonderful day.  My fellow Crimson Romance Sisters & Montana Romance Writers and I had a wonderful time.

Thank you Fact & Fiction in Missoula, Montana for such a fabulous day!

IMG_1992Casey Dawes, Danica Winters, Pam B. Morris, Rionna Morgan

And thank you to you for sharing in my laughter.

…Do you have any book signing advice?

Sweet Gone South & Alicia Hunter Pace

sweetfinalcoverWe are very excited to be here for our first post on the Ladies in Red blog. We have both really enjoyed reading everyone’s posts and feel fortunate to be part of the Crimson team with the release of our debut book, Sweet Gone South.

Our series is set in a small Alabama town called Merritt. The books feature the stories of four women who form a book club. Like many book clubs these women sometimes talk about books but more often spend their time together catching  up with each other about the highs and lows of their lives. In fact, in one of the books one of the men  says they should call the club, “The Drink Wine,Gossip and Eat Club” rather than a book club. The women in the book club discover that through life’s ups and downs the women of the book club are there for each other.  These women support each other through pregnancies, adoptions, marriages, and, of course, break ups. They learn that although they each bring strengths to the group that  together they have a wonderful bond that simply can’t be beaten!

Have you ever been part of a circle of friends that made you stronger than you were alone?