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 –



  1. Fascinating, Suzi. Thank you!
    -R.T. Wolfe

    • Thanks so much for dropping in and reading my post.
      Much appreciated.
      Suzi Love

  2. Wow! What an intriguing concept! I didn’t realize these existed, although Scott Westerfeld talks about them in his Uglies, Pretties, Specials, and Extras books. (These are great, by the way.)

    I love Shaw’s Garden, which is The Botanical Garden in St. Louis. I think we’ve sort of lost the magic of gardening, and the kind of gardens you can stroll through.

    Love the concept for your book, Suzi! Best of luck with your release!

    • MJ, Thanks for sharing another great garden. I’ve never been to St Louis but if,when rather, I do I’ll make sure I visit Shaw’s Garden.

  3. Wonderful post.

  4. Ella, Thanks for dropping by.
    I hope you’ve entered the Crimson contest as I know you’ve read The Viscount’s Pleasure House and in the US so you’re eligible.

  5. Interesting post, Suzi. I love Japanese gardens…the peace and slowing down of time as you pass through them. I recommend Suzi’s book to those who haven’t sampled its contents :-).

    • Joanna,
      I agree. Japanese gardens are always so lovely, so tranquil. And thanks so much for the lovely words about my book. So pleased you enjoyed it.

  6. Very informative and an insights I hadn’t thought about. I have read The Viscount’s Pleasure House and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    • Natasha,
      Thanks so much for dropping by and reading about the gardens. And I’m thrilled that you also enjoyed my book. I’d love it if you had time to post a short review somewhere. Thanks.

  7. Wanted to also wish everyone a Happy New Year. Hope 2013 is a wonderful year for all.

  8. […] Pleasure Gardens by Suzi Love. […]

  9. OMG, I love the premise of your book, and I applaud you for your research! Great work, Suzi!

    • Susan,
      Thanks for the compliments. Hope you enjoy reading the book.

  10. Your book sounds wonderful, Suzi. I’m adding it to my tbr list right now!
    I love to garden. I love the smell of the earth, the simplicity of watching a seed grow and the complexity of design. One of my great pleasures is to write by my garden in the summer. I have many friends who appreciate a garden and often walk through them together. Near Toronto, we have the Royal Botanical gardens, which are just lovely.

    • Sharon,
      Your gardens sound wonderful too. Hope I get to visit them some day.
      Hope you enjoy my book.

  11. Hi, Suzi. 🙂 My favourite gardens are Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia.

    Though now I wonder if I’ll ever be able to walk through a garden and not wonder what Justin might plan for it! 🙂

    • Sandra,
      I wanted to visit the Butchart Gardens but unfortunately when we were in Victoria it was snowing, heavily, so there were no gardens to see.

  12. […] Pleasure Gardens by Suzi Love ( […]

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