Taking the Waters
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Lesley Sainty's first novel is inspired by her passion for Cheltenham history and a desire to tell the untold stories of the Cotswold town’s fascinating past. She lives in Cheltenham and has written historical articles for Cotswold Life magazine.
It is 1827: the height of Cheltenham’s Regency boom. The wealthy and the fashionable flock to the Cotswold town for its many pleasures and the healing powers of the spring waters.
The unmarried glove trade heiress Alice Elliot has never experienced much of life, and never expected to. But on her arrival in Cheltenham she is thrown into a confusing world where she finds she has to make a choice between pleasure and excess or charity and religion. Alice encounters the formidable Reverend Francis Cole: a passionate and pioneering clergyman who dominates his congregation and courts those with fortune to further his philanthropic aims. The beautiful Alice also catches the eye of the town’s most aristocratic rogue Colonel Buckley. He stands for everything the Reverend hates and wants to dispel from the town, including the famous Cheltenham Races.
Caught up in the lives and struggles of these powerful men, Alice witnesses one of Cheltenham’s most dramatic periods when power and protest dominate. Will she be swayed by persuasion or find her own way?