The Queen’s Barque Inn is the fictional Inn found in the fictional English village of Fenwick on Sea setting for all eight stories of the Bluestocking Belles’ newest Regency Romance boxset, Storm & Shelter. My personal contribution is titled Wait for Me—but more about that later. For this collection, we needed a public place, like an inn, located on the east coast of England a bit south of Great Yarmouth. This area of England often experiences heavy storms from the North Sea. Storms of a strength and ferocity that would cause shipwrecks, flooding and property damage, making travel by both land and sea difficult, if not impossible. Hence the creation of both village, Fenwick on Sea, and inn, The Queen’s Barque.
As our story opens, we discover that the village, which dates back to the early middle ages, was once a prosperous and busy harbor town. However, it has fallen on hard times, since the settlement of Great Yarmouth to the north and the choice by the royal navy of that younger metropolis as a location for a naval shipyard and harbor.
3. The Queen’s Barque has shared the fate of Fenwick on Sea. In its heyday the inn received a royal commendation from Queen Elizabeth I for quality of service and accommodations. The faded document still hangs on the wall, where customers can see the source of the inn’s name and its pride. That the finish of the wainscotting where the commendation hangs is scarred and peeling does not seem to matter to anyone but the inn’s newest owner—he was born there and inherited the inn some years ago.
4. Mr. Brewster, is full of hope and ideas for restoring the inn and bringing new business to Fenwick on Sea. He’s witnessed the success of places like Bath and thinks he and his fellow Fenwickians can restore the village to its former glory by advertising it as the newest and best location for sea bathing. To that end, Brewster invited a reporter from the infamous gossip rag, The Teatime Tattler, to reside at The Queen’s Barque for several weeks and, while there, discover the best to be had at Fenwick on Sea. The reporter’s free lodging and meals are in exchange for the glowing articles said reporter will write about the inn and town.
5. Before the reporter can complete the work, the storm hits. Roads leading to Fenwick on Sea and the Queen’s Barque are flooded and near to impassable. At least two ships have run aground and wrecked at the mouth of the harbor, preventing all departures and arrivals from that direction. Travelers caught in the storm and unable to proceed to their destinations have no choice but to seek shelter at the rundown inn that is under renovation, The Queen’s Barque. Among those travelers are an Earl and his new wife, a schoolteacher and several of her young students, a spy or two, a pirate traveling incognito, and assorted lords and ladies. It is in a word—or two—a gossip reporter’s heaven. So, to best snoop on the inn’s noble patrons, the reporter goes undercover as an employee. Or was it a resident of Fenwick on Sea? I deliberately can’t recall, because there will be prize offered to the reader who can identify the reporter. (Details about this give away, will be announced at a future event and on the FB group The Belles Brigade. If you’d like to learn more about The Teatime Tattler, visit this link.