Blog Tour - Elin Gregory - The Eleventh Hour
Many thanks for inviting me here to talk about my recent release, Eleventh Hour. Its 1928 setting is not as long ago as the settings of some of my previous books and has many of the trappings of modern society but it still depicts a way of life that is very different to our own.
Plumbing for instance! Not very romantic, is it, but in the 20s when London was growing by leaps and bounds, steps had to be taken to ensure that the working population remained clean and healthy. Clean water and the ability to bathe had been recognised as essentials to prevent another epidemic, such as the outbreak of cholera that killed millions in the 1890s. Again, not really the stuff that romances are made of but this concern led to the building of amazing suites of baths – swimming baths, personal baths, steam rooms and Turkish baths. Some were utilitarian but others were beautiful temples to hygiene.
This magnificent structure is the Grange Road public baths, opened in Bermondsey in 1927, designed both to serve the local community and the travellers who were passing through the city – business men, sailors on shore leave, itinerant workers. It was a home from home, where one could use the baths and showers, swim in one of two pools, get a shampoo and massage, purchase food and drink, wash your clothes and even get a bed for the night.
Grange Road and many others like it became the cautious playground for men who enjoyed the company of other men. Even the small steam rooms offered opportunities for casual pick-ups but the larger baths became places of rendezvous. In the warm steamy environment where casual nudity was legitimate there was the opportunity to ‘window shop’ and the heavy clouds of steam offered a little privacy, or for a few shillings there were the curtained cubicles with beds.
The bath house culture still exists today though the emphasis has changed from hygiene plus the opportunity to play, to play pure and simple, but I very much doubt that the architecture or the interior decoration are as beautifully presented.
Release Date: August 1 2016
Length: 68,000 words/248 pages
Borrowed from the Secret Intelligence Service cipher department to assist Briers Allerdale - a field agent returning to 1920s London with news of a dangerous anarchist plot - Miles Siward moves into a "couples only" boarding house, posing as Allerdale's "wife". Miles relishes the opportunity to allow his alter ego, Millie, to spread her wings but if Miles wants the other agent's respect he can never betray how much he enjoys being Millie now how attractive he finds Allerdale.
Pursuing a ruthless enemy who wants to throw Europe back into the horrors of the Great War, Briers and miles are helped and hindered by nosy landladies, Water Board officials, suave gentlemen representing foreign powers and their own increasing attraction to each other.
Will they catch their quarry? Will they find love? Could they hope for both?
The clock is ticking.
Elin Gregory lives in South Wales and works in a museum in a castle built on the edge of a Roman Fort! She reckons that's a pretty cool job.
Elin usually writes on historical subjects, and enjoys weaving the weird and wonderful facts she comes across in her research into her plots. She likes her heroes hard as nails but capable of tenderness when circumstances allow. Often they are in danger, frequently they have to make hard choices, but happy endings are always assured.
Current works in progress include one set during the Great War, another in WW2, one set in the Dark Ages and a series of contemporary romances set in a small town on the Welsh border.
Promotional post. Materials provided by