is for Kearton Bay, which is the fictional setting for There Must Be An Angel and the other three novels in the series. Kearton Bay was inspired by the real-life village of Robin Hood’s Bay, which nestles on the North Yorkshire coast, some five or six miles south of Whitby.
I first visited there when I was fifteen. We were staying in a lovely bungalow in Stainsacre, just outside Whitby, and every day we would visit somewhere different in the area. Robin Hood’s Bay was just about the first place we went to, because my parents had heard how lovely it was. They weren’t wrong. Even at the age of fifteen, when my head was full of Saturday Night Fever, the music of the Bee Gees, and the fabulous moves and flashing blue eyes of John Travolta, I was entranced by the place – a former fishing village and once a stronghold for smuggling in the area. It was romantic, historical and stunning, and the memory of that visit stayed with me for years.
When my own children were small I took them there. It was a very different experience! I had five of them to cope with; the middle and youngest of my boys were very young at the time and to say they were lively would be an epic understatement. They spotted a shop half way down the main road to the sea, which had a basket of plastic swords outside. They grabbed a sword each and began a duel that the Musketeers would have been proud of. I was so busy trying to wrestle them apart without damaging the swords – while reassuring my elder daughter that she wasn’t having an asthma attack, it was just a very steep hill, and assuring my youngest daughter that we’d be getting something to eat very soon, while ignoring my eldest son as he sulked in a shop doorway, accusing us all of showing him up – that I didn’t really get much chance to absorb the beauty of the place at all.
Yet, it stuck in my mind, and years later it came back to me when I was looking for a setting for my series of novels. I’d considered lots of different places – Glastonbury, the Yorkshire Dales, Cornwall…None of them seemed quite right, somehow. And then, the image of that pretty little bay, those red roofed cottages, that steep, winding road, flashed into my mind. And I knew. And Robin Hood’s Bay became Kearton Bay.
It hadn’t. It was even more enchanting than I remembered, and I could visualise my characters living their lives there so easily. The scene was set.
Last year, having finished book one and started work on the second of the series, I headed back to Robin Hood’s Bay and strolled around the village, having a drink at a local cafe, browsing the shops, mingling with the crowds. I confess I got quite tearful and emotional. I could almost imagine Eliza and Gabriel stepping out of their cottage, see Rhiannon in the doorway of the pub, and watch Lexi and Eddie walking up and down the sands with their herd of donkeys. I could almost hear the arguments drifting from Pinky’s cafe, as Rose and Fuchsia had one of their famous spats, and the click click of Sophie’s skyscraper heels on the pavement.
Kearton Bay is purely fictional, and the names of all the characters and businesses there are from imagination only. But visit Robin Hood’s Bay, soak up the atmosphere, wallow in the beauty of the place for yourself, and you’ll understand why it was the setting I chose for my novels.
You can read more about Robin Hood’s Bay for yourself here.
Have a great day xx
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