Cheltenham author uncovers the town’s fascinating past in new historical novel

If you loved Bridgerton, escape to Regency Cheltenham and discover the town’s unexplored history in Taking the Waters, a new historical novel by local author, Lesley Sainty.

By Annabel Lammas  |  Published
Lesley Saintys debut historical novel takes readers back to Regency Cheltenham.
Lesley Sainty’s debut historical novel takes readers back to Regency Cheltenham.

Delve into Cheltenham’s fascinating Regency past, which takes centre stage in a new historical novel by resident author, Lesley Sainty.

First published in November 2020, Lesley’s debut novel, Taking the Waters was inspired by her passion for Cheltenham’s rich – and largely unexplored – history and untold stories.

The novel is set in 1827 at the height of its Regency boom and the peak of its popularity among wealthy visitors, who would flock to Gloucestershire for the spa town’s pleasures and healing spring waters.

Based on real events, places and characters, Taking the Waters tells the story of Alice Elliot, an unmarried glove trade heiress, who arrives in Cheltenham to find herself caught between two powerful men.

Alice catches the eye of the formidable Reverend Francis Cole, who seeks a wealthy partner to further his philanthropic aims; as well as the aristocratic rogue, Colonel Buckley, who represents pleasure and excess – everything the reverend hates.

Taking readers back to a time when Cheltenham Races took place on Cleeve Hill, the iconic event is embroiled in drama and scandal as the reverend attempts to dispel the races from the town.

Bookworms can pick up a copy of Taking the Waters from The Suffolks Anthology or Waterstones in Cheltenham. Or, if you simply can’t wait for stores to reopen, it’s also available on Amazon as a paperback or eBook Kindle Edition.

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