Somewhere inside of me is a Lady of the Manor desperate to get out. But she is kept hidden away because I am not
b) From the past
c) Part of the English aristocracy
Now my actual home is lovely, comfortable and well-appreciated. But every now and then I just want a little more. Whilst my dream home continues to elude me in reality, here are four fictional dwellings I can return to whenever I so choose.
1 Manderley in Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
A manor house by the sea with extensive lands and breathtaking views, from one wing you can take in the impressive rose gardens and from another you can see the sea. A long sweeping drive means your privacy is well protected but when you are feeling social why not make use of the ballroom and invite the entire neighbourhood round for a night of decadence and dancing.
Yes, the house is haunted by the memory of a woman too vivacious for her death to lessen her influence, but although the woman’s morality is dubious her interior design is beyond reproach.
2.Angelfield in The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Angelfield is another Manor house, of less renown than Manderley but just as full of mystery. It’s a fixer-up-er. The last owners allowed the house to sink to a hovel as they neglected house keeping in order to pursue darker inclinations. But all the elements are there to make the house a stunning home. Angelfield includes an impressive library, topiary gardens and a warm, inviting kitchen. Plus the house comes with two amazing staff members whose loyalty and love kept a family together when everything else was falling apart.
3. Misselthwaite Manor in The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The secret garden alone is enough to win me over, but add it’s settings of the bleak but beautiful Yorkshire Moors and I am convinced that this is the place for me. This manor house boasts secret passages and intricate tapestries. Strong and imposing, like it’s inhabitants, the house is strong willed and needs some tender nurturing to warm it’s heart and turn it from a tomb of memories into a living home. Perfect for those who love a challenge.
4. Rose Red in The Diary of Ellen Rimbaurer by Ridley Pearson
If you ever grow tired of English countryside, then shame on you. But as I am feeling generous there is a beautiful manor house we can escape to across the pond in Seattle. Rose Red might be in haunted and in essence, evil, kidnapping women and killing men at regular intervals but her whimsical architecture remains quite charming nonetheless.
From the stained glass window in the tower folly to the exotic delights in the solarium, Rose Red is full of surprises. And as the house is constantly rebuilding herself you will never be bored inside of her walls. Which is just as well because if she takes a shine to you, you may never leave!
Manor houses in literature may be enchanting and beautiful but they nearly always come with a massive there’s-a-mad-wife-in-the-attic type catch. Alas Stately homes do not seem to produce happy families in literature but they do inspire fascinating stories.