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One day Jemma discovers an ivory rose charm. As she touches it she sees a terrifying flashback. Is it the moment the ghost girl was murdered? Jemma runs away but tumbles down the stairs.

She wakes up in , unable to get home. Marli sneaks into the locked garden to explore, and meets Luca, a boy who has his own connection to Riversleigh. A peacock hatbox, a box camera and a key on a velvet ribbon provide clues to what happened long ago. In , Violet is fifteen. Her life is one of privilege, with boating parties, picnics and extravagant balls.

Over one summer, Violet must decide what is important to her. Who will her sister choose to marry? And what breathtaking secret is Nikolai hiding? Download an Extract. There is something totally fascinating about walled gardens and abandoned houses. The cheeky robin, who helped show the way into the garden, inspired my fairy wren. More recently, I have explored this beautiful city on multiple trips, visiting old mansions and gardens; wandering the streets, laneways and markets; and eating food from many different cultural backgrounds including Vietnamese, Chinese, Italian, Greek, French and Russian.

It is one of my favourite cities in the world! The Lost Sapphire , is set in Melbourne during the fabulous roaring s. It was originally inspired by a couple of experiences where I was taken to visit some beautiful historic mansions, which had been abandoned. With both houses I immediately began wondering about the people who had lived there and why the mansion might have been abandoned. Then suddenly I seemed to stumble across several derelict houses, all with fascinating stories.

With all of my time slip books, I am fascinated by the idea of exploring the past, and learning lessons which can help us understand our own time and issues more clearly. The Lost Sapphire is set in the Roaring 20s in Melbourne — a fascinating time where the world shifted. It was also a time where prejudices ran strong. Intolerance of Anglicans versus Catholics. Suspicion and fear of different cultural, social or religious practises. Yet Australian society was very much made up of refugees seeking a better life — whether those fleeing poverty in Ireland or Italy or Scotland, or those fleeing war-torn Europe or the Russian Revolution.

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Research is a huge part of my planning for the books. I can spend months reading old newspapers, magazines, advertisements, history books, diaries, articles on the internet, books written during the s, biographies, letters, and memoirs. I also try to understand the culture of the period by watching historic film clips and home movies and listening to music.

Trove, the on-line archive of the National Library of Australia is a fantastic research tool. For this book, I also went to Melbourne to visit historic houses, museums, exhibitions of fashion and clothes, old factories, and ensure that my setting was as accurate as possible. Life in Melbourne during the s was brought to life by newspaper articles, film clips and memoirs of wealthy debutantes, factory workers, and servants.

My protagonist from is Violet Hamilton, a fifteen year old girl, whose mother is dead and whose father is distant, stubborn and conservative. Violet must decide what is important to her and to stand up for what she believes in. Download a recipe for Russian Sharlotka Cake.

Download a recipe for Russian Tea Biscuits. Why does she own such a cheap piece? The mystery deepens when the brooch hurtles Claire back in time to Claire finds herself stranded in a circus camp. The Great Depression has made life difficult, but Claire befriends performers Rosina and Jem, and a boy called Kit who watches the show every night.

But Claire wonders who Kit and Rosina really are. One is escaping poverty and the other is escaping wealth — can the two find happiness together? I have always been fascinated by circuses. One of my earliest memories is visiting The Great Moscow Circus with my father and being entranced by the performing bears As a vet, Dad was called out to treat one of the Russian bears when the circus first came to Australia.

I remember as a teenager trying to teach myself bareback circus tricks on my pony and getting thrown off multiple times.

Books in the Belinda Murrell Timeslip Books series - Wheelers Books

Over the years I managed to break several bones attempting fancy tricks on horseback. So I have wanted to write a story about an old fashioned circus for a long time. The s seemed like an ideal time to set it because it was a very harsh period in Australian history. Yes, it is important for me to actually visit the places where I set my books or as close as I can get to it so I can create a very vivid and detailed setting.

Lots of the fans who write to me tell me that one of the things that they love about my books is that the detail is so realistic that when they are reading the book, they feel like they are really there.

The River Charm by Belinda Murrell

For my research, I visited the Great Moscow Circus, taking lots of photographs around the lot and chatting to the circus people. I also took my daughter to visit Cavalia when it was touring Australia. We were lucky enough to meet several of the performers and talk to them about life on the road, training, their passion for horses and trick riding. It was a fascinating experience. Lots of my books have been inspired by my family, and at first I thought that this book was not. However halfway through writing and researching the book, we made an amazing discovery.

He eloped with a gorgeous young girl called Gertrude and together they travelled all over the world to Asia, India, Africa and America. They developed an aerial equilibrist act which included doing handstands on the back of a chair, balanced on a tightrope high above the ground. My father-in-law Lee told me stories about watching Max perform tricks at family parties. Could the ghost girl Millie has painted be her own ancestor? The river pebble charm has an astonishing story to tell….

In , Charlotte Atkinson lives on a grand estate with her mamma and her sisters and brother. But after her father dies, things go terribly wrong — murderous convicts, marauding bushrangers and a cruel new stepfather. The family flees on horseback to a hut in the wilderness. They must fight to save their property, their independence and even their right to stay together.

Belinda Murrell talks about THE RUBY TALISMAN

Will they ever return to their beautiful home? When I was about 10 years old my grandparents took me on a journey. We drove down to the Southern Highlands past Moss Vale. We bumped along a rough, dirt road until we came to a grand old sandstone house. The house was surrounded by overgrown gardens and looked neglected and forlorn.

It looked like something out of a fairytale — romantic, forgotten by time, a little forbidding. The house was called Oldbury. My grandparents took me there to show me the grand estate which had been built by my great-great-great-great grandparents James and Charlotte Atkinson in While we were there and many times in subsequent years, they told me stories about the Atkinson family. They were fascinating, romantic stories of adventure, bravery, tragedy, determination and defiance.

The River Charm is a very special book to me, because it is based on the true life adventures of my great-great-great grandmother, Charlotte Atkinson. Set in Australia, during the s, it is the story of a family who lost everything but fought against almost insurmountable odds to regain their independence and their right to be together as a family. Charlotte was born into a wealthy family at Oldbury, a grand estate in the bush. But after her father dies, her mother is left to raise four young children on her own.

A young widow was a tempting target — from murderous convicts, violent bushrangers and worst of all, a cruel new stepfather. Fearing for their lives, the family flees on horseback to a remote hut in the wilderness. The Atkinson family must fight to save everything they hold dear. I wanted to write this book to tell the story of this fascinating family, but also to highlight some of the forgotten stories of women in Australian history and the important roles they played in the development of our culture and nation.

It was about two years. My sister Kate Forsyth and I were asked to speak at many school events and festivals about this unusual family of writers. There were several writers in the Atkinson family, who published many books and articles between and Coincidentally, there are still many writers in my family including my sister Kate Forsyth and my brother Nick Humphrey. We discovered that children were absolutely fascinated by these family stories. There was a huge amount of research. It took months. Writing the book was like solving a very complex jigsaw puzzle, when many of the pieces had been hidden in the mists of time.

It was both incredibly exciting and also sometimes frustrating when I found conflicting information or had to guess at what might have happened. Fortunately, because the family were writers there were plenty of primary sources. There were also many contemporary newspapers articles, legal documents and letters as well as modern books written about the family.

I loved discovering so much about the incredible courage and determination that my ancestors showed. That is all based on true events and true places. After immersing myself in the book for about a year, I had the opportunity to visit the grand old house called Oldbury which was built by my 4 x great grandparents.

I went with my sister Kate and my mother Gilly. We walked through the front gate and I burst into tears, totally overwhelmed by the emotion of visiting this amazing place. One of my most exciting discoveries was a journal written in by Charlotte Waring my 4 x-great grandmother which is now held in the National Library. It was amazing to read her handwritten account of her voyage to Australia. The journal covers just a short few weeks but during this time she left her family and homeland for ever, and met her future husband James Atkinson.

There is a description of a terrifying storm which nearly destroyed their ship. Charlotte was swept away by a huge wave, and with her heavy petticoats was pulled under the water. James Atkinson leapt to her rescue, saved her and tenderly wrapped her in his cloak. The ship survived the storm and James proposed. They had only known each other for three weeks.

I also read a letter written by her daughter Charlotte which listed the fascinating items which James Atkinson brought out on that journey with him — including a fine stallion, several dogs, plus white lillies in glass topped boxes for his garden. Like my family, the Atkinson family loved animals and raised many orphan creatures including a pet koala, wallabies and baby possums. When Chloe visits her grandmother, she learns how close war came to destroying her family.

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