The House behind Thornton Park

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When I first thought of writing The Dragon Sleeps and needed a grand house for the Thornton’s family home, Werribee Park and mansion in Victoria came to mind. I’d first visited it years earlier and always intended to include a house like it into a story. 

I thought you might like to read something about the house behind my Thornton Park.

Werribee Park is approximately 10 hectares of manicured gardens and native woodland. There is Werribee Mansion, which is next to the Victorian State Rose Garden, and also Werribee Open Range Zoo.

Many people think that Australia’s history is not as rich as England’s or Europe‘s and that we don’t have grand houses and gardens. They haven’t seen Werribee Park. 

Scottish brothers Thomas and Andrew Chirnside, built the Italianate styled mansion over three years, from 1874 to 1877. They had made their fortune in Australia’s developing agricultural industry, so had the wealth to construct such an elaborate residence. 

It’s intriguing to note that there was a romantic triangle here. Some years earlier, Thomas had proposed marriage to Andrew’s wife Mary, who was also their first cousin. The mansion was built by the brothers for Mary, who held both their hearts.

It is sad that Thomas committed suicide in 1887 from depression. Andrew died in 1890. Werribee Park was left to Andrew and Mary’s children, with Mary residing in it for the remainder of her life. 

In 1923 the property was sold to the Roman Catholic Bishops of Australia, where it became a seminary, a place of reflection and spiritual development, named Corpus Christi College.

Today, the mansion is open to the public. It also has an adjoining hotel and spa. Visitors can experience the grandeur of Werribee Mansion, discover Victoria’s unique pastoral history down at the farm and homestead, or have a picnic on the Great lawn surrounded by stunning formal gardens.

It’s located 30 minutes from Melbourne by car.

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Mrs Preston’s Kitchen

Thank you to Michael Chrobak for inviting me to write a guest post for his blog.

Please visit his link below.

https://eatingwrite.weebly.com/guest-blogs/mrs-prestons-kitchen

Merry Christmas and Season’s Greetings to Everyone

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You may wonder why I have a wombat in my photo. This is Waddles. I bought him in Daylesford when I was researching my next book. So what does a wombat have to do with a cozy murder mystery?

My next book, the second in The Thornton Mysteries is set in Daylesford, Victoria, Australia, where the Thorntons have a holiday home. It isn’t as grand as Thornton Park but it’s a large house set into the side of Wombat Hill. There’s the clue. Daylesford, in its gold mining days, was called Wombat.

I first went to Daylesford about ten years ago. It’s set in the Macedon Ranges and is a favourite spa town. The area is known for its mineral springs. Mt Franklin, which most Australians know of, is about a twenty minute drive away.

The Thornton’s home is Wombat Hill Manor, and just as I did with Thornton Park, I based Wombat Hill Manor on a real building. It was initially built as a private residence and later sold to the Catholic Church as a Convent.

It’s now The Convent Gallery, beautifully restored as an art gallery and restaurant/cafe. If you go to Daylesford, I recommend going there. It’s about a one hour drive from Melbourne and worth the trip.

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I’ve been to Daylesford twice this year, the first time to do research for my book. The second time was after I finished my first draft and I wanted to check on some details.

This year has been a busy one. The two trips to Daylesford. A trip to Adelaide and the Barossa Valley, which besides being a wonderful holiday, was also research for book three. For those who don’t know, the Barossa Valley in South Australia is famous for it’s wineries. I’ll be starting book 3 early in the new year. You’ll remember from reading The Dragon Sleeps that Benedict’s family own a vineyard in South Australia. There’s a hint about book three.

I’ve not long returned from a trip to Hawaii. It was another fabulous holiday with my family. I thought I can’t go to such a location and not write a book set there. I didn’t have any ideas for a story when I arrived but I had the start of Book 4 before I left. My dilemma was why would the Thorntons want to go to Hawaii. Book two is set in 1928. Book three in 1928 also. So why in 1929 would they want to travel so far? The reason came to me. I was so pleased! Originally, I intended writing three books but now book four is on the schedule.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends and I wish you a Happy New Year.

A Cup of Conversation: Soulla Christodoulou talks with Ellen Read author of The Dragon Sleeps

I was recently asked to do an interview for Soulla Christodoulou’s new series, A Cup of Conversation.

Thank you so much, Soulla.

You can read it here

 

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The House That Inspired Me.

 

Thornton Park is the Thornton family home and is where the mystery takes place in my book The Dragon Sleeps.

It’s a murder mystery set in the late 1920s.

A Dragon statue. An ancient sword. What treasure is worth killing for?

Alexandra Thornton is determined to discover how these things are connected to the antiques her great-grandfather brought with him from Hong Kong so many years ago. What secret has remained hidden for the last eighty years?

Photos:
Top left is the main hall, the others are of the drawing room. Far right is my book.

These photos are of the real house that inspired me – Werribee Mansion in Victoria.

You can go through the mansion if you’re visiting Melbourne or Victoria. It’s definitely a worthwhile day.

Review: The Dragon Sleeps by Ellen Read — Cookie Break

I was so thrilled to receive this wonderful review. Please read on!

“A Dragon statue. An ancient sword. What treasure is worth killing for? It’s 1927 in Victoria, Australia. A hedonistic time after the Great War when young people knew they could enjoy life without the threat of war hanging over them. A time when women have more options opened to them. There is a weekend house…

via Review: The Dragon Sleeps by Ellen Read — Cookie Break

The Dragon Sleeps – 5 Star Review on Amazon

I was so thrilled to receive this fantastic 5 Star Review on Amazon from Charlie Edwards.

Thank you so much.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

As a huge fan of Agatha Christie and the other masters of crime I went into this book with high expectations and I’m happy to say that those expectations were exceeded! Set in the grandiose estate of Thornton House and taking place in the heart of the antiques trade of the 1920s, The Dragon Sleeps is a clever little novel that keeps you guessing throughout and which is equal parts murder mystery as it is a charming look into the past.

One of the aspects that really stood out for me was Read’s use of music and other well researched parts of the history that brought the 20s setting to life. I found myself googling various pieces of music she mentioned, letting them play as I read the book so that I could fully plunge myself into the story and experience what her characters were enjoying at the same time, an interesting experience which really added to the charm of the book as a whole.

The characters are full of vitality and believable, and the relationship between Lexy and Edie in particular was really charming to experience, not to mention the smooth suave of the ever charming Benedict whom I’m sure is the sort of man that no woman could find fault with.

The mystery itself is well researched and cleverly put together, and of course I won’t spoil it but the solution is not as straightforward as you would initially presume – the twists and turns keep the novel going exactly as a murder mystery should.

An enchanting and engaging novel that sets the stage for murder and intrigue with aplomb, I can’t wait to read more of what Ellen Read has to offer – here’s hoping she is writing more!

 

 

YouTube for Authors

My latest news is that I’m on YouTube. I have four videos up. One is a channel trailer. The other three are trailers for my book The Dragon Sleeps.

Please go and have a look.

If you’re an author and like the idea for yourself, please let me know. We can follow each other.

 

The Dragon Sleeps – 5 Star Review

I was so thrilled to receive this wonderful  5 Star Review on Goodreads  from

walkingfortheloveofbooks

Thank you so very much. Reviews are so important to writers, even just a word or two is sufficient to raise the book through the levels to best seller lists.

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It was amazing

The Dragon Sleep is set in the 1920s – Australia.

Alexandra Thornton is 21 years old and loves historic objects, because of her passion, she is interested in working in her Dads antique shop – Thornton Antiques.

Alexandra lives in Thornton Park and lives on the family estate. A zoo is also attached to the estate with kangaroos, wallabies, etc.

A mystery murder takes place in Thornton Park and Alexandra takes it upon herself to try and solve it.

I was drawn to The Dragon Sleeps because of the beauty of the building on the book cover, which is an actual building in Victoria, Australia.

Ellen Read loves architure buildings and this was quite evident in her book as she describes the home layout. Her love of flowers which she has a passion for are also a feature in her book, names like, blue salvias, pink petunias, etc.

The mystery murder I touched on very briefly because – Ellen Read Author – has just launched her own – You Tube – channel, that will give you a clue on the mystery.

Thank you Ellen Read, for such a wonderful book, beautifully written, with such amazing details which I felt lost in.

I very much appreciate your hard work that went into making such a little beauty.

Writer Talks: I was so thrilled to be interviewed by fellow Australian author, Nadia L King

I recently interviewed Queensland author, Ellen Read about writing, self-publishing, and what it’s like to undertake research for historical fiction… NLK: How did you first begin writing fiction? ER: I began with reading books. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading and living in a story. As a child I made up fictional […]

via Writer Talks: Ellen Read — Nadia L King, Author