As part of my research for my fourth novel, SECRET SHORES, I went to Anlaby Station in South Australia, which was once Australia’s largest merino sheep station. Anlaby was the inspiration for Haslemere- the property that Edward inherits in the book.
The entire place was wonderful. What struck me was the way I connected with the Australian landscape of my childhood again- I grew up in South Australia, so going back there and being out in the countryside was incredibly special for me. There is something about the stillness of the paddocks, the whispering, pale eucalypts and the vast, vast skies that brought back memories I thought I’d forgotten. Layer in a romantic old homestead and a wondrous, restored garden and I was transfixed.
I would definitely recommend the owner’s beautiful cooking for dinner!
You will definitely need a car, as the property is quite isolated and down a dirt road and then a long driveway! Don’t go without one, or think you can catch a bus! (Unless you want to go for the day, as there might be tours from the Barossa Valley.)
Go with an open mind and be prepared to hear ghost stories…
I stayed in the accountant’s office, which is in the old stable block (recreated in SECRET SHORES). It has a kitchen, three bedrooms and a lovely sitting room which was once the mail room for the station. And I didn’t see any ghosts, no matter how many stories I was told!
I found the whole place so atmospheric and special that I would go back again. The owners are absolutely lovely and if you are interested in history and like romantic settings, then I think you’d find Anlaby a very unique and special place.
Ella Carey is the international bestselling author of Paris Time Capsule, The House by the Lake and From a Paris Balcony. Paris Time Capsule has been adapted into a feature film screenplay and the novels are being translated into several languages. Ella is a Francophile who has long been fascinated by secret, forgotten histories set in Europe’s entrancing past. She has degrees in music, majoring in classical piano, and in Arts majoring in nineteenth century women’s fiction and modern European history. She lives in Australia with her two children and two Italian Greyhounds who are constantly mistaken for whippets.
Ella Carey on the web:
In 1946, artist Rebecca Swift’s dreams of love and a life free from convention are crashing like the waves of the Australian coast below her. And it’s into those roiling waters that she disappears.
Forty-one years later, Tess Miller’s dreams are crashing, too. The once-successful New York editor has lost her most prestigious author to the handsome new golden boy of publishing. Meanwhile, she’s stuck with Edward Russell, a washed-up Australian poet writing a novel about some obscure artist named Rebecca Swift. But Tess may have underestimated Russell. His book is not only true—it’s a searing, tragic romance and a tantalizing mystery set in a circle of postwar modernists. When Tess uncovers a long-hidden secret, she’s drawn even deeper into Rebecca’s enigmatic life and death.
As Rebecca’s past intertwines with the present, Tess finds herself falling for the last man she thought she’d ever be drawn to. On the way, she discovers the power of living an authentic life—and that transcendent love never really dies.