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Multi Award Winning author, Ellen Read, was born in Queensland, Australia and lives in Brisbane with her husband, and some of her extended family.

When she not writing, she’s reading, painting or taking photographs.


Ellen loves to read fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She particularly loves history and stories of ancient myths and legends. Authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Agatha Christie, and Victoria Holt, the latter of whom wrote gothic mystery/romances, have influenced her work.

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More About This Author
Authors Book Genres
Historical Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal Fiction, Romance
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Author's Books
Book Title
Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance

A Dragon statue. An ancient sword. A body on the doorstep.
What secret has remained hidden at Thornton Park for the last eighty years?
It’s 1927 in Victoria, Australia. A time after the Great War when women have more options opened to them.
At a weekend house party at Thornton Park, Alexandra Thornton decides to break the news to her father that she wants to be an antiques dealer, like her father, grandfather and great-grandfather before her.
Guests include Zhang Huo, a Chinese antiques dealer who, with his son, has brought a Ming dragon statue from China for Thomas Thornton, Alexandra’s father.
Benedict Archer, manager of Thornton Antiques in Melbourne, is also invited.
When Edith Blackburn, her friend since childhood, points out to Alexandra that Benedict is attracted to her, Alexandra can’t believe it.
Then a body is found on the doorstep, another in the orchard, and before the weekend is over, a priceless artefact is stolen.
Alexandra is determined to discover how these things are connected to the Ming dragon and the antiques her great-grandfather brought with him from Hong Kong so many years ago.
What treasure is worth killing to possess?

What a treat! Alexandra is a young woman to be reckoned with, unfolding the mystery of her great-grandfather's travels and artefacts from the Orient...a story abundant with elegance, love, murder, mystery and suspense. Ellen Read has a wonderful ability of totally submerging you into the surroundings and era. The evocative 1920s is superbly sublime at the end of Ellen's pen - a favourite decade of mine, I was in my element as she has such an authentic touch. Murder at Thornton Park gently entices you in...with a lavish backdrop, gorgeous references to the time a simmering romance with a stunning leading man...then she hits you with murder, intrigue, mystery. Absolutely LOVED it.
5 Stars

Murder at Thornton Park by the wonderful @ellenreadauthor was my Bank Holiday weekend read. What better way to spend a long weekend than with a pot of tea and a period murder? I love the time period this novel is set in. If I had a time machine, the 1920's is the first place I would go, so this was an indulgent treat for me. Ellen's story is steeped in carefully and lovingly researched detail, from the music playing, to the fashions, art, etiquette and antiques, I came away feeling like I'd attended the garden party at Thornton myself, and was surprised to find I was not wearing spats. If you're a lover of Agatha Christie, and a good murder-mystery with a side order of love, sprinkled with some far-east exoticism, I would urge you to give this a try. You won't be disappointed.
5.0 out of 5 stars atmospheric and as good as any Christie

Murder at Thornton 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 Murder at Thornton 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.

I recommend Murder at Thornton Park, to anyone who likes historical fiction, who likes old fashion romance, who likes mystery murders and although some book reviews suggest Ellen Read writes similar to Agatha Christie, in my humble opinion, Ellen Read is far superior than Agatha Christie and stands alone.

Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance

Set in 1928 in Victoria, Australia. The Thornton family made its money in the goldfields during the 1850s and the antiques trade. Their principal home is Thornton Park, a lavish mansion close to Melbourne. They also own a home and a goldmine in Daylesford, where their close friends, the Bassetti family, are part of a thriving Swiss-Italian community.
Alexandra Thornton has married Benedict Archer. On their honeymoon in Daylesford, in the heart of Victoria, the first of a string of events occur that lead her and her family into danger.
At Daylesford, Alexandra’s pearls are stolen and within days there are two murders.
Back at Thornton Park, Alexandra discovers a secret compartment in a desk. Inside is a gold and diamond necklace and a letter written by her grandfather, James Thornton. It’s a love letter, Alexandra assumes written to his wife after her death. He claims the necklace is cursed.
After further investigation, Alexandra uncovers the deaths of two miners at Thornton Goldmine. Her father, Thomas Thornton, claims gold is the curse.
The family return to Daylesford where Thomas Thornton is accused of murder.
Alexandra is determined to work out how it all connects.
Why did Aunt Sophia give a stack of old letters to Alexandra and say that no one else must see them?

What is the link to the Inca Emperor Atahualpa?

Is gold the curse?

I am extremely interested in conversational dialogue in general, so I was pleasantly surprised that I got just that in The Inca's Curse. Questions and answers leaded to more intriguing scenarios, problems and then solutions. Ellen Read is a dab hand at creating and writing a scene in this way. A very "dialogue" driven book.

This is an extremely facinating, interesting and intriguing book, that has a very involved storyline, with lots of plot twists, its chockablock full. Apart from the mystery aspect, there is a newly wedded couple, so there is love. There is alot of references to antiques with the Thorntons being in the antique business and because Ellen Read herself, loves flowers and nature, we have the countryside of Daylesford with Wombat Hill, where there are black ducks, willy-the-wagtails, Asters, bluebells, daffodils, lillypilly and a whole range of flowers that are all wrapped up like a bouquet, not forgetting the scrumptious food mentioned, this time, there is an element of Italian, with the occasional mention of scrambled eggs and Maderia cake on the side, with copious amounts of tea drinking. I learnt quite alot of Italian dishes, plus the heritage of the Swiss-Italians. Plus I learnt about the family tree and who is related to who. We have references of books, more in depth this time is the book, Pride and Prejudice that Edith models herself on and Ellen Read executes the storyline superbly well into HER story, and lastly, because this is a historical fiction I must add that the information on the history of Daylesford, plus the gold mines is very educational which I was extremely interested in. The story-line and plotting, again, faultless and delivered to perfection.

It was a great honour to be able to delve into such a book with such a vast lot of information, inspiration and hard work that Ellen Read put into this. Ellen Read is definitely a mastermind of her own craft.

Give this a go, you won't be disappointed, as it will captivate you and hold your attention till the end.

5 star rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Inca's Curse comes highly recommended by me and will suit anyone who is interested in Italian cooking and heritage. For Historical Fiction lovers. Definately worth reading if you are into romance books. For antique lovers. For anyone interested in the fashion of the 1920s, especially music and clothes. Lastly for all readers who like flowers mentioned in their books.

5 Stars
In this second book, Ellen Read takes us to Daylesford and immerse us into the gold mining history of 1860s Australia. Along the way, we discover a trail of bodies... coincidences or curse? More importantly, what does James Thornton, Alexandra’s grandfather, have to do with any of this? Once again, I found myself pondering the clues. To top it all off, Alexandra and Benedict are on their honeymoon!

As with the previous book, The Dragon Sleeps, it was easy to allow myself to step into the story with the beautiful descriptions of the furniture, china, antiques, paintings, drapery and floral arrangements. It was like a literary peek into 1928 Victoria. Yes, Stardust is still playing and Alexandra and Benedict are still dancing. Some things will never change. (sigh)

The mystery has its roots way, way back and there were many convoluted twists. One I saw coming; one I did not. Edith! She had a “character growth spurt” which I much liked. She’s reading Pride and Prejudice and trying to model herself after Elizabeth Bennett. Ellen Read expertly weaves this into the story without dropping or missing a stitch. It was like tasting dessert. It is my hope that Edith will continue to develop and blossom. I think this was the biggest takeaway for me. One more thing, no make that two things. I love the way Reed brought in the Inca connection; but even more the history of the Swiss Italians and, of course, the food, “recipe competition” and the comparison between Thornton Park and the Manor.

So, we have Grandfather Thomas, a mistaken identity, goldmines, emeralds, a necklace, a curse, murders, love, a lost love and a love letter. Who needs Miss Marple when we have Alexandra?

5 Stars
I have just enjoyed a pre-read of Book 2 of Ellen Read’s Thornton Mystery Series, “The Inca’s Curse” (follow up to book 1 “The Dragon Sleeps”.) This book had drama from the very first page and kept my attention right to the very end, with a bit of everything in the mix. Set in the late 1920’s in Victoria there were continual sprinklings of authenticity throughout, with references to several genres of the time, making it very easy to imagine the characters, the setting and the way of life at that time in history. With a sprinkling of romance and another murder mystery for the Thornton family to deal with - this was a good read. Released on Amazon. Well done Ellen - congratulations.

Book Title
Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance

Murder on the High Seas. Thomas Thornton reads the newspaper article.

Can the murder of a young German man, fatally stabbed during a voyage out of London to Melbourne, have anything to do with the Thorntons? Alexandra’s curiosity is piqued when a Prussian Count, who travelled on the same ship, shows up at Thornton Antiques in search of a rare amber postage stamp.

Alexandra Thornton and Benedict Archer have been married for one year. Benedict is estranged from his family, who own a vineyard in the Barossa Valley in South Australia. Alexandra urges him to try to heal the breach.

Murder. A strange count searching for a rare stamp. A missing opal. A family in turmoil. How are they all connected?

When a dark secret of betrayal and loss is exposed, Alexandra finds her world shattered.

5 Stars
Book three in the cosy series The Thornton Mysteries, and I think this is my favourite book so far. Alexandra and Benedict are settling into married life, and everything seems perfect – except for Benedict’s continuing estrangement from his family.

But nothing ever stays peaceful for long with this couple and soon they are embroiled in a murder but how there can there possibly be a connection between this and the enigmatic Prussian count who is allegedly searching for a rare postage stamp. And why is it that everywhere Alexandra turns she is confronted with amber? She instinctively believes the count is not what he claims to be, and putting together the clues she finds they lead straight to Benedict’s family vineyard.

Could this be the motive she has been looking for to bring about a reconciliation between her beloved husband and his family? Maybe by confronting and resolving the past, he will finally heal the scars he has borne since the War and find some peace of mind.

There is a lot of fun in the book, but there is also a lot of pathos, and an exploration of what family means to us – both blood and found. No spoilers, but there is sadness and tragedy which crushes Alexandra’s perfect world.

This author pays a lot of attention to the details of life amongst the wealthy in Australia in the 1920s, especially what they ate, and more than once I found myself craving a high tea.

A lovely read for those who like their murder mysteries devoid of gore and too much graphic detail, and who like their romance clean and sweet.

5 Stars
This has been my favorite so far of The Thornton Mysteries by Ellen Read. I loved the first two, but in this one I felt like I was right there with Alexandra, Benedict and Edie on a personal level. Many emotions were brought to the forefront as I followed this mystery, many questions raised I couldn't wait to learn the answers to. To be honest, I've never wanted to throttle a character more in my entire life. Read the story and you'll see what I mean. The pace moves right along from start to finish. I never once felt like I wanted to skim to get to something important. Every detail needed to be there. Kudos to the author for bringing this period of time in Australia to life. Like I said at the start, I felt as if I was right there with them. Can't wait to see what this talented author brings us next.

5 Stars
The Amber Trap is the latest in The Thornton Mysteries featuring Alexandra Archer, formally Thornton. The story opens over breakfast in the morning room with husband Benedict, father Thomas Thornton and best friend Edie while both Preston and Sylvie took pause in their serving tasks at the news of a German man murdered on a cruise ship.

I was instantly invited to breakfast with the very first sentence, “Murder on the High Seas”, the headlines of the local newspaper. I could have heard a pin drop. In the style of Agatha Christie, the Queen of Murder and more recently the popular astute Jessica Fletcher of Murder, She Wrote, a popular TV “who dun it”of the mid 1980’s, Read effortlessly brings the reader into the very midst of it with each turning of the page.

Murder. A strange count searching for a rare stamp. A missing opal. A family in turmoil. How are they all connected? When a dark secret of betrayal and loss is exposed, Alexandra finds her world shattering and it takes all of her inner strength to keep it together. This book showed another side of Alexandra that I found most...never mind. You’re just going to have to find out for yourself.

Read took me on a whirlwind trip to the vineyards of the Barosa Valley in south Australia in an attempt to mend family broken fences between Benedict and his family. Little did Alexandra know what she was uncovering and at what cost.

Did I mention that this story is my favorite so far? I love spending time with the Thorntons as there is always a surprise, a suspenseful nail biting moment or two and lots of I love yous and, of course, stardust.

Author's Books
Book Title
Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance

Murder comes to Norfolk Island, but is the killer after Alexandra Archer’s Tahitian black pearl or a lost illustration of the rare Green Parrot?

The Thorntons, along with a small team of people, mount an expedition to Norfolk Island, a small island in the South Pacific, to study the Green Parrot and set up research programmes to help protect it and other endangered birds.

As a birthday surprise, Alexandra’s father tells her she is to be the official photographer for the expedition. Her father gives her a black pearl brooch that Alexandra’s great-grandfather had bought off a merchant in Hong Kong in the 1850s. The pearls are Tahitian black pearls.

Before they depart Melbourne, they learn that Norfolk Island has had its first murder. It sends ripples of unease through Alexandra. She hoped she could escape murder on this small island paradise.

Alexandra is astonished to learn that the main inhabitants of Norfolk Island are descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian wives. Once on the island, she wonders if this is why her Tahitian black pearl brooch causes such interest.

A chain of events is set in motion, commencing with a threat on the life of one of their expedition members, followed by intrigue surrounding bird smuggling and a lost illustration of the Green Parrot. Then two of their team are murdered.

Alexandra is determined to find the answers and nearly loses her life in the process.

I absolutely enjoyed Murder in Paradise
So what did I find fascinating?
✔ well, definitely the constant mention of Norfolk Island food! There was a strong theme of tropicana, with banana fritters, paw paws (papaya) fish of course and even a drink - pineapple and passionfruit in orange juice (the correct name is mentioned in the book)
✔ We also have Ellen's signature of weaving her love of flowers in her storyline and I spotted Hoya, which I was delighted to find, as my Nana used to have it in her house. Also found Bird Of Paradise, which does grow here in New Zealand.

The scenes I enjoyed the most
✔ this time excerpts explained more the scenes I enjoyed.

Excerpt 1
"They became one. They would always be one … one heart, one
soul. When he raised his head and broke the kiss, she felt an agony of
disconnection from him, but then she realised she still felt his lips on hers."

The icing of the cake for me was Ellen's wittiness and this was displayed with a play on words through nicknames and vegetables.

A well earned 5 star rating/review.

5 Stars
Thank you Ellen for the chance to advance read "Murder in Paradise", book 4 of the Thornton Mystery Series. Having enjoyed the 3 previous books I had been looking forward to more.
Once again Ellen has taken us to another location, this time the beautiful "Norfolk Island". The island has much history which has been well researched and sprinkled throughout the novel. Once again. murder and mystery enter the lives of the Thornton./Archer family - a family I am now very familiar with. As with Ellen's previous books, this story has it all - history, flora and fauna, romance, murder and mystery. We find the Thornton's at times having to come out of their comfort zone, which I found amusing. I loved the character Scrimshaw, and the reactions he elicited from Lexy and Edith. All in all - another extremely "Good read" [although I will admit Book 3 is still my favourite]. The Thornton Mysteries are an extremely enjoyable series and I hope there will be more to come. Well done Ellen.

5 Stars
Trying to help Alexandra overcome a tragedy after her last great adventure, her father helps mount an expedition to Norfolk Island, where Alexandra is assigned as their official photographer. Before they depart Melbourne, they hear alarming news. Norfolk Island has just had its first murder.

Murder in Paradise by Ellen Read is a well written, well researched historical fiction that will pull you in and make you wish you’d been born to this time. Along with favorites from the first three stories in the series, Edith, Benedict and Alexandra’s father, Ellen brings us an eclectic mix of colorful island characters. What I especially loved about these people were the nicknames they’d given each other, Scrimshaw being one of my favorites.
When another murder takes place on the island, Alexandra can’t help but put herself in the middle of things, but what price will it cost her this time? You’ll have to read for yourself to find out. If you enjoy historical fiction, or even if it’s a murder mystery you reach for, I suspect you’ll love Murder in Paradise. I can’t wait to see what Ellen comes up with next.

Book Title
Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance

Eternal life—the most sought-after secret in all the history of mankind.

Thornton Park is hosting a conference on immortality. Guests from many cultures have been invited to speak about their beliefs.

No one, least of all Alexandra Archer, expects it to become a deadly search for the secrets to eternal life.

At the same time, Steven Lin, a descendant of Wang, who befriended the first Thomas Thornton in Hong Kong in the middle of the 1800s, is visiting Thornton Park. On his first
night in Melbourne before joining the Thorntons, Steven’s travelling companion Kai is attacked and killed in Chinatown.

After a welcoming dinner party at Thornton Park, one of the guest speakers is found murdered near the muniment room.

Steven later tells them of a document the first Thomas Thornton took with him when he left Hong Kong. Steven’s family claims it belongs to them.

Alexandra is seven month’s pregnant. She is certain there has to be a connection between the two murders and the document.

When another murder follows, Alexandra wonders how many people must die in the search for eternal life.

Caught up in a miasma of myths and dark tales, Alexandra comes to believe that for her baby to live, she must die.

5 Stars
This book, as with Book 1, is set at the Thornton family home on the outskirts of Melbourne, where the family are hosting a conference on the most sort after secret in the history of mankind – the secret to immortality and eternal life. Ellen delves into many of the historic myths and legends to do with this subject. The new characters in this book, visiting for the conference, come from far and wide and from many different cultures to talk of their beliefs. – and of course – someone is a villain.
As is usual with Ellen’s stories – there is much, much more. Once again mystery, murder and romance and wonderful descriptive writing.
I have come to know the Thornton/Archer family well over these five books. Alexander is 7 months pregnant in this story and the lovely Edie finally finds love for herself and - without giving anything away – this story has a wonderful ending.
I can highly recommend this book. It can be enjoyed as a single read, although I strongly recommend that you start at Book 1 and read the entire series. Well done once again Ellen.

5 Stars
This series just keeps getting better. Each book is based around such interesting topics. This one has a conference about the search for immortality and beliefs about immortality from many different religions and backgrounds. It was interesting to think about the overlaps between different cultures and how the life cycle fits in.
My favorite parts are always the characters though. :) I love that we see natural growth and progression with the family, and how their stories are just as important as the mystery. I always love more Edie! I really enjoy how spunky Alexandra is and loved how forward she was about her pregnancy. I can’t wait to see what they’re up to next after reading that final chapter!!

5 Stars
Wonderful book!!
I made some time and tea to read this in one sitting.
I enjoyed this book because it is well written and the characters are wel developed.
Also, I was intrigued throughout the book with the plot twists.
Congratulations Ellen Read on another Wonderful book!!

Book Title
Historical Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Speculative Fiction

England 1935.
Edward Wallingford, an artist, is on a solitary walking tour of the West Country. To recuperate from pneumonia, he wants to walk, paint and enjoy the countryside. When he stops at Claeg, a village in Dorset, he visits Marston Castle on the outskirts of the town. He becomes fascinated by Rose Marston who, with her two sisters, owns and lives in their family’s castle.

England Present Day.
William Wallingford has always heard tales of his great-great uncle Edward who disappeared on his walking tour in 1935. When Will’s mother discovers a letter written in Edward’s hand telling his family that he was in Claeg and intended staying at the castle, both Will and his mother are intrigued.

William, a professional photographer, has some free time between assignments, and determines to discover what happened to his Uncle Edward. Why, when he went missing, could no one find any trace of him?

William travels to Claeg and stays at the Clay Cutters Arms where he meets the owners Natalie Pickering and her father.

Will soon hears local rumours that young men visiting Claeg disappear from time to time.

With Natalie’s help, Will meets a local witch, uncovers an unbelievable truth and nearly dies for love.

5 Stars
A suspenseful, macabre ghost story, throwing you from past to present, with a mystery well worth figuring out. Superbly written and thought out, plot twist thrills and chills. This is definitely a page turner and I throughly enjoyed it. I'm sure this will end up on a book sellers list as one of the most popular books to read to date.
A 5 star review and recommending to anyone who likes Ghost story, suspense, mystery, past and present, macabre. Setting - Dorset, England.

5 Stars
When it comes to period stories, Ellen Read is in a class of her own. With seemingly little effort, she conjures up the mood and mores of whatever time she chooses to write about. I was particularly impressed by this gift when I read The Dragon Sleeps, one of her early Thornton Mysteries. In Die for Love, she juggles two time periods – 1935 and the present day – and does so with calm and impressive efficiency, and with such clarity that it almost seems as if she is simply recounting some of her own lived experiences.

Die for Love tells the story of two men who lived 50 years apart but who meet the same beautiful girl in the garden of the same crumbling castle ... or is one of the girls a descendant of the other? The writing, as always with Read, is uncluttered and unadorned, but the story is strangely ethereal. The events, while normal and very ordinary on the surface and appear to exist mundanely in our present dimension, seem to hover over the edge of an entirely different dimension. It takes great skill to infuse the very ordinary with this atmosphere of vague dissonance.

5 Stars
Having read Ellen read's "Thornton Mysteries" I was looking forward to "Die For Love". I was not disappointed. Ellen is excellent at "painting the picture" and has a knack of placing her reader within the story. Set in the same village in England and alternating between modern day and the 1930's, with a well thought out plot, the story moved at a good pace. Described as a ghost story - there was much more to enjoy - with intrigue, suspense, mystery, history and romance added to make a very enjoyable read. Recommended for anyone who enjoys a "Good Read".

Book Title #76
Historical Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal Fiction, Romance, Speculative Fiction

Has Catherine Lacey been kidnapped by human hands or has the ghost of Lacey Hall ridden away with her?

1879 Sophie, Catherine’s sister, can’t answer that question. Catherine disappeared overnight. Sophie knows that Catherine had fallen in love with the ghost of the first Sir Giles Lacey, who in 1676 had won Lacey Hall in a card game. Not content with his windfall, he reclaimed land from the village to build a lake. The story goes he was murdered for it.

2019 Australian Kate Dalton reads her three times great-grandmother Sophie’s letter and travels to England to discover if Catherine had been murdered, kidnapped or whisked away by a ghost. At first, Kate isn’t welcomed at Lacey Hall, particularly by its owner. She is warned to stay away from Old Widcombe Woods and the dilapidated cottage in its midst. The woods were cursed many years ago. Then Kate sees the ghost rider. The old tale claims that every night he rides up to the house and then disappears into the lake, his destiny sealed for eternity. Kate is determined to see him up close but the present Sir Giles prevents her from going outside to him. At every turn, Kate is foiled.

Then Kate sees a second ghost.

After a series of accidents find Kate with head injuries and more, she starts to wonder if they are mishaps or does someone want to prevent her from discovering what happened to Catherine and, ultimately, from uncovering a mystery that has its seed planted by the first Sir Giles.

Kate doesn’t see the final danger approaching.

Absolutely loved this intriguing, facinating ghost story, that enticed you to Lacey Hall, where creaks and groans is a natural thing to hear, but never fear we do have a golf course and aviaries to glide by with ease. What got me worried were the scary twins who reminded me of the dead twins in The Shining. However it was very nice going to the meadow where we have different types of flowers that I haven't seen before, such as cuckoo flowers, butterfly weed, cows parsley! (I wonder if you can actually eat it) I did strike flowers that I recognised, yay for Asters.

If you ever want to hang out in a suspenseful book, never knowing what lurks on the next page, I would suggest you cautiously pick this book up, before it swallows and drowns you in the pond. Highly recommended by me, I drowned and survived.
5 star review/recommendation.

5 Stars
After reading Ellen Read's previous ghost story "Die For Love" I was looking forward to reading "The Ghost Rider". I was not disappointed and enjoyed this new book even more. The well written story switched effortlessly between 1879 [Catherine] and present day Kate [Katherine] It has a great story line with many interesting characters, and Ellen has once again included many descriptive passages that invite the reader into the story. Including Romance, Mystery, History and Drama, the story draws you in - and then hits you with a few twists and surprises. Can highly recommend this as a "Very Good Read". Can't wait for the next one.

Is The Ghost Rider a ghost story, a love story or perhaps both? This story has its beginnings in 1879 England and spans generations. The Prologue is ominous in setting the tone of this unusual love story. What if????

The Ghost Rider is a modern love story with roots into the past, transcending generations and bringing to mind other great love stories… those by Jane Austen easily come to mind except this one has a ghost or two. I was fully immersed into the story with the first chapter. Just like her other books, Read sets the tone drawing you in with descriptive passages of surroundings, architecture, paintings, furniture, music and nature. This is her literary trademark which I have come to expect and enjoy.

The characters are well defined and memorable, especially the twins. Catherine is strong and intuitive. Charles comes off standoffish at first but I liked him right away. Raymond! Loved Raymond. Nevaeh…easily the one I loved to hate. Then there’s Lady, a Golden Retriever! All in all, a well rounded cast of characters.

Everything played out as I read. I had my suspicions and I had my fingers crossed. I consider myself pretty good at figuring out the how and the why; but I didn’t see this ending playing out like it did. One more thing; do not skip the Author’s Note at the end.

A Ghostly Love Story ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book Title #76 #77
Mystery, Paranormal Fiction, Romance

Set in the picturesque, idyllic villages of Maleny and Montville in Queensland's Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

Stephanie Page has one chance to escape her abusive partner and she takes it. By the end of the day, she finds herself on the top of a mountain range. Is it far enough away? Can she be safe here?

She’s drawn to a rundown tearoom, although she’s not sure why. The owner, Lynette, is cheerful and friendly, and Stephanie finds herself calling in most days. Lynette never has any other customers, so this allows them time to chat.

Lynette encourages Stephanie to visit an antiques and craft place owned and run by Andrew, the son of a friend of Lynette’s. Stephanie calls in. The place is a treasure trove of wonderful antiques and books, but she finds Andrew to be rude and unfriendly. She tells Lynette so. Lynette urges her to go another day and make the effort to befriend him.

Stephanie has just run away from one bad relationship. She doesn’t want another, and she doesn’t want to befriend a rude man.

From what Lynette says one day over a Devonshire tea, it sounds as if she and Andrew have had a relationship. Then Lynette disappears. When Stephanie mentions this to Andrew, he orders her out of his antiques place.

Things are not what they seem.

Hurt and confused, Stephanie comes to the conclusion that she won’t find happiness here. Is it time to move on again?

5 Stars
I very much enjoyed this shorter lighter read ‘When Jacarandas Bloom” by Ellen Read.
A mixture of a controversial subject, mystery and romance – a story of new beginnings - set in the beautiful Sunshine Coast Hinterland, a place I have visited many times and love. I must admit I thought the ending would be predictable, so an unexpected twist was a welcome surprise. I love the way Ellen writes – very easy to read and keeps one’s interest. This novella is well worth the read and I can’t wait to read the rest of the books to come in Ellen's “Thornton Mysteries”.

I can not tell you enough how much I enjoyed this book. It tells you of new beginnings and love found. And a lovely twist in the middle which I was suspecting for a while but it was so welcome. This book has everything I like and it’s such a feel good book! I don’t like to give the story away so I will say: go get this book you won’t regret it. The writing flows effortlessly and your connection with the main characters is instantaneous. You want to be near that jacaranda tree and see it’s beauty. A beautiful story, beautifully written. Well deserved 5 stars.

5 Stars
Breaking free from an abusive relationship is never easy...Stephanie knows all about that. But finally she is on her way and in a small town in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland (Queensland, Australia) she will find her inner strength, courage and other things she didn't quite expect.
A beautifully written modern love story with some twists.

Book Title #76 #77 #85
Mystery, Paranormal Fiction, Romance

Love the Gift is a love story with a difference. It’s set in contemporary times and in 1905. Mark visits his best friend Beth at her family home in the New South Wales Highlands. The house has been turned into a Boutique Hotel. Mark occupies the room that belonged to Beth’s great-great-aunt, Charlotte, who died in 1905. The room has been kept just as Charlotte left it.

On his first evening there, he steps into the walled garden that leads off the bedroom and is shocked to find he is in a sunny afternoon in 1905, with Charlotte in the garden to greet him.

Is it a dream, or is it really happening?

5 Stars
This was a very sweet, clean romance novella. The setting for this story was in a location not far from where I live, so I enjoyed that added element.
The story is spread over two eras which was beautifully written and flowed smoothly between the two times.
I enjoyed this lovely, feel good and at times, emotional story.

5 Stars
A captivating portrait, a private walled garden, love and grief in the same breath, and a romance . . . Love the Gift has it all. Oh, with the addition of time travel, or is it a dream?

So atmospheric, Ellen Read has a lovely way with description, I could almost smell the magnolia blossom emanating from the page. The story is well paced, without being rushed, with a core of believable characters who express real emotions; Mark’s inner turmoil and grief are tangible.

The romance is beautiful yet gentle, with the main thread of the storyline being of new beginnings.
This is a must for all who love a good time-slip romance . . . lose yourself for the afternoon.

5 Stars
Loved this book about love. It’s so captivating that before I knew it I found myself at The Magnolias Boutique and Spa along with Beth and Mark. Mark is trying to adjust to the recent loss of his mother which has left him in emotional turmoil and doubt. Then there’s Beth, a long time friend. Is there more? Ohhhh, yes, there’s more. Sooooo much more! Charlotte, who has been dead for more than a hundred years, makes an unforgettable and subtle appearance in the story! Love and a ghost story... OK, a spirit not a ghost; but still! Love the Gift is so much more than a mere love story! It begs the question; what is the color of your soul? You’ve got to read this! Trust me...

Love is a gift. Love the debt
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson
The Miller’s Daughter

Book Title #76 #103
Food, Mystery, Outback Fiction, Paranormal Fiction, Rural Romance, Women's Fiction

Two timelines, one story. Gold, family secrets and an astrolabe bring them together across the years.

2023 When Danielle Roberts inherits a boarding house in Charters Towers, her first thought is that it’s a scam. Assured by the solicitor it isn’t, she decides to make a quick trip and sort everything out. She has no intention of staying. A pastry chef, she owns a café in Redcliffe.

The first person she sees when she arrives, is the last person she wants to see.

Brett Bainbridge, her first boyfriend, broke her heart when he walked out on her.
Now, here he is, standing in her garden bed.

1872 Eloise le Gerseul has travelled from Jersey in the Channel Islands to Australia with her father and sister. Gold brought them to Charters Towers where Eloise meets William Hatton, the wealthiest goldminer in the north. Then her father dies and Eloise is left with her sister, Emily.

Soon after her wedding to William, life takes a strange turn for Eloise. Her dear Bill goes away on business and Eloise waits and waits for his return. She worries that he’s had an accident. When he arrives home, he won’t speak to her. Eloise doesn’t understand what has happened.

Eventually, Eloise realises that she’s dead.

2023 (the present) What happens when you inherit a boarding house? Danielle (Dani) founds out soon enough. We are in Queensland, Australia, in a place called, Charters Towers, where things literary go bump in the night.

1872 and Eloise travelled from Jersey in the Channel Islands to Australia with family. Gold being the reason, Charters Towers being the destination, however not long after Eloise marries Bill, mysterious things happen.
With being an enthusiastic baker, I was absolutely delighted to learn that Dani is a pastry chef. I noted many mouth watering bakes and most were familiar to me, apart from the tim tam cheesecake, this must be an Australian signature dish. I also liked the fact that Dani rode a motorbike called Bellatrix, it just had a refreshing escape from the normal car scenario.

Ellen Read has written a cosy mystery ghost story that's character driven with an intriguing mystery. There is a murder of course, with twists where you don't really expect to see them.

A character of my name is written into the story, along with a black cat. I found this most intriguing and most delightful as isn't this every reader's dream, to get a mention in a book.

I particularly liked the unique illustrations throughout which are flower related and the easter eggs were in spotting how the flowers were used in the story, which was cleverly thought out.

Although this is a ghost story, elements of romance are afoot, but with who? I will let you all figure that one out.

So all in all I'm giving this a five star rating/review. I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery side on both the present and the past and full credit to Ellen for giving me another entertaining experience.

The Cook, the Ghost, and her Sister
As well as the Thornton Mystery Series, I have read all of Ellen’s cozy mystery ghost stories and enjoyed them all. This was no exception.
When Dani, a chef and Café owner in the city, receives a call from a solicitor saying she has inherited an estate in North Qld , including a boarding house, , she initially suspects a scam. To check she travels to Charters Towers to check out her inheritance – never intending to stay - the story begins.
The story moves effortlessly between the present -2023 - and the past – 1874 [or sometime after] - the pasty characters being ancestors of Dani’s and the original inhabitants of the home she has inherited. Of course a couple of them still inhabit the home – as ghosts. Dani connects with the ghosts and finds a way of communicating with one sister.
The current day inhabitants include an old love of Dani’s who broke her heart years before – romance - some interesting and multilayered residents, including some boarders – mystery. Of course there is also a murder. Ellen’s books always contain so many facets and make for interesting page turning reading – always looking forward to “what happens next’ and “who is/are the villain[s]” and hopefully a happy ending.
I also love the way each chapter features a floral illustration –just another little touch that is very clever.
I thoroughly recommend this book as a “really good read”.

I’m no stranger to Ellen Read’s books. I was captivated by the Thornton murder mysteries set in the late 1920s Australia followed by a couple of stand alone ghostly mysteries and love stories. I have enjoyed all my journeys into this author’s imagination.

Dani is owner and chef of a very successful cafe when she receives a call from a solicitor informing her of a sizable inheritance consisting of a boarding house in Charter Towers, everything in it and an substantial amount of money to boot. When she goes to see her inheritance, the first person she sees is a past love… this is going to be awkward.

Read gives us a quick rundown on all of the characters, including the ghosts and I’m giving all of them a once over. All are multilayered and have secrets. The story flows smoothly as it flips between 1872 and the present; giving the story added depth. The exchanges between the Dani and Eloise, a ghost, is ingenious and adds an unearthly feel to the story. This mix of past and present takes surprising turns, keeping me turning the pages.

On top of all this, the book is gorgeous inside and out. Each chapter is headed with a floral drawing by the author. Be sure to read the Author’s Note and skim the Aussie Dictionary”. The ending? Pure genius.

An easy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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