Monday, 22 September 2014

Authors I love : Belinda Murrell

Hey everyone!! So I decided I need a new blog series for inspiration. I thought I'd do posts about my favourite authors and the books they've written, what I like about their style, what I  don't like about their style, and how they have inspired me. This is going to be fun!!! So today I picked an Australian author by the name of Belinda Murrell.

Belinda Murrell is a bestselling, internationally published children’s author with a legion of loyal fans and a history of writing in her family that spans over 200 years. After studying Literature at Macquarie University, Belinda worked as a travel journalist, editor and technical writer. A few years ago, she began writing stories for her own three children – Nick, Emily and Lachlan. Her 21 books include The Sun Sword fantasy trilogy as well as a newly-released Lulu Bell series for younger readers. She is also known for her collection of other timeslip tales including The Sequin Star, The River Charm, The Locket of Dreams, The Forgotten Pearl, The Ruby Talisman and The Ivory Rose, which have been recognised by various awards, including Honour Book KOALAS 2013, shortlisted KOALAS 2014, 2012, and 2011, CBCA Notable List and highly commended in the PM’s Literary Awards.

I've read three of Belinda's books and I loved them all! Her writing style is engaging and very accurate to the historical time periods she sets her stories in. It was cool to read about girls living in a country close to where I live :) instead of America or England. The three I've read are all set in Aussie and based on true stories.

A river pebble has an astonishing true story to tell of one family's survival in harsh, colonial Australia.... When artistic Millie visits a long-lost aunt, she learns about her family's tragic past. Could the ghost girl Millie has painted be her own ancestor?

In 1839, Charlotte Atkinson lives at Oldbury, a grand estate in the bush, with her Mamma and her sisters and brother. But after her father dies, things go terribly wrong - murderous convicts, maurauding bushrangers and, worst of all, a cruel new stepfather.

Frightened for their lives, the family flees on horseback to a hut in the wilderness. The Atkinson family must fight to save their property, their independence and even their right to stay together. Will they ever return to their beautiful home? Based on the incredible true life battles of bestselling author Belinda Murrell's own ancestors, the Atkinsons of Oldbury. (synopsis from the website I linked above.)

I own this book and I read it very quickly! I loved it because it was actually a true story. Charlotte's mother had to fight for the right to homeschool her children. Charlotte was a sweet and talented heroine, and although none of these books are ''Christian"  they are probably the best secular teen girls' fiction stories I've read. I think out of all I've read this is the best.
Favourite character: Charlotte or her mother, Mrs. Atkinson.

When Chloe visits her grandmother, it unleashes a flood of memories, not discussed for seventy years. Chloe could never have imagined how close the second world war came to destroying her own family so many years ago. Could the experiences of another time help Chloe to face her own problems?

In 1941, Darwin is a remote outpost in the far north of Australia - a peaceful paradise far from the war. Poppy is a mischievous, fun-loving girl, with a menagerie of unusual pets. Her life seems perfect but when Japan attacks Pearl Harbour, then Australia, Poppy’s world is torn apart. Everything she holds dear is threatened - her family, her neighbours and her friends Jack and Maude. Her brother Edward is taken prisoner-of-war. Her home town becomes a war zone, as the Japanese raid over and over again, on their relentless march south. Australia is under the looming threat of invasion. 
Terrified for their lives, Poppy and her mother flee to safety in Sydney, only to find the danger follows them there. Poppy must face her war with courage and determination. 
Will Poppy and her family survive the war? Where is the forgotten pearl? Will her world ever be the same again? 
The forgotten pearl is the key to entering another thrilling adventure from Belinda Murrell, author of The Ivory Rose, The Ruby Talisman and The Locket of Dreams. 

(book blurb from above mentioned website, and so is the next one:))

This is a close second favourite. I love a good war story, especially one closer to home. It's scary how close the war came to NZ! Poppy was funny, optimistic and kind. This book's sad and there's also a sweet little romance:) Poppy is given her pearl charm by a Japanese lady who becomes a prisoner of war when the Japanese attack Australia. 
Favourite character: Jack or Poppy

Jemma has just landed her first job, babysitting Sammy. It's in Rosethorne, one of the famous witches' houses near where she lives. Sammy says the house is haunted by a sad little girl, but Jemma doesn't know what to believe. 

One day when the two girls are playing hide and seek, Jemma discovers a rose charm made of ivory. As she touches the charm she sees a terrifying flashback. Is it the moment the ghost was murdered? Jemma runs for her life, falling down the stairs and tumbling into unconsciousness. 

She wakes up in 1895, unable to get home. Jemma becomes an apprentice maidservant at Rosethorne - but all is not well in the grand house. Young heiress Georgiana is constantly sick. Jemma begins to suspect Georgiana is being poisoned, but who would poison her, and why? Jemma must find the proof in order to rescue her friend - before time runs out.

I think this is one of Belinda Murrell's earlier books, and I didn't like it as much as the other two. the narrative didn't really grab me and the chapter titles were extremely predictable, but overall I enjoyed it. The historical details were all correct, and it was a harsh picture of the life of the Victorian poor. 
Favourite character: Ned, the Irish groom

What I love about Belinda Murrell's style : it's not overcomplicated, very easy to read, and funny. She manages to get all her historical details right without making the novel seem like a history book, but weaves the true and fictional together skilfully.
What I don't love about her style : she uses some descriptions repeatedly, but that's about it :)
How she has inspired me: to use elements from my own life and family history in my writing

Anyway, that's about it! I have scores of favourite authors, but if there's one you'd like to see featured in a post, please comment and suggest one!!


  1. I haven't heard of this author... she looks good. And I like those covers. :)

    You managed to get the width thing done! Good for you. :-P

    1. Yea, they're pretty aren't they!
      Thanks...though I don't know how to get my header centered!! :-( oh well, it's a work in progress:)

    2. I guess you'll probably have to make a wider header- I had to do that for my Montgomery blog too.

  2. Oh my goodness!! A local author YIPEEEEEEEEEEE! I LOVE Belinda's works! They are so so amazing and I really enjoy "The Lost Pearl" In fact I am rereading it for the 7th time now! Thanks for this lovely post Beth! :-)

  3. Oh I really love 'The Forgotten Pearl', 'The Ivory Rose', and 'The Ruby Talisman'! I should really read her other ones... Does our library have them? :)

  4. Oh, I haven't read The Ruby Talisman....I think the library has The River Charm but I'm not sure....oh and I think they might have her new one, The Sequin Star too.