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Guest blogger: Michelle Montebello

17 February 2019

What they say is true!

A great book has the ability to turn its own pages. And it’s often these books that keep us up all night when we should be sleeping; captivating characters and a plot that make an indelible impression long after the final page. But are these the only two things that make a good book?

I often wonder about time and place and how important they are in a novel. Hardly the poor cousin to plot and character, time and place form the sights, sounds and smells of the stories we read. The smog and grit of nineteenth-century London or the water colours of springtime Tuscany, the scent of over-ripe fruit in a Mumbai dusk or silver snowflakes suspended in a New York winter breeze.

Doesn’t it make you want to pack your bags?

A well-described location or event in time has the ability to transport us, to sweep us into the pages, sending us on unexpected adventures from our very own lounge room. Maybe I’m drawn to this concept because I love to travel. I equally love history, time, colour and immersion. I spent three months in New Delhi some years back and, while it was an initial culture shock, upon returning home to Sydney, I’d found that that humble, raw and eclectic city, with all its sights, sounds and smells, had found its way beneath my skin.

My latest novel, The Quarantine Station, due for release on 6 March 2019, is dual-timeline, set in the present and early twentieth century on the site of the former Quarantine Station on North Head, Sydney. I was inspired to write about the station and its unique history long before the plot and characters came to mind. I knew that this was a place worth capturing in a love story.

The Great War, the Spanish Influenza pandemic and the day-to-day workings of the station made for a fascinating co-protagonist.

So if you ever find yourself reading from the pages of The Quarantine Station, I hope you will fall in love with the plot and characters; but more so, I hope the words will transport you to another time and place.

You can find Michelle here: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon

The Quarantine Station will be released on 6 March 2019. Michelle will be giving away a signed paperback copy to the first person to leave a comment. (The giveaway is now closed. The winner was Erin.)

The Quarantine Station

1918 … When Londoner, Rose Porter, arrives on the shores of Sydney with little more than her suitcase, she is forced to take a job as a parlourmaid at the mysterious North Head Quarantine Station. It’s a place of turmoil, segregated classes and strict rules concerning employee fraternisation.

But as Rose learns, some rules were made to be broken.

2019 … Over a century later, Emma Wilcott lives a secluded life in Sydney. Still reeling from a devastating loss, her one-hundred-year-old grandmother, Gwendoline, is all she has left. Suffering the early stages of dementia, Gwendoline’s long-term memories take her wandering at night and Emma realises she is searching for something or someone from her past.

Emma’s investigation leads her to the Quarantine Station where she meets Matt, the station carpenter, and together they begin to unravel a mystery so compelling it has the power to change lives, the power to change everything Emma ever knew about herself.

  1. 6 March 2019 10:29 am

    Ordering mine now yeehaa

  2. Erin permalink
    17 February 2019 3:51 pm

    Hi Michelle, I love to travel too. The Quarantine Station sounds good, onto my TBR list now.

    • Michelle permalink
      19 February 2019 8:00 am

      Thanks Erin! Yes, pop this onto your TBR as I’ll be sending a paperback copy to you shortly in the mail (woo hoo!)
      Michelle x

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