Literary Locations of Homecoming – Kate Morton
Discover the locations of Homecoming
The wonderful new novel by the pen of Kate Morton is out April 13th in the UK and it is truly STUNNING. The mystery at its heart is woven from tight threads that slowly unravel to shocking effect. I was mesmerised. A delivery man makes a shocking discovery in what seems to be the most peaceful and idyllic place on earth. Tragedy in paradise?
The landscape of the Adelaide Hills and the setting of a large country house with summer veranda is just somewhere I would really like to be right now. So many wonderful sounding birds and trees to enjoy too. Immerse yourself in the following…..
The Adelaide Hills
The novel is set in and around this most beautiful of areas which is also home to the author. The care and attention to detail shows that it’s a place she not only knows well, but truly loves. The atmospheric writing is sublime.
The small town where the house is, Tumbilla, is fictional but it is close to Nairne, Cudlee Valley and Verdun as these are mentioned as being nearby. It’s here we meet the shopkeeper, neighbours and café owner. We meet the wife of Percy and his two sons. See how the people go about their daily lives.
The small town of Hahndorf is mentioned in the book as being not far from Tumbilla, so I went and had a look didn’t I? It’s a lovely little place and I imagined Percy and Meg having a day out here perhaps when they were younger. (This scene isn’t in the book, I just imagine characters lives before and after I ‘meet’ them in books. Anyone else do this?)
Hahndorf I found out, is actually Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement. I loved this mention of it when Percy takes his horse there whilst making deliveries:
“Blaze was lathered with sweat, so Percy stoped at the trough in Hahndorf’s main street to let he have a drink and a rest.”
Hahndorf’s main stret Mount Barker Road:
” It was after three, and the street was in shade, courtesy of the hundreds of giant chestnuts, elms and plane trees running down each side, more than a century before.”
The Turner family live in this house and it sounds idyllic. X at the start is putting up bunting for a party later that afternoon. Someone comes up the path and she squints against the sun to see who it is. She’s just been sitting on the veranda drinking tea and the birds and trees are described so vividly you can see and hear them.
This isn’t in the novel but it’s mentioned as being the scene of a real life crime that shook Australia to its core and was replaced by this fictional tragedy in the book in the newspaper headlines. I’ve heard Kate talk about this before, as ‘inspiration’ for the Lake House – three children from the same family went missing on Australia day in 1955 and were never found. I just found the inclusion of this and other crimes, a very effective way of making what happens in the novel , stand out and reverberate across the years to the present day storyline, even more.
The rolling hills and vast, expansive land sound simply stunning. This is where Percy at the start of the novel is walking his horse Blaze. They do deliveries in and around the area and so know it well. Percy lets Blaze go to the stream and drink. Just immerse yourself in this idyllic place:
“This was an ancient place, a land of vast extremes.”
” Even by usual standards, though, the summer of 1959 was hot. Records wer falling in the place where scores were kept and the people of Tambilla were feeling every bit of it.”
I took part in a live interview with Kate just recently where she said that this novel was a much quieter one in terms of atmosphere and emotion. Jess in the novel is called back from London to see her dying grandmother in Australia. Kate wrote the novel when she moved back to Australia after five years in the English capital herself and found the stark differences lent themselves well to a novel. She was actually writing another novel at the time but being back in Australia, on a farm, and sometimes under lockdown, she found the location spoke to her and then the characters stepped into her imagination. The rest as they say is history.
This is such a wonderfully descriptive and evocative novel. The tragedy, the secrets in the village it unravels and the ripples across the years is spellbinding. The mystery at its core was one I have never read about in a novel before and it was a real thrill!
BookTrail Boarding Pass: Homecoming