'The past is never dead...'
In many ways the setting is the story. The action rarely ventures from Studland with its
sheltered bay and sweep of chalk cliffs which end at Old Harry Rocks. I have always
been inspired by place and this one stole my heart from my very first visit in 2010. I
have walked and swum there at all times of year but never yet spotted one of its rare
This is how Marie remembers her first visit to Studland:
The next morning we crept from our bed before Uncle Ted was awake. The sun was
already flooding the windows, stamping the patterns of the leads on the wooden floor,
and when Stephen took me outside to drink our coffee at a rickety table in the pub
garden the view took my breath away.
The sea in front of us was flat calm and the purest blue. Two sailing boats swung gently on their moorings, tucked into the sheltered curve of the bay. Above them the cliffs rose steadily until they became sparkling walls of the whitest chalk, topped with green which spilt down in places like a badly iced cake. Stephen put his arm around my shoulders and the world could not have been more perfect.
Marie is chef and part owner of the local pub and this in itself became an important setting for the book. There is a pub in Studland which bears a passing resemblance to The Smugglers, but much of my research into life in the pub trade was done from the comfort of a bar stool at The Victory Inn in Towan Cross in Cornwall where the landlady is a friend.
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