When grief tries to defeat Ellie Buckley, she puts all her faith in a disorientated seagull that decides to live on her beach house balcony just days after her husband passes. Her heart whispers to her that this seagull just might be the spirit of her late husband in no hurry to leave their beach house until she is okay. But that’s not all. The whispers call her to Dubrovnik where in bowls of silky threads of homemade pasta, seasoned with just the right amount of garlic and chili; and in the charms and wisdom of a most unlikely restaurateur, Ellie will begin to unwind her sadness. Then, when the whispers call her to Paris, she finds herself embracing a French woman’s way, buying her first ever sets of silky, sexy lingerie.
A random meeting at the famous Buddha Bar with the handsome Marcel Bellamy will have her colliding with the artist of her husband’s painting called ‘The Storm’. Ellie always imagined the two birds in Michael’s painting were doves, but the day after Michael passed, when she looked at the painting, the birds were indisputably two seagulls! For Ellie, it was a sign that her husband was communicating with her through seagulls. She desperately tried to find the artist to ask him had he painted doves or seagulls, to know for certain, but the artist was no longer located in the Melbourne gallery where Michael purchased the painting. He now lived in Paris. Their meeting in Paris was such a random occurrence that Ellie could only imagine the answer to the question she wanted to pose to the artist must be all important.
An affair transpires; Ellie’s question about the birds in Michael’s painting is answered; and by the time she arrives in Varanasi, and takes a boat out onto the holy river, to see the seagulls flying low on the Ganges, to decide for herself whether or not seagulls carry the spirits of those passed from one lifetime into another - as her good friend, Rahul, the Indian taxi driver had told her, she knew she was right to trust in the whispers of her heart that brought her so far beyond the sadness and confines of her grief. Because Ellie persevered through the journey of grief, the universe conspired to give her the answers that she would need to write new chapters for her life, going forward, after Michael.
I’m certain 'Seagulls on the Ganges' was always resting in me, just waiting for me to fall in love, live my experiences and meet with the lessons that would chart a new course for me.
I've so loved writing it. I hope my story touches your heart and empowers you to live your bravest life.
"I'm changed forever because of the inspiration of Ellie Buckley..."
... If you paid more attention to those RANDOM OCCURRENCES in your life that make you stop and wonder, and then you listened to what your heart wanted to make of such moments ... would you be BRAVE TO FOLLOW where your heart wanted to lead you?
28 FULL COLOR IMAGES
OF VARANASI & the SEAGULLS ON THE GANGES
SEAGULLS ON THE GANGES REVIEWS
" 'Seagulls on the Ganges' is Julie Stafford's autobiographical saga of cosmic connectivity and meaningful coincidences ... only those who have felt love in such a sublime form and manner can understand Stafford's (she is Ellie in her story) celestial togetherness with her soulmate, husband, Bruce (Michael) or Michael's longings and cravings to hold onto Ellie from the realms of afterlife. Here, in Stafford's story ... love reaches DIVINITY. " Sumit Paul (Journalist, The Free Press Journal)
The Free Press Journal is one of the oldest English Daily newspapers from Mumbai with a heritage of more than 88 years. And yet, The Free Press Journal is a contemporary paper and rooted in current urban realities. In keeping with the international trend, it has reinvented itself in terms of design, get up and content.
" Ellie’s journey has sparked a decision in me to throw caution to the wind and to break free from my acceptance of having a mediocre life. Instead there is a little voice urging me to take a leap of faith and to declare boldly (even just to myself) that I am heading for an extraordinary life. Like Ellie, I have no clue at all as to how this might unfold, but if I can adopt her strategy and trust the words uttered in my heart rather than listening to the irritating voice that would prefer I stay small, well who knows where life will take me. Ellie encourages us to be brave and bold. She wants us to be still, to be in the moment so that we can find those signposts, the meaningful coincidences that will light our way and help us to move forward when we feel hopelessly stuck..." Debbie South Australia
"There are some books that get under your skin. You feel as if the characters are your friends and there is a sense of loss as you come to the end. Days and even weeks after, you catch yourself thinking about those characters and wondering how they are, what they might be doing… and hoping for a sequel. ‘Seagulls on the Ganges’ was such a book for me. In the midst of heart crushing loss, Ellie’s courage and spirit shone like a beacon..." Lisa Victoria
... There were hundreds of seagulls, all chasing after the boats, flying low, and then ascending to great heights. It was like watching Rahul’s story, about 'moksha' come to life, right before Ellie's eyes. Was it possible that the seagulls were really collecting the souls of the deceased as their ashes were being scattered on the Ganges and delivering them into their next lifetime? Of course, Ellie would never know the answer to these questions, but she loved that her heart was open to the possibility of it...
... In delicate threads of homemade pasta, seasoned with just the right amount of "garlic and chili", generous portions of lobster, fish and clams, all fresh from the Adriatic, the least likely restaurateur bullied Ellie back to life with 'Posip' (Croatia's most famous white wine usually served at banquets); a night at the 'Lindo' (Croatia's popular dance) and he gave Ellie a most profound lesson hidden in an inconsequential stone set firm in the walls of the Franciscan Church on Stradun (Dubrovnik's famous main street). And then, Ellie was stunned to learn that Croatia's most famous love song was a song about a seagull ...
... In Paris, Ellie discovered sets of sleek, silky, sexy lingerie and how it felt against her curves. She even allowed herself an affair with the handsome Marcel Bellamy as the mystery of whether the birds in Michael's painting were doves or seagulls was resolved ...