Dear readers,

The Opal Dragonfly  is launched and has now taken flight!

I had the most amazing book launch with Mark Tedeschi AM, QC doing the honours, lavish in his praise of the novel: "I was enthralled ... the best written book I've read in a decade."

Mark Tedeschi AM, QC (image courtesy of Julie Willis)

Mark Tedeschi AM, QC (image courtesy of Julie Willis)

I have also received some excellent reviews in the last few weeks from online reviewers and on Goodreads and even a mention in the April issue of The Australian Women's Weekly. 

"a memorable, epic work that is destined to become an Australian literary classic." - Historical Novel Society

"beautifully evokes this exciting era in Sydney's history" - The Daily Telegraph

"We need more writers such as Julian Leatherdale in our literary sphere in Australia." Mts B's Book Reviews

"sumptuously wrought Australian historical fiction....a classic, sweeping romance ..with a heart-stopping climax and an immensely satisfying conclusion, as well as a beautiful touch of magic that whispers throughout" - Kim Kelly, historical fiction novelist

A credit to Leatherdale’s superb standard of storytelling. A must read novel, and easily in my top ten reads for 2018. AusRom Today

I had very high expectations let me tell you as his first book PALACE OF TEARS was my joint book of the year in 2015. Julian Leatherdale did not let me down!!! Books and Musings

I have given two well-attended talks about my research at the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts (SMSA) and the Springwood Hub for the Blue Mountains Libraries with more to come:

Sutherland Shire Library - 6.30pm, 14 May, 2018

City of Ryde Library - 6.30pm, 24 May, 2018

I am appearing alongside authors Kirsty Manning and Nicola Moriarty at Better Read Than Dead bookshop in Newtown for their Biggest High Tea - Saturday 26 May, 2018.

My thanks to the management and staff of Sydney Living Museums and to YoungPhil Jang of Sydney Msa for the opportunity to take part in the Thomas Keneally Centre (TKC) series of author talks in the magnificent dining room at Elizabeth Bay House:


Will keep you posted about future events and reviews,




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A daughter sacrifices her reputation, two men bid for the love of a woman, freedom is found in the heart of a dust storm, a father’s legacy reveals past crimes.

 “Miss Isobel Clara Macleod, youngest of the seven children of Major Sir Angus Hutton Macleod, Surveyor-General of the colony of New South Wales, had the singular misfortune to know that at seven o’clock that morning her father was going to die.”

September, 1851. Sydney, city of secrets and gossip. Seventeen-year-old Isobel Macleod is determined to save her father because she loves him. But when she dares to trespass in a forbidden male world, she will be plunged into social disgrace. A wave of ill fortune threatens to swallow up her family and their stately home, Rosemount Hall, ‘the finest house in the colony’ on the foreshores of Sydney Harbour.

Is Isobel to blame for her family’s fate or does the cause lie further in the past? When Isobel was four, Major Macleod returned from an expedition with two ‘souvenirs’: an Aboriginal girl who became her friend and two opals fashioned into a dragonfly brooch for her mother.

When Isobel inherits this ‘unlucky’ heirloom, she wonders if the terrible dreams it summons are a curse or a gift. Now Isobel’s hopes for her future depend on a charming bohemian who encourages her hidden passion to become an artist. Will she now be permanently exiled from her family home? Or will she be transformed into a new self like a magnificent dragonfly emerging into the sunlight?

Inspired by Elizabeth Bay House and the other grand villas of Sydney’s Woolloomooloo Hill, The Opal Dragonfly tells the bittersweet story of an ambitious family’s fall from grace and a brave young woman’s struggle to find her true self.


Angie loved Mr Fox's magnificent, absurd hotel. In fact, it was her one true great love. But ... today Angie was so cross, so fed up with everybody and everything, she would probably cheer if a wave of fire swept over the cliff and engulfed the Palace and all its guests.

A sweltering summer's day, January 1914: the charismatic and ruthless Adam Fox throws a lavish birthday party for his son and heir at his elegant clifftop hotel in the Blue Mountains. Everyone is invited except Angie, the girl from the cottage next door. The day will end in tragedy, a punishment for a family's secrets and lies.

In 2013, Fox's granddaughter Lisa, seeks the truth about the past. Who is this Angie her mother speaks of: 'the girl who broke all our hearts'? Why do locals call Fox's hotel the 'palace of tears'? Behind the grandeur and glamour of its famous guests and glittering parties, Lisa discovers a hidden history of passion and revenge, loyalty and love.

A grand piano burns in the night, a seance promises death or forgiveness, a fire rages in a snowstorm, a painter's final masterpiece inspires betrayal, a child is given away. With twist upon twist, this lush, strange mystery withholds its shocking truth to the very end.