KIM KELLY - AMAZON REVIEW - MAY

‘A city built on lies and secrets,’ is the Sydney of Julian Leatherdale’s sumptuously wrought Australian historical fiction, The Opal Dragonfly.

This journey back to 1850s New South Wales is elegantly written, visually stunning and richly detailed – the work of an author who treats his subjects with utmost care and honesty.

At the centre of the novel is Isobel McLeod, at once a delightfully feisty heroine and complex young woman of talent and intellectual energy. Around her, Leatherdale brilliantly gathers and tames the sprawling social and political beginnings of the colony, and in doing so begs many questions of what’s changed in terms of our blindness to our own brashness, bigotries and injustices. He challenges the reader to consider with unblinking eyes the fact that success is too often built on the losses of others; that Australia’s origins are built atop a vast pit of long-buried crimes.

Thoroughly entertaining to boot, The Opal Dragonfly is a classic, sweeping romance in the traditional sense of the word, with a heart-stopping climax and an immensely satisfying conclusion, as well as a beautiful touch of magic that whispers throughout. A most absorbing and illuminating read – prepare for a couple of late nights!

HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY - MAY 2018

HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY - MAY 2018

The Opal Dragonfly is an ambitious undertaking that presents all of the class bigotry and narrow-mindedness of the era. Its characters and awkward coming-of-age scenes are reminiscent of Austen. That, combined with Dickensian social realism, has resulted in Leatherdale creating a memorable, epic work that is destined to become an Australian literary classic.

THE BOOK MUSE - THE OPAL DRAGONFLY - MARCH 14, 2018

"It is at times touching, and other times harrowing and despairing, it encapsulates the desires to uncover secrets, and the flaws and fragility of human life and society, against a backdrop of colonialism and the assumptions of class, race and gender." 

"the complexity of relationships that Leatherdale explores with depth, shock and great emotion, so that there are some things that are unexpected, but work exquisitely to tell Isobel’s story."

MRS B's BOOK REVIEWS - THE OPAL DRAGONFLY - 18TH MARCH, 2018

Five Stars

"We need more writers such as Julian Leatherdale in our literary sphere in Australia. Julian Leatherdale’s commitment to bringing Australia’s past to life is to be applauded, thank you so very much to Julian for bringing us The Opal Dragonfly."

ONE OF MY FIRST REVIEWS - BOOKSELLER + PUBLISHING

This lovely early review from the book trade journal 'Bookseller + PublisHING' has just been unlocked from the archives.

Palace of Tears (Julian Leatherdale, A&U)

26 February 2015   Unlocked content from the archive.

Fans of historical sagas will be satiated with this epic tale of family, mystery and passion set against the backdrop of an opulent Blue Mountains hotel. Facing her mother’s decline from Alzheimer’s, Lisa is spurred into delving into her family’s past by a historian researching the family’s former hotel. Based on the real Hydro Majestic, the hotel bears witness to history, from the Edwardian era to the Jazz Age, both World Wars, and into the 1950s, and brings to light Australia’s horrific treatment of ‘enemy aliens’ during the wars. The book, like the glamorous hotel it celebrates, brims with detail, amid great love affairs, tragedies, hidden identities, art, scandal, fame and bushfires. The picturesque Blue Mountains region also plays a vivid role. The third-person narrative and clear chapter headings make the plot easy to follow, despite the jumps in time required by this genre. Some reduction in detail may have been beneficial, and an unsolved element was puzzling. Minor quibbles aside, however, the tension climbs tightly towards a cracker of an ending. This book should attract a broad readership—its historical and local content is likely to appeal to a cross-section of fiction readers—and don’t be surprised to find it adapted for the screen. This is the first novel from Blue Mountains-based writer Julian Leatherdale.

Joanne Shiells is a former retail book buyer and editor of Books+Publishing

 

 

Category: Reviews

 

 

MORE HEARTFELT REVIEWS FROM GERMANY - LOVELYBOOKS

I could not ask for a more enthusiastic response from my German readers. Out of 15 books given away through the lovelybooks website there are now 14 reviews posted. Here is one from Buchswagger (excuse Google translation):

Simply indescribable!

The Cover:
I am simply in love with the cover! The whole design and presentation is wonderful.
The retro colors were perfectly selected, the lettering and i really like the flowers on the edge round the whole and made it perfect. The pictured girl also fits just great with the content. I really like it.

Characters:
I found them all great. They were perfectly prepared and selected. The mixture of many different characters I liked very well. Everyone had something to him, some special powers. Everyone was simply unique. I could laugh with them, empathise, look ... the full program. It has given me great fun to read.

Writing style:
the style of writing has me completely convinced as he was wonderfully fluid to read. I could forget everything around me and be immersed in the history. He has made me much more than tied up and in the spell. The changing levels of time i have enjoyed very much.

Conclusion:
I absolutely love it. I have this reception is not equal at the end of the book written, I wanted to sit the whole again and find the right words. The book deserves much more than my writing.I will keep this book will not easily forget that even now I can not really grasp in words. It was just great, in every way! The book I can only recommend from the heart, it was really worth it!

ALL FIVE-STAR REVIEW FROM GERMANY

I am thrilled that my first review from Germany is so positive on the blog literaturschock - "A SUCCESSFUL DEBUT FROM AUSTRALIA".

http://www.literaturschock.de/literatur/belletristik/liebesromane-und-erotik/discussions/review?id=10145

"Julian Leatherdale has completely convinced with a mix of historical facts and a sensitive yet exciting fictional story... I empathise well with the characters...successful twists keep the voltage ... high...a very convincing debut...it has hardly left me while reading."

I include below an excerpt (for non-German speakers like myself) in a Google translate version (my apologies) to give some indication of this enthusiastic and thoughtful review.

A core theme of the novel is the situation of German immigrants and their descendants around the I. and II. World War. Even if many of German descent were now firmly integrated and naturalized, they were quickly stigmatized with the beginning of the war and soon interned as potential spies. The warehouse from which the author tells Julian Leatherdale, actually existed and is a sign of the rising anti-German sentiments that sparked in many English-speaking countries, especially the II. World War. That this was also the case in Australia, however, I have only learned by reading this book.

Mich Julian Leatherdale has completely convinced with its mix of historical facts and a sensitive, yet exciting fictional story. The story is in the third person from different angles, which represent different times tells and thus makes an overview possible. I could understand the different perspectives, I empathize well with the characters and thus also dive into the action. In addition, successful twists keep the voltage constant high so that kept really caught me the book ...

For me, a very convincing debut that has convinced me all along the line! It has hardly left me while reading.

'A GOTHIC FICTION MASTERPIECE'

Paula Xibberas' review for Tasmanian Times:

"This debut novel is a Gothic fiction masterpiece. The gothic genre... usually comprises elements such as ‘horror, romance and the demise of characters’ ironically perhaps with ‘a pleasing sort of terror’.

‘Palace of Tears’ includes these elements and more.  There is horror with a childhood tragedy, forbidden romances, the loss of some characters and the recovery of others, all with a suitable level of fear and terror. There are ghosts imagined and perhaps some real, a burning piano does so with drama and a visual artistic masterpiece is created.'

- See more at: http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/books-article/passionate-palatial-page-turner/#sthash.g2A7Jn81.dpuf

'MY 2015 BOOK OF THE YEAR' - BOOKS AND MUSINGS FROM DOWNUNDER

I have just read my 2015 book of the year; a book that kept me enthralled; a book that I actually deliberately read slowly because I didn’t want it to end; a book that moved me to my very core.

Julian Leatherdale has gone onto that small list of mine where I write the names of authors who I would read their shopping list if they published it.

I carved out extra reading time just so I could finish it. This book got carted into the bathroom with me, read over meals, read at work, and/or kept me up late at night. If this author has more work, I will certainly read it.


GREAT AUSSIE REVIEWS - REVIEWS OF GREAT AUSTRALIAN BOOKS

"Palace of Tears is an absorbing novel filled with stories of love, betrayal and secrets... the reader uncovers the truth along with Lisa as well as coming to understand the motivations and personalties of the characters. This debut novel is a captivating mix of family saga, romance and historical fiction."

- Sally Murphy, children's writer, winner of WA Premier's Award 2010

REVIEW FROM A NEW ZEALAND FAN

 

"Palace of Tears by Julian Leatherdale is a blissful read....I would happily re-read this book any time. The characters and the storyline are nuanced and well written...The relationships between the characters also feel very real and have genuine emotional depth to them."

Miriam from Christchurch -' Create, Hope, Inspire' - 26 August, 2015