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