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A Room Made of Leaves

Narrated by: Valerie Bader
Length: 9 hrs and 22 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (53 ratings)

Non-member price: $42.54

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Publisher's Summary

What if Elizabeth Macarthur – wife of the notorious John Macarthur, wool baron in early Sydney – had written a shockingly frank secret memoir? 

In her introduction Kate Grenville tells, tongue firmly in cheek, of discovering a long-hidden box containing that memoir. What follows is a playful dance of possibilities between the real and the invented. 

Grenville's Elizabeth Macarthur is a passionate woman managing her complicated life-marriage to a ruthless bully, the impulses of her own heart and the search for power in a society that gave her none - with spirit, cunning and sly wit. 

Her memoir reveals the dark underbelly of the polite world of Jane Austen. It explodes the stereotype of the women of the past - devoted and docile, accepting of their narrow choices. That was their public face - here's what one of them really thought. 

At the heart of this book is one of the most toxic issues of our times – the seductive appeal of false stories. Beneath the surface of Elizabeth Macarthur's life and the violent colonial world she navigated are secrets and lies with the dangerous power to shape reality. 

©2020 Kate Grenville (P)2020 Bolinda Publishing

Critic Reviews

"There is no doubt Grenville is one of our greatest writers." (The Sunday Mail)

"Kate Grenville is a literary alchemist, turning the leaden shadow of the historical Elizabeth Macarthur into a luminescent, golden woman for our times. Intelligent, compassionate, strategic and dead sexy, Grenville’s Macarthur is an unforgettable character who makes us question everything we thought we knew about our colonial past. A polished gem of a novel by a writer who is as brave as she is insightful. I simply loved it." (Clare Wright)

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Not what I was expecting

I love Kate’s books and pre purchased this one but I was expecting something very different. Her usual touch and sense of humour is completely missing as is her special ability to create Aussie characters that resonate in time.

This book instead is a previously unpublished autobiography very slightly edited. It’s missing massive parts of the history of MacArthur and ends really abruptly.

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A story backed by leaves

This fascinating and engrossing story of Elizabeth McArthur and by unavoidable "association' her husband John would.hard to to be tell without a strong understanding of colonial history.As a New Zealander I hear depicted a lot of experiences that our two countries shared The subjugation of the original inhabitants, colonial rule as deemed appropriate by assorted British appointees of equally assorted abilities and thee establishment of agriculture on occupied lands to feed the growing population of migrants and like here line the pockets of the wealthy.
I have sat in Mrs McAthur's seat overlooking the sparkling waters of Sydney harbour and tried to imagine what it must it must ve been like there when it wax 'Room made of leaves"
Kate Grenville has produced a compelling story which draws the reader in by the realism of her settings and narrative.. While Elizabeth. is really the main character her story could not be told without the strong' presence of her husband John. Just as his failing and foibles are well documented Kate ;also explores Elizabeth's character not flinching from showing her as a believable human being

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Accent check

Someone might have checked what a Devonian accent sounds like... NOT northern! Apart from that, I enjoyed the book.

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  • Paula Beavan
  • 02-08-2020

Exquisite

There isn’t much more to say. So well written and researched. Not to mention relatable.