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The Lost Letters of Rose Carey

So delighted was I after reading this terrific novel that I gushed to author Julie Bennett straight away.


“Julie Julie Julie! Bravo!

I’ve just finished Rose and pushed through my Covid infused haze to smash it out in two sittings. It was just as fabulous as expected and I loved it to bits! Great characters and a sensationally twisty ending– just the way I like them. You’ve done Annette proud! Congratulations! I feel a reprint coming soon!”

The Lost Letters of Rose Carey is inspired by one of my favourite women in history– the Australian swimmer, dancer, actor and health entrepreneur, Annette Kellermann. In the creation of main character, Rose, author Julie Bennett pays tribute to one amazing woman.


The dual timeline historical begins in current day Sydney, with protagonist and digital videographer, Emma, awaiting confirmation of her wife’s IVF results.  Set between 1923 and current day, when Emma finds a crate of film reels and a parcel of letters in a hotel in the Blue Mountains, she is curious to learn of a mysterious set of incidents that surrounded the life of a silent movie star, and infamous golden girl, Rose Carey.


Rose is feisty, sensual, dramatic and ambitious. She has the ‘never say die’ attitude that every strong female protagonist needs, yet it is her vulnerability that brought her to life for me. The language is spot-on, I suspect Julie’s performing background played a part here, but it seamlessly and clearly places you in the 1920s, and vividly captures Rose’s essence.

Emma is more introverted; her love and care for her gregarious wife is an honest portrayal and touchingly beautiful. Drawn to discover more about Rose Carey’s life, she delves into the past, savouring the letters she finds to read in sequence. As events unfold, she uncovers a forgotten story of subterfuge, danger and mystery that made headlines in its day.


The pace of the story had me turning the pages; the switch from one protagonist to another adds an element of drama and tension. What I loved most was how the epistolary style was used in the novel. The letters are a brilliant device and maintain the high-level intrigue. And the way Emma secretes the letters away, reading them while procrastinating from facing change in the dynamics of her marriage and career is totally believable. At the final stages, the plot thickens and twists — this is a mystery you will want to solve. And did I mention the (I need some air) steamy sex scenes?


I loved The Lost Letters of Rose Carey and I’m sure you will too.

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