Kate Grenville's return to the territory of The Secret River is historical fiction turned inside out, a stunning sleight of hand by one of Australia's most celebrated writers.
What if Elizabeth Macarthur–wife of the notorious John Macarthur, wool baron in the earliest days of Sydney–had written a candid secret memoir? And what if novelist Kate Grenville had miraculously found and published it? That's the starting point for A Room Made of Leaves, a dance of possibilities between worlds real and invented.
Marriage to a ruthless bully, the impulses of her heart, the search for power in a society that gave women none: Grenville's Elizabeth Macarthur manages her complicated life with spirit and passion, cunning and wit. Her memoir lets us hear what a seemingly demure woman of history might really have thought.
At the heart of A Room Made of Leaves is one of the most toxic issues of our own age: the seductive appeal of false stories. This book may be set in the past, but it's just as much about the present, where secrets and lies have the power to shape reality.