Dalhousie: 8th April 2019

I’m going to try not to use the word “overwhelmed” too many times, but I have been overwhelmed indeed this week. So much love. I always knew that my readership would take this novel out into the world and I have loved every moment of talking about it with them.

And of course, getting off a plane and seeing the image below was pretty impressive.

If you are in Canberra tomorrow (Tuesday) I’ll be speaking at Muse with the very funny and talented Sean Costello at 5.30, so come down for a drink.

I’ve also been part of smart podcasts and interviews, so I’ll add them here when I have the time.

Today I spoke with Claire Nichols on Radio National’s Book Show and loved it. Here it is.

30th March: Dalhousie Misc

So The Place on Dalhousie is coming out in two days, and this is what you need to know if you are in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane this week and next. Please check my events page for further details because I think they all need bookings

Sydney: Better Read Than Dead event at Erskineville on Tuesday the 2nd April, 6.30pm

Sydney: The Bathers Pavillion LIterary Luncheon on Wednesday the 3rd April

Melbourne: Readings Carlton event on Thursday the 4th April, 6.30pm

Canberra: Muse Tuesday 9th April, 5.30pm

Brisbane: Thursday 11th – Brisbane City Library 12pm and Avid Reader 6.30pm

Hornsby: Library event Tuesday 16th April, 6pm

Also, here are a few early blog reviews (no spoilers, and I promise I won’t do this every week).

There’s nothing quite like that moment in a Melina Marchetta book when all the threads of the story come together in a series of almost magical coincidences. Whether she is writing young adult fiction, adult fiction or fantasy, you will usually encounter a few unexpected connections and long buried secrets woven through the plotlines of Marchetta’s books. Some might call it a recurring theme of destiny and/or coincidence. Others might call it a very faint hint of magical realism. I prefer to call it perfect storytelling. Every time you come to the end of a Melina Marchetta book, there is a feeling of pitch-perfect rightness.

(Sarah McDuling, Booktopia)

I can think of no higher praise for Melina, than saying that she writes young female characters who don’t give a shit if you like them or not – they’ve been through enough in their life, and trying to be “likeable” and “nice” is low on their list of priorities, and not nearly as important as learning to trust themselves and who to let into their complicated lives. Their flaws make these characters more interesting – not less likeable. Melina makes you work to really know these women, and to love them – but once you do, there’s no going back (as true for readers as other characters). 

(Danielle Binks, Alpha Reader)

This is a book with so much heart, and traverses such a rich emotional landscape, with a deftness rarely displayed. Hard to put down, impossible to forget, The House on Dalhousie is one of those precious books you don’t want to end. I would’ve happily spent another 300 pages with Rosie, Jimmy, Martha, Ewan and co.

(Simon McDonald, Bookseller)

With The Place on Dalhousie, Marchetta proves she is one of our best writers of contemporary human drama and one of Australia’s finest crafters of character and dialogue. Her characters are smart, tough and vulnerable. They have that lived-in feeling where they seem to exist in this world even after you close the pages of the book. To some extent, that is because this is a sequel of sorts. Those familiar with Marchetta’s previous novels Saving Francesca and The Piper’s Son will recognise Jimmy and his high-school friends, whose easy friendship and mid-twenties growing pains will thrill and delight fans of those books.

(Jackie Tang, Readings Bookseller)

2019 Events So far

In case this doesn’t appear on a site page:


Better Read Than Dead  – In conversation

St Stephens Erskineville




Pages & Pages Literary Event

The Bather’s Pavillion

4 The EsplanadeBalmoral Beach

12pm Lunch



 Readings Carlton Event

Church of All Nations

180 Palmerston StreetCarlton VIC





60 Canberra Avenue



 Booking details to come www.musecanberra.com.au  


Brisbane City Library

266 George StreetBrisbane



 Avid Reader Bookshop

193 Boundary Street

West End, 4101




Hornsby Library

28-44 George Street




Dalhousie Street

I’ve been told that any day now I’ll be receiving my copy of The Place on Dalhousie. Very exciting.

Just to give you a rundown on the title, Dalhousie Street is actually a real place in Haberfield, which is in Sydney’s inner-west. It used to be predominantly Italian and still has a strong Italian influence. For those who have read my contemporary novels (Saving Francesca and The Piper’s Son) the inner west features strongly in both novels. For me, all three novels are a love song to the area.

A frequently asked question is whether one has to read Saving Francesca and The Piper’s Son first. No. The Place on Dalhousie is an adult, stand alone novel. I love the idea of readers being introduced to some of these characters as adults and then going off to read the earlier works.

But to be clear, the novel is about Martha and Rosie and Jimmy and a whole lot of new characters.

I’ll leave you with a few pieces of conversation Jimmy has with some of the older people in his life throughout the novel. It’s my advice to myself most of the time. You may recognise a character or two.


‘Any advice?’ Jimmy asks, because someone like Dom Mackee had seen the dark side, but managed to get his family back.

“Yes,’ Dom says. ‘Don’t be scared to ask for help.’


…and because he asked Dom Mackee for advice, he asks Mia the same.

“Guilt is a burden, so forgive yourself for the mistakes.’


‘Any advice, Min?’ Jimmy asks.

She thinks a moment. ‘Easy. The kids always come first.’


I have a list of events in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane in April, so check out my 2019 events page.

This week I’ll answer any questions in the comments, so feel free to ask what you like.

The Place on Dalhousie

First things first, Happy New Year!

Here are answers to frequently asked questions.

Release date of The Place on Dalhousie is 1st of April.

In Australian, it can be purchased at most bookstores and online.  There’ll also be an audio book coming out on the same day.

If you live outside Australia, you can pre-order the novel from The Book Depository.


Below I have extracts.  Don’t ask me to chose which of the three characters I love best, because I have equal love for all.


On the way home, her phone beeps a message and her heart leaps for an instant and it’s how she knows. It’s a Pavlov’s dog thing. The only person who texts her is SES Jesus so the instant euphoria at the sound of the buzz spells trouble. He’s texted her once or twice during the week. Wants to know how Toto’s doing, so she sends a photo. Wants to know how she’s doing. You okay? Rosie’s trying to have a guy-free year just to prove to herself that she can. She’s surprised that she misses talking most of all because she didn’t date many guys who were chatty. But he was. Not as much anymore. She decides not to respond to texts asking how she is, because then Rosie’ll end up sleeping with this guy and him being Toto’s father is tricky. She can’t go around screwing up.


He’s home, and he knows he’s home because they’re here and that’s the way it is, just the certainty that one of them will always be around, and it feels like everything’s going to be okay in a way that it hasn’t since that phone call, and he’s hugging the three of them because he’s become the sort of person who goes straight for the clinch, because once that hug came from Frankie Spinelli years ago he knew his days of holding back were over. And everything looks the same and different, and he has one of those epiphanies in front of the clocks outside Central on Elizabeth Street next to a guy selling The Big Issue. That regardless of where his car took him and what he didn’t end up finding, he’s part of this city too and he realises that they’re all laughing and that he’s said it all out loud.

‘Shut up, Jimmy!’

And the girls link their arms with his and Mackee takes Jimmy’s duffel, and he’s so overwhelmed by them, and the city, and being home, that he forgets why he’s really here, and just lets it all settle in.

That he’s home.


Martha’s just got cable. She’s catching up on every movie she’s missed since marrying Seb and losing him. That covers six years and anything made since 2005. Last week she was engrossed in the Sex and the City movie, which did inspire her to go from blonde to brunette because the change of hair colour seemed to work a treat in the film. And she found herself watching it over and over again, just to get to the part where Carrie Bradshaw compares the loss of the unreliable Big, who stands her up at the altar, with the death of a loved one. Not even close, Carrie. Because men who stand you up at the altar still get to walk back into your life a year later holding a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes. Dead ones stay dead. This week she’s moved on to the foreign films. She’s given up on the French masterpiece Hidden, because the meaning of it was too hidden, so now she’s onto a Romanian one.


The Place on Dalhousie


(Release date March 2019)

‘You look the type to break your father’s heart.’
‘Yeah, but he broke mine first.’

When Rosie Gennaro first meets Jimmy Hailler, she has walked away from life in Sydney, leaving behind the place on Dalhousie that her father, Seb, painstakingly rebuilt for his family but never saw completed. Two years later, Rosie returns to the house and living there is Martha, whom Seb Gennaro married less than a year after the death of Rosie’s mother. Martha is struggling to fulfil Seb’s dream, while Rosie is coming to terms with new responsibilities. And so begins a stand-off between two women who refuse to move out of the home they both lay claim to.

As the battle lines are drawn, Jimmy Hailler re-enters Rosie’s life. Having always watched other families from the perimeters, he’s now grappling, heartbreakingly, with forming one of his own . . .

An unforgettable story about losing love and finding love; about the interconnectedness of lives and the true nature of belonging, from one of our most acclaimed writers.

(From Penguin Random House website)