Julie Bennett author talk at Goulburn Mulwaree Library

Goulburn Mulwaree Council


On Saturday 2 July at 3pm Goulburn Mulwaree Library will be hosting author Julie Bennett to talk about her debut novel The Understudy.

Inspired by her father’s long operatic career and her own early experiences on stage in the Sydney Opera House as a child extra, Julie Bennett delivers a breathtaking debut novel that immerses readers into the underbelly of the theatre world and the gritty streets of Sydney in 1973.

The Understudy is a tale of ambition, passion and treachery. It is the story of Sophie, an up-and-coming soprano, and a prima donna, Margaret, who is due to perform the title role in Madama Butterfly at the Royal Opening of the Sydney Opera House in 1973. When Margaret mysteriously disappears, Sophie steps centre stage and into the arms of world-famous Italian tenor, Armando Cecchi. It’s her time to shine but with Margaret still missing, Sophie knows she has to be very careful in the spotlight.

Julie Bennett was born in Auckland, New Zealand and migrated to Australia after her father was offered a full-time role as a tenor in the Australian Opera Company.

“I hope [readers] are caught up in the stories of two women who share the same passion and ambition but whose life experience take them in challenging directions,” Julie said.

“I also hope they fall in love with the Sydney Opera House, the city of Sydney, and Australia, in the same way I did.”

The Understudy is the best kind of historical fiction; equal parts romance and mystery, ambition and betrayal, along with a generous helping of richly portrayed historical details that weave an enticing spell on the reader. Julie’s thoughtful construction of authentic, multi-layered characters in a timelessly vivid setting, along with tantalising emotional intrigue, combine to create a love letter to historic Sydney and its glamorous operatic nightlife.

The talk will begin at 3pm on Saturday 2 July 2022, held in the Goulburn Mulwaree Library, and will be followed by a meet and greet with the author.

Copies of The Understudy will be available for sale, with thanks to The Bookshop Bowral. Bookings are essential, and be made at www.trybooking.com/BZWMT or by contacting the Library on (02) 4823 4435.

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