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What is the fascinating secret of a long-lost sapphire ring?

Marli is staying with her dad in Melbourne, and missing her friends. Then she discovers a mystery – a crumbling, abandoned mansion is to be returned to her family after ninety years. Marli sneaks into the locked garden to explore, and meets Luca, a boy who has his own connection to Riversleigh.

A peacock hatbox, a box camera and a key on a velvet ribbon provide clues to what happened long ago . . .

In 1922, Violet is fifteen. Her life is one of privilege, with boating parties, picnics and extravagant balls. An army of servants looks after the family – including new chauffeur Nikolai Petrovich, a young Russian émigré.
Over one summer, Violet must decide what is important to her. Who will her sister choose to marry? What will Violet learn about Melbourne’s slums as she defies her father’s orders to help a friend? And what breathtaking secret is Nikolai hiding?

Violet is determined to control her future. But what will be the price of her rebellion?


The Lost Sapphire will appeal to readers who like a strong female character and a historical setting. Suited to ages 8-12 years.

Sunday Telegraph, Sydney

[The Lost Sapphire is] deftly woven by Murrell in this charming novel, with strong female characters, involving Russian royalty, glittering 1920s parties and looking at a person’s sense of place and identity. Murrel sprinkles her gem of a book with historical details that will make young readers want to find out more.

Troy Lennon, Daily Telegraph, Sydney

Belinda’s books appeal to all ages and her historical fiction novels are some of the best around. The Lost Sapphire is a fascinating time-slip novel, and, as usual, Murrell handles the time-slip beautifully . . . Belinda weaves these two stories together with skill and The Lost Sapphire is set to become another firm favourite in my school library.

Megan Daley, ABC Bookworms

Highly recommended . . . [The Lost Sapphire] uncovers the history of the privileged and the poor in the 1920s, the post-war period still coming to grips with the loss of many young men, the growth of industrialisation, and the beginning of a change in the role of women and in their expectations. This unveiling is captivating . . . I can highly recommend this to young readers who love historical fiction (older family members will enjoy this too!).

Carolyn Hull, ReadPlus

This is an enjoyable and quintessentially Australian novel, that touches on important historical events such as World War 1 and the Russian revolution and ties them into the lives of everyday people. The characters are believable, and both Marli and Violet will be relatable to their target audience, teen and pre-teen girls. Recommended for public and secondary libraries.

Rebecca Kemble, Magpies

This is a fascinating and wonderful historical book that is really two stories in one . . . The intertwining of the lives of the characters in this story is fabulous and when you eventually find out the full family history, you will start to think of your own family and how our lives are sculpted by decisions made by those before us. Girls in Year 5 and up will thoroughly enjoy this.

Sam, lamontbooks.com.au

I savoured this book and didn’t want it to end – as I have with all the titles in the series . . . Whether she is writing for a younger audience in her wonderful Lulu Bell series or for the Year 5+ age group, Belinda Murrell has the ability to craft fascinating stories that engage even old readers like me . . . this is such a great series that it needs to be known.

Barbara Branxton, thebottomshelf.edublogs.org

As usual, Belinda has woven a story of complete authenticity and within her fiction has much for us to learn about a period of time and events in Australia that are not widely known. It is fascinating and engaging and will undoubtedly be as hugely popular as the other titles in this wonderful ‘time slip’ series . . . Highly recommended for girls in Year 5 upwards.

Sue Warren, losangzopa.wordpress.com

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    May 16, 2016

    Random House Australia Children's

    320 pages

    RRP $17.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    May 16, 2016

    Random House Australia

    320 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks

Awards and Recognition

  • CBCA Book of the Year Awards
    Notable Book
    Younger Readers
  • KOALA Children's Choice Awards
    Hall of Fame