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From the bestselling author of Looking for Alibrandi comes this perfectly crafted novel about families, relationships and the true nature of belonging.

'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.


I can’t remember when I’ve loved a book so much. It really touched my heart.

Amanda Keller

This is wonderful storytelling – full of humour, tenderness and honesty.

Debra Oswald, creator of Offspring and author of Useful and The Whole Bright Year

A deliciously engaging exploration of love, parenthood and belonging, The Place on Dalhousie charts familiar fictional territory, but Melina Marchetta’s inimitable artistry elevates the novel far beyond the sum of its parts into one of my favourite books of the year . . . 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.

Simon McDonald, https://writtenbysime.com/

Melina Marchetta writes masterfully about messy relationships, whether they are familial or romantic, and her new novel is no exception . . . The Place on Dalhousie is a big-hearted book that addresses grief, new motherhood and finding and defining your own family [that] is bound to be loved . . .

Ellen Cregan, Books and Publishing

I had high expectations going in to The Place on Dalhousie, yet, even though I fully expected to love it, somehow I was still surprised by how very much I adored it this wonderful, big-hearted book. It gave me everything I have come to expect from Melina Marchetta – an emotionally rich story full of deeply flawed and completely lovable characters, a plot that revolves in and around a complicated family history, and more than a few moments that were so utterly heartwarming/heartbreaking I had to stop reading to hug the book/blink away a few tears . . . 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. It’s so absolutely flawless you almost want to applaud! . . . The Place on Dalhousie is a book about family, loss, legacy, friendship, parenting, grief and healing (also there’s some stuff about cars, floods, Italian cooking and netball). But really the only thing you need to know is that it’s written by Melina Marchetta, ergo you are in very safe hands!

Sarah McDuling, https://www.booktopia.com.au/blog/2019/03/05/review-place-on-dalhousie-melina-marchetta/

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    April 2, 2019


    288 pages

    RRP $32.99

    Online retailers

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

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Audio Download


    April 2, 2019

    Penguin Random House Australia Audio

    RRP $26.99

    Online retailers

    • Audible AU
    • Google Play Audio AU
  • EBook


    April 2, 2019

    Penguin eBooks

    288 pages

    Online retailers

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


Chapter One

It’s rained for forty days and forty nights, so when a guy who looks like Jesus in orange SES overalls comes to stand next to her, Rosie thinks it’s all a bit biblical.

Up on the meat-raffle stage, the pot-bellied chief of emergency services is trying to get a word in. He’s just mentioned the words ‘forced evacuation’ and the whole place is in an uproar. Some old bloke yells out that the Dawson threatens to flood every year and it’s nothing to get their knickers in a twist about. The mayor is pushing for evacuation.

‘Kev and his people aren’t putting their lives at risk for you stubborn mongrels,’ he’s shouting over everyone. ‘Move out of the low-lying areas now or you’ll be cut off for at least a week.’

Rosie feels SES Jesus’s stare and she makes eye contact. He’s a bit older than her, but not that much. Mid-twenties, maybe. Or younger, but he seems like he’s been around.

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