In 1920, at seventeen years of age, Maddie Bright takes a job as a serving girl on the Royal Tour of Australia by Edward, Prince of Wales. She meets the prince’s young staff – his vivacious press secretary Helen Burns, his most loyal man Rupert Waters – and the prince himself – beautiful, boyish, godlike. Maddie might be on the adventure of a lifetime.
Sixty-one years later, Maddie Bright is living a small life in a ramshackle house in Paddington, Brisbane. But an unlooked-for letter has arrived in the mail and there’s news on the television from Buckingham Palace that makes her shout back at the screen. Maddie Bright’s true story may change.
In August 1997, London journalist Victoria Byrd is tasked by her editor with the job of finding the elusive M.A. Bright, author of the classic war novel of ill-fated love, Autumn Leaves. It seems Bright has written a second novel, and Victoria has been handed the scoop. Recently engaged to an American film star, Victoria is horrified by her own sudden celebrity and keen to escape to Australia to follow the story.
Written with real warmth and wit, these three evocative strands twist across the seas and over two continents, intersecting with the lives of Edward and Diana, two of the most loved and hated figures of the twentieth century. The True Story of Maddie Bright is a novel that tells stories and reveals truth; a novel that considers the inescapable ties of mothering, friendship, duty and love.