The True Story of Maddie Bright by Mary-Rose MacColl: Your Preview Verdict

The True Story of Maddie Bright by Mary-Rose MacColl: Your Preview Verdict

Our latest Preview title was The True Story of Maddie Bright by Mary-Rose MacColl – a powerful novel that tells important stories and reveals truths; a novel that skilfully considers the inescapable ties of mothering, friendship, duty and love.

Preview reviewers have described the book as a must-read for fans of quality historical fiction. Take a look at these stellar reviews:

‘Wow, this is a standout historical fiction novel. Absolutely loved it. It definitely takes you on an historical journey over three different time periods. The time periods are seamlessly entwined and flow beautifully. The characters experience love, friendship, sadness and many secrets and take you as the reader along with the storyline. I could not put the book down and did not want the book to finish. I really fell in love with all of the characters, in particular Rupert Waters, young Maddie and Victoria. This is a must-read for lovers of historical fiction, especially Australian historical fiction. Exceptional story. After finishing this story I have got a ‘book hangover’ and will find it extremely hard to start another book.’ – Yvette, NSW

‘An engrossing read for those who love family sagas based loosely on historical events. There are four main sub plots – 1915 when an ambulance driver and the Prince of Wales’ batman meet in the war zone of France; a young Maddie Bright who gets a job as correspondence secretary for that Prince of Wales during his tour to Australia in 1920: a young journalist who is writing in London at the time of Diana, Princess of Wales’ death in 1997; and Maddie Bright’s later life in Australia. These plots are skilfully woven, with enough intrigue and hints to keep the reader interested until they are all tied together in the last few pages. The author stresses it is a work of fiction. The account of Diana’s death and funerals rang true as far as the newspaper reports of the time went. The behaviour of the Prince of Wales on the 1920 tour would have to be pure conjecture but made me wonder if the traits in his character explained some of his reluctance to take on the throne and his abdication not long after. This book should be a hit in 2019!’ – Sue, WA

‘What a great book! The characters are real, rounded people, the settings are evocative, and the dialogue is really good. The intertwined stories mesh well with some unexpected turns. There is a sense of historical reality too, looks like some good research went into the writing! All in all, an excellent read.’ – Victoria, NSW

The True Story of Maddie Bright had me hooked from the first few pages and left me wanting to know how it all ends. The hybrid story-line, with its mix of fiction and non-fiction, provides an interesting twist, coupled with characters who are loveable, heartbreaking and frustrating all at once. The main theme centres around the royal family and their secret lives, forever intriguing to their followers, and is brought out in the open. Hardened by past events, Maddie’s tone over the different periods of her life is transformed from a bubbly and imaginative young girl, to older Maddie who, for a reason we are yet to discover, has kept everyone in her life at arm’s length, but at the same time is longing for human companionship. Maddie is caring, kind, and fiercely protective of those loyal to her. When all the characters’ stories finally come together, the emotion is well worth the wait. If you love Kate Morton’s style and cross-time period chapters, then The True Story of Maddie Bright is the book for you.’ – Brooke, VIC

‘I loved every single page of The True Story of Maddie Bright. I loved Maddie old and young. I am only sorry I have to say goodbye to her now. I loved the royal tour- love that I can picture Harry going about his recent tour in the same vein. I loved the empathy and warmth towards the characters and subject matter contained here. I loved it. The themes of love, friendship, truth, youth and wonder are all so loving handled. The scenery and descriptions are gorgeous. The book is just lovely and I wish it hadn’t ended. Have I mentioned I loved it?’ – Anna, NSW

Read all the Preview reviews for The True Story of Maddie Bright here.


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.
Mary-Rose MacColl
About the author

Mary-Rose MacColl

Mary-Rose MacColl is an Australian writer whose first novel, No Safe Place, was runner-up in the 1995 Australian Vogel literary award. Her first non-fiction book, The Birth Wars, was a finalist in the 2009 Walkley Awards. In Falling Snow (October 2012), Mary-Rose's fourth novel, tells the largely unknown story of a small group of Scottish women who ran a field hospital for France in World War I in an old abbey. MacColl holds degrees in journalism and creative writing and lives in Brisbane, Australia with her husband and son.

Books by Mary-Rose MacColl


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  1. Annette says:

    Wow!! Brilliant Mary-Rose x x