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Restless Dolly Maunder

Restless Dolly Maunder: Shortlisted for the 2024 Women’s Prize for Fiction

Kate Grenville

  • awardShortlisted, Women’s Prize for Fiction, United Kingdom, 2024
  • awardLonglisted, Fiction, Indie Book Awards, 2024
  • Dolly Maunder was born at the end of the nineteenth century, when society’s long-locked doors were starting to creak ajar for women. Growing up in a poor farming family in country New South Wales but clever, energetic and determined, Dolly spent her restless life pushing at those doors.

    Most women like her have disappeared from view, remembered only in family photo albums as remote figures in impossible clothes, or maybe for a lemon-pudding recipe handed down through the generations. Restless Dolly Maunder brings one of these women to life as someone we can recognise and whose struggles we can empathise with.

    In this compelling new novel, Kate Grenville uses family memories to imagine her way into the life of her grandmother. This is the story of a woman, working her way through a world of limits and obstacles, who was able—if at a cost—to make a life she could call her own. Her battles and triumphs helped to open doors for the women who came after.


    ABC Melbourne: The Friday Revue   
    ABC Radio National: The Book Show    
    Age: Eight books to read    
    Australian Book Review ($)   
    Compulsive Reader     
    Daily Mail (UK)    
    Guardian: ‘Exciting’, ‘bold’, ‘laugh out loud’: the best Australian books out in July    
    Sydney Morning Herald    
    The Times (UK) ($)
    Times Literary Supplement (UK)    

    Kate Grenville
    About the Author

    Kate Grenville is one of Australia’s most celebrated writers. Her international bestseller The Secret River was awarded local and overseas prizes, has been adapted for the stage and as an acclaimed television miniseries, and is now a much-loved classic. Grenville’s other novels include Sarah Thornhill, The Lieutenant, Dark Places and the Orange...

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    Text publication date:
    30 April 2024
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    Praise for Kate Grenville
    andRestless Dolly Maunder

    ‘There is no doubt Grenville is one of our greatest writers.’

    ‘[Grenville] is a gift of a writer.’

    ‘Nobody writes historical fiction like Kate Grenville. Again and again she has brought history—both the official records and the messy tensions in the margins—to life…Women like Dolly Maunder rarely make it into the history books. Here, she’s honoured by one of our best.’

    ‘Grenville uses exacting research to imagine her way into the life of another—this time a woman she once feared, and with whom she appeared to have come to some understanding.’

    ‘…the writing sparkles with Grenville’s gift for transcendently clear imagery…a work of history, biography, story and memoir, all fused into a novel that suggests the great potential of literary art as redeemer, healer and pathway to understanding.’

    ‘Grenville’s quiet and insightful prose makes this book a joy and an inspiration to read.’

    ‘Grenville’s achievement in this deeply moving book is that in resurrecting the woman behind her grim-faced grandmother, she’s given us insight into a generation too easily dismissed as archaic, narrow-minded, inflexible and slightly ridiculous. Yet again, she’s transformed faded history into something pulsing and alive.’

    ‘Family memoir and reimagined history dovetail beautifully in Restless Dolly Maunder.’

    ‘A powerful novel about a woman determined to rise above her station…It feels like a privilege to share in Grenville’s indomitable grandmother’s journey.‘

    ‘It is to the author’s credit that she offers us the ambivalence and complex textures of experience without losing the rhythm and pace of realist fiction. The landscapes, townscapes and domestic interiors are as vivid and memorable as we have come to expect from her writing, and the large cast is always kept in focus.’

    ‘Grenville, who has made a career from filling in the gaps in the lives of forgotten Australian women from history, tells Dolly’s story swiftly, cleanly and compassionately, all the while refusing to let this difficult, furious woman off the hook. Excellent.’

    ‘The masterful Grenville addresses the question of why this brilliant, frustrated woman struggled to express love to her children with clarity and compassion in a swift, thoroughly absorbing book.’

    Other editions ofRestless Dolly Maunder
    • Restless Dolly Maunder
      ISBN: 9781922791436
      18 July 2023
      Buy ebook
    • Restless Dolly Maunder
      ISBN: 9781922790330
      18 July 2023