BOOK CLUB: The Lost Letters of Playfair Street

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Michelle Montebello is one of my favourite independent authors. It is my great pleasure to have not only been involved in introducing her work to the members of Beauty and Lace Book Club but also for the opportunity to have provided some input into The Lost Letters of Playfair Street.

The story is set in Sydney where Walter Greene supplies steel from his steel mill to the company building the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  We first meet the Greenes at the engagement party of Walter’s daughter, Charlotte, to the banker—and financier of loans to Walter—Floyd Clark.

Floyd moves Charlotte through the group until they come to the last man, Alexander Young, Bradfield’s chief engineer.  As the introductions are made, Charlotte feels a stirring she has never felt before, and certainly something she has never felt with Floyd.

In the present day, Paige Westwood has moved to Sydney from Albury, after having her heartbroken. Her job is to set up the house on Playfair Street that her boss Xavier has purchased to run his business from.  While cleaning the attic Paige discovers a trunk, carved with the initials CG, and containing bundles of letters carefully tied together.

As Montebello deftly guides us between the two timelines we are privy to information about Charlotte, Walter and Alex’s lives, that Paige and Ryan must seek to discover through the letters and modern-day research. At the same time we are taken on a tour of Sydney, and The Rocks, as we explore those areas from both the perspective of the 1920’s and 30’s and present day.

This is a beautifully written book that gives us a historical glimpse into Sydney, the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the impact of the stock market crash, all within the context of a beautiful, yet illicit romance.  Montebello has smoothly woven fictional and real-life characters into a tale that will leave you wanting more.  

Many thanks to Michelle Montebello and Beauty and Lace Book Club for the opportunity to read and review The Lost Letters Of Playfair Street.  Highly recommended for lovers of historical romantic fiction, a definite 5 star read.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading The Lost Letter of Playfair Street by Michelle Montebello. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

24 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Lost Letters of Playfair Street

  1. ‘The Lost Letters of Playfair Street’ was an amazing story that I absolutely loved! It had mystery, it had romance and had cheering for the goodies and booing at the bad guys. I loved reading about Sydney in the 1920’s and although I don’t live in Sydney, it made me feel good that I knew some of the places and things written about or I knew I could easily find out more about them. I didn’t want to stop reading – even though I thought I knew the ending and it was going to be sad, I still needed to know how it was all going to play out. The ending didn’t let me down at all. I will definitely be looking for more books by Michelle Montebello and highly recommend this story >:o)

  2. Wow – what a read! I loved this book. This book tells two stories in parallel. One of Paige (modern day) who moves to Sydney after having her heartbroken. When setting up a house as an office for her employer in Sydney, Paige discovers a chest of old letters (with the initials CG). Paige starts the journey of uncovering the story behind the letters.
    The parallel story is that of Charlotte Greene (in the 1920s) who is at the centre of the letters. On the night of her engagement to Floyd Clark, Charlotte meets engineer, Alexander Young. They begin a game of clue sharing and secret meetings. With her arranged marriage to Floyd a priority for her Father, will Charlotte be able to let Alex go?
    The back and forth between the two stories is done magnificently.
    The book also gives an interesting insight into Sydney and the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The book took me through all the emotions – love, heartbreak, friendship, trust and deceit with a nice bit of history. It’s my first book by Montebello and I’d be keen to read more after this one.
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Michelle Montebello for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  3. I highly recommend reading ‘The Lost Letters of Playfair Street’ by Michelle Montebello.

    It is a booked based in Sydney and the story is told by Paige (modern day) and
    Charlotte (1930’s).
    Paige finds a chest of love letters in an attic in a house her friend has bought. And that’s where the mystery begins… Paige begins to piece together the story of Charlotte and her lover with the help of one of Charlotte’s family members from England. The story is then told from Charlottes perspective to give the reader more insight. The more I read, the more I couldn’t put it down as I needed to know what was going to happen next!

    The book is very well written. It has love, heartbreak and very likeable characters. There are little twists throughout to keep you guessing and wanting more.

    Thanks Beauty and Lace Book Club for the opportunity to read and review this book! I will be looking for more titles by Michelle Montebello to read.

    1. Hello Beck.
      Thank you for your lovely review of Lost Letters. So glad you enjoyed the story.
      Michelle x

  4. Love, love, loved this book. I could not put it down, and read it throughout the night.
    Heartbroken Paige starts a new job and life in Sydney, and whilst getting settled in her new work place, discovers and old chest. It’s contents have her enthralled, as they will the reader of the book, as she learns all about a lady named Charlotte, from the 1930’s.
    The story line goes back and forth with the present, and what is happening in Paige’s life, to that in the discovered writings on Charlotte and her life all those decades ago.
    Cleverly written, and I kept saying to myself ‘one more chapter’, and the next thing you know, it was morning and I had read the whole book.!!
    I can’t wait to see what other books I can find by Michelle Montabello.
    With thanks to Beauty & Lace and Michelle, for the opportunity to read this excellent story. I highly recommend it.

  5. 4.5⭐⭐⭐⭐

    What a great read this was, I have several of Michelle Montebello’s novels on my shelf and after reading her newest release, I really need to read them sooner rather than later.

    While I was really enjoy this novel, it was the second half of the book that completely drew me in and had me reading until 1 am to finish it after telling myself at 11pm that I would only read one more chapter.

    I do love a good mystery, especially one with lots of twists and turns and this novel definitely had them. It also had plenty of romance, both in the present day timeline and in the historical timeline.

    I liked all four of the main characters, Paige and Ryan in the present day and Alex and Charlotte in 1929. I enjoyed exploring Sydney, especially The Rocks area and while I have been there a couple of times myself, I have never been to many of the places the characters get to visit.

    In 1929, Charlotte and Alex’s clandestine romance seems doomed to fail, with a father who wants to save his business, who has practically ‘sold’ his daughter to Floyd, the banker in charge of his loans, there seems to be no way out of this highly unpleasant arrangement. Floyd was a very unlikeable character, he had no redeeming features at all, and while I started out liking Charlotte’s father Walter, his behaviour certainly had me despising him as time went on, he did however redeem himself near the end, but it was touch and go. Charlotte’s friend Estelle, hmmm now she was a character I just was not sure about and she turned out to be one of the many twists that happened in this story.

    Present day Paige and Ryan’s romance could also be doomed seeing as they live on different sides of the world, but while they are trying to uncover the mystery of Charlotte and are working together, I really enjoyed their relationship and hoped it could lead to something more.

    With todays technology, Paige and Ryan were able to discover a lot of information in regards to the matters surrounding the mystery, along with of course ‘The Lost Letter’s’ and other finds that came to life in the house on Playfair Street.

    A thoroughly enjoyable and engaging read.

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Michelle Montebello for a digital copy of this novel

  6. I had not read any of this authors work prior to receiving this ebook through Beauty and Lace Book Club but I’m certainly going to read them now.
    I devoured this book. It got me in from the very first chapter. I love a dual time line story! especially one that is set in Australia and has the backdrop of the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge as the time period (really historically interesting).
    The setting of the story is the Rocks in Sydney and the description of the streets and landmarks had me tracing the route in my head. I am very familiar with the area so I felt like it all came to life as I was reading the book.
    Without giving too much away Charlotte the 1920s protagonist is the daughter of one of the steel suppliers to the Harbour Bridge. She is engaged to Floyd a financial officer with the Bank of New South Wales. It is an arranged marriage by her father who needs the financial help of Floyd. Charlotte does not love or even like Floyd but is destined to do as her father bids until she meets Alex, a young engineer working on the Bridge construction .
    Skip forward to the present day where Paige has left her country town of Albury and moved to Sydney to get over love. Her best friend Xavier is opening a publishing house and Paige is setting it up in the house in Playfair Street that Charlotte grew up in. While Paige is clearing out the attic of Playfair Street she finds a chest that contains ‘love letters’ . Paige contacts the seller of the house, Ryan who is Charlottes great-nephew. Ryan tells Paige of a family mystery which has never been solved. Charlotte and her father disappeared from the face of the earth in the late 1920s. This mystery intrigues Paige and she sets out to uncover what she can about Charlotte and her disappearance.

    There is so much to love about this story. It is full of mystery and intrigue and a wonderful social portrayal of Australian history in the 1920’s – the stock market crash, the depression and the lives of those living through the period. It is an obsessive read!
    A definite 5/5

  7. This was my first experience with this author’s work but certainly not the last.
    I loved the story and being set in Sydney’s Rocks area made it even better. The number of stories like this that could be unearthed there would be astounding.
    I loved the characters and the settings. I have been to The Rocks on many occasions and was imagining them in my mind the whole time.
    Well done Michelle Montebello on this book!

  8. What an amazing book congratulations Michelle Montebello
    Set in The Rocks Sydney 1929 to present day
    Charlotte and Alex 1929 fall madly in love
    Paige and Ryan are the main present day characters
    Paige finds a box of letters in the attic of a house she is cleaning out for her boss
    Paige and Ryan embark on discovering who wrote the notes and letters
    Beautiful story that had me guessing to the end ( no spoilers )
    And even more special to me cause my family come from The Rocks

  9. Really, REALLY enjoyed this book! From the first page to the last. It was unputdownable!

    It certainly didnt me take long to become fully immersed in this book, its such a beautifully written story. The setting, through Michelle’s fantastic storytelling, is so vivid and clear and the characters so likeable.

    The timeline alternates between past and present which I found flowed seemlessly and the pace of the story fantastic, it was easy to read and very easy to enjoy!

    If you are looking for a great Australian historical novel you NEED to read this!

    I have already purchased another of Michelle’s books to read and can’t wait to start!

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Michelle Montebello for the chance to read and review this great story!

  10. WOW – this book had me from the outset, the title and cover –
    if I hadn’t been fortunate enough to receive this copy for review, this book would have flown off the shelves into my arms judged on the cover and title alone, it’s absolutely perfect for the roaring 1920’s.

    I was totally immersed in the lover’s game played out around historical Rocks in Sydney, by both Charlotte, and then in later years by Paige, featuring Icebergs at Bondi, the mysterious bricked up steps to nowhere, the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the chest of love letters secreted in the attic at the house in Playfair Street.

    I loved how Charlotte blossomed over the course of the story from a shy introverted girl to a confident woman. I struggled with the antiquated thinking of both Floyd and Charlotte’s father that University was not becoming of a lady, certainly not an engaged one and had to be put on the sidelines as marital duties were the priority. Astonished, that Charlotte’s father believed that women did not go to University, discuss the Wall Street Stock Market or global economy, nor did they run businesses.

    I can imagine the fun Michelle had researching this story, if the trams were still running today, I’d have no problem navigating my way around, thanks to Michelle’s in-depth knowledge of Sydney’s massive former tram system.

    I also enjoyed re-visiting Sydney Harbour Bridge’s Southern Pylon lookout and Museum, and I still remember my trip years ago trudging up all those stairs, which was definitely worth it and viewing the construction photos and archival video footage.

    I absolutely savoured every last page of this story and prolonged reading the ending for as long as I possibly could, until the suspense was killing me and
    I had to give in and finish the story.

    I LOVE Love, loved this book, and hope this is just the first in a very, very long series, I cannot thank Beauty and Lace, Michelle Montebello and Marcia Batton ENOUGH for giving me the pleasure of reviewing “The Lost Letters of Playfair Street.”

  11. Thanks to Beauty and Lace for introducing me to a new author, I really enjoyed Michelle’s writing style and will be on the look out for more by her.

    I loved that the book was set in Sydney and the flipping between the past and the present, but I especially liked following along with Charlotte as her life evolved.

    Defiantly a book to add to your summer reading list.

  12. This was the first book of Michelle Montebello’s that I have read and I must say it has me wanting to find her other books to read too now!

    The Lost Letters of Playfair Street is a wonderful story that really captures the progress, struggles and disparity of the era. I loved the way the story switched between Paige and Ryan and Charlotte and Alex. I felt angry on behalf of the women of that era who were forced to marry men the didn’t know or like let alone love. Reading about the construction of the Syndey Harbour Bridge was enjoyable because I’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t had the chance yet.

    This story evoked a lot of emotion from me and is one that I would happily read again.
    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Michelle Montebello for the chance to read and review this book.

  13. This love story successfully entwines dual story lines from the present day and 1920’s. The author fluidly switches back and forth between the timelines without missing a beat or losing momentum. I also love the history woven throughout the story.
    I look forward to reading more by this author

  14. The Lost Letters of Playfair Street by Michelle Montebello is my first by this author but won’t be my last. This was Historical Fiction written in two timelines. The present day story was about Paige Westwood who had fled from Albury to set up a business for her old friend in an old house on Playfair Street, The Rocks Sydney. The historical storyline was set in 1929 and was about Charlotte Greene who was 18 and newly engaged and living in the same house.
    The letters and belongings that Paige found in the attic led her to Ryan Greene from England and a mystery to solve as to what happened to Charlotte.
    This was a story of love, the excesses of the Roaring 20s and a mystery with lots of twists and turns. A very enjoyable read thanks to Michelle Montebello and Beauty & Lace for my chance to read this ebook.

  15. I loved it. The Lost Letters of Playfield Street is set in the present day and also in the 1920s in The Rocks area of Sydney
    It centres around what is nearly a lost form of communication: a bundle of letters found in a rundown house
    This is a story of women from quite different backgrounds. The contrasts between the role of women in the 20s and now is striking, even though the two main characters grow to be strong women
    Yes this is a love story, but it is so much more. It’s two women growing in character and finding their inner strength. It’s about following your heart
    Full of twists and turns, I’m sure you will enjoy this book. Many thanks to Beauty and Lace Magazine and the author Michelle Montebello for the opportunity to read and review this ebook. I was unfamiliar with Michelle’s works but will search them out in future

  16. What a good read!

    I loved the storyline and being able to follow Charlotte’s story through her own eyes and through Paige and Ryan’s discoveries and research.

    I loved the chapters changing between the two eras and between the two main characters Paige and Charlotte.

    I look forward to reading more books by Michelle Montebello.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Michelle Montebello for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  17. I loved The Lost Letters of Playfair by Michelle Michelle Montebello!
    The story is set in Sydney, both in the 1920s/30s and present day and I was easily able to picture myself in the streets as Charlotte and Alex, and Paige and Ryan walked the streets. It tells the story of Paige who discovers a trunk of love letters between Charlotte and her beloved written in the 20s. The letters intrigue Paige and bring into her life the newly single Ryan.
    It has romance, mystery and history so plenty of substance to entertain many types of readers.
    A lovely pre Christmas read. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Michelle Montebello.

  18. I really enjoyed reading The Lost Letters of Playfair Street. The story is set in Sydney over two time periods-in the 1920s and in the present day.
    The 1920s tells the story of Charlotte Greene who is the daughter of a steel supplier who’s company is building the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Being the obedient daughter that she is, she is engaged to Floyd who is a loan financer who she is not in love with. At her engagement party she meets Alexander Young who she feels an instant attraction to. Meanwhile in the present day we see Paige Westwood move to Sydney to escape a broken heart. Her boss has just bought a house on Playfair Street and Paige has been sent to set it up. She ends up finding a chest full of letters which sees us slowly unravelling the story of Charlotte and her life.
    I really love these types of historical fiction set over multiple timelines where you see the pieces slowly fall into place. This one was written so well that I just didn’t want to put it down. Thanks to Michelle Montebello and Beauty and Lace for giving me the opportunity to read this great read.

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