Rosetta: A Scandalous True Story is based on Alexandra Joel’s quest to uncover the truth about her great-grandmother, and the shocking secret at the heart of her family. In 1905, the headstrong and beautiful Rosetta escapes her safe Melbourne life, deserting her husband and five-year-old daughter for Zeno the Magnificent, a fortune-teller and seducer of souls. The two reinvent themselves in London, where they attract the patronage of the rich and famous.

Presented with Penrith Library.

Alexandra Joel (Australian)

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Alexandra Joel is the author of Rosetta: A Scandalous True Story, a memoir in which she recounts the extraordinary life of her mysterious great-grandmother, a woman who captivated British and European society, beguiling famous writers and inventors, lords and ladies, princes and princesses. Alexandra is also the author of Best Dressed: 200 Years of Fashion in Australia and Parade: the Story of Fashion in Australia. Both books detail the development of fashion, style and national identity. Alexandra is a former editor of Harper’s Bazaar and of Portfolio, Australia’s first magazine for working women. She has been a contributor to a number of national magazines as well as The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald. For ten years Alexandra also practised as a counsellor and psychotherapist.