Julie Bennett was born in New Zealand and migrated to Australia after her father was offered a full-time role as a tenor in the Australian Opera Company. Her first novel, The Understudy, was inspired by her experience performing as a child extra in the Australian Opera Company's 1973 production of War & Peace. She lives in Sydney with her husband and gorgeous kelpie cross cattle dog, Riley.
'A delicious read! A fascinating glimpse into the glamorous world of opera where innocence & betrayal is set against the seedy underbelly and glorious splendour of Sydney and the opening of our very own opera house. You'll never see the twists and turns as the layers of this intriguing mystery begin to unfold.' -- Tania Blanchard * Author of The Girl from Munich * 'Julie Bennett's The Understudy is the best kind of historical fiction: a powerful love story blended with a mystery that keeps the reader guessing. Bennett relives the opening of the fabled Sydney Opera House in all its glory, while describing the underbelly of opera and the machinations that carry on backstage. A stunning debut that will have book clubs talking!' -- Anita Abriel * Author of The Light After War * 'A heady, genre-bending drama about ambition, performance, love, betrayal and passion ... a delight to read ... There is a cast of wonderfully interesting characters, like an Agatha Christie novel, some with richly drawn backstories and some remaining infuriatingly enigmatic ... An enjoyable and page-turning read.' -- Cass Moriarty * Author of The Promise Seed * 'The Understudy takes us back to a time of change and growth in Australia; its operatic characters feel, sing and live with passion and intensity. The story of two opera singers, twenty years apart, gives us both triumph and tragedy, that bittersweet tone which stays with you for a long time. So evocative you can smell the scent of Sydney Harbour - and the then-mean streets of Woolloomooloo.' -- Pamela Hart * Author of The Charleston Scandal * 'The Understudy is a sexy, page-turner of a novel, full of intrigue, secrets and ambition set during the opening season of the Sydney Opera House in 1973. Julie Bennett has woven a spell that will entice the reader in and won't let them go. Brava!' -- Mary-Lou Stephens * Author of The Last of the Apple Blossom *