"A fabulous upstairs, downstairs drama... Devenish's plot is as thick as Biddy's broth."
Australian Women's Weekly
"Luke Devenish is a master at the dramatic cliffhanger."
"You can never be quite sure what you are seeing..."
The West Australian
"All the Gothic elements plus a little bit more."
Sydney Morning Herald
"I thought I knew exactly what to expect: a fabled house, old money, and identical twins. I was wrong. This book is so much more... and the twists at the end were well worth it."
New Zealand Herald
I've been taking time out during the first half of this year to write a new historical novel, The Heart of the Ritz, to be published by Simon & Schuster in 2019. The first draft is nearly done.
Glamorous guests and steadfast servants; secret spies, deluded collaborators, and utterly contemptible Nazis. Inspired by real life characters and extraordinary events in the world’s most famous hotel in wartime—from shattered illusions in the lap of luxury grows the soul of the French Resistance.
The South of France, April 1940: the “Phony War” with Hitler’s Germany is yet to see a single shot fired upon French soil. Haunted by the loss of her father, sixteen-year-old Polly Hartford longs to do good in the world. But when her life is upturned by a fresh family tragedy her dreams are left to dissolve.
Polly finds herself “given” to three best friends: an elegant Comtesse; a gutter-born film star; and a big-hearted American millionairess. Together, they move her into the heart of the Hôtel Ritz in Paris, where guests and staff cling to the illusion that wealth and position will forever protect them from War. This illusion is shattered when the Nazis invade.
As Paris deteriorates, those at the Ritz face the horrors of the Occupation together with courage, humour, and style. To idealistic Polly comes the chance to achieve the dreams denied her when she meets Tommy, a handsome hotel waiter who is leading a life in the shadows.
When even the height of luxury can’t save them, one by one, the denizens of the Hôtel Ritz step up—and fight back against the terror of the Nazis.
More details about my new book will appear on this website in coming months.
As well as writing novels and plays, and thanks to my background in television, I also teach screenwriting at the University of Melbourne. Together with my screenwriting colleagues Ben Michael, Annabelle Murphy and Philippa Burne, I won a prestigious award for Programs that Enhance Learning as part of the Australian Federal Government’s 2017 Awards for University Teaching.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts Screenwriting degree is a pioneer in the design of innovative whole-student learning curricula in screenwriting programs in Australia.
Decidedly smutty fun was had back in September when I joined fellow novelists Anna Campbell and Kate Forsyth in reading out our very best/worst sex scenes, to the horror/delight of our fellow Historical Novelists Society Australasia Conference attendees.