In Valda Marshall's 2009 novel it is the year 1920. The Prince of Wales is visiting Adelaide as part of his royal tour of Australia, and the royal party is staying at Adelaide’s Government House. Extra house staff is hired for the important visit, and Lily, a beautiful young country girl, is one of them. When Lily comes face to face with the Prince, history is forever changed.
Fast forward to the year 2016. Noelene Jones, one of Australia’s most celebrated opera singers, has decided to retire from the world of entertainment and is looking forward to the quiet life. She decides that her first project as a regular citizen will be to renovate and bring back to life her grandmother’s dilapidated cottage in the Adelaide Hills.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister, a man of cunning with an over-inflated ego, is busy trying to orchestrate the country’s historic and complicated transition from Monarchy to Republic. The biggest question on everyone’s lips is: who will become the First President?
Noelene, although a staunch republic supporter, has no interest in the job. But the Australian public has other ideas … and Mike, a friendly reporter who is making a documentary about Noelene’s life, is overly encouraging. But when Mike and Noelene investigate an interesting discovery at her Adelaide Hills cottage, the line between Monarchy and Republic becomes inextricably tangled...
Part love story, part political satire, The First President: An Australian Story of Love and Politics provides an interesting preview of the possible future of our nation as a republic.