Part of a bigger story

By Mitch Gaynor

“ARE you bringing back the coffee?” 

Great question, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves yet. The next chapter in the history of Maleny’s Rosetta Books has begun this week with Lea and Rob Dodd purchasing the beloved store from Jan and Jeff Cornfoot.

While the question seems straightforward, it really tells a deeper story of Rosetta’s importance and place in the hinterland community.

A place that before Covid had become a venue for individuals to congregate, connect, talk, read and of course, drink coffee. It was somewhere an individual could feel a part of a bigger story.

Currently serving on the board of the Maleny Neighbourhood Centre and Arts Council, Lea had always been acutely aware of the importance of social connection and Rosetta’s dovetailed perfectly with this sensibility.

“A bookstore is more than just a place you go to buy books,” she told GC&M News.

“People are drawn to the ‘experience’ a bookstore offers, the sense of community and connection. 

“We want to be more than just a bookstore – we want to be part of the fabric of the community through book clubs, author readings, school events, and more to bring people together.”

The author, volunteer, academic and now business owner said her initial plans were to better understand what the community wants in a bookstore.

Lea won’t be on her own though, with her husband, Rob, to help run the store.

Rob said he fell in love with Maleny as it reminded him of the rolling green hills of his homeland, England, which he emigrated from in the 90s.

When Lea and Rob met, they serendipitously realised they had a mutual love for Maleny. After many visits, they were married in Maleny in 2011 and bought their property overlooking the magical Glass House Mountains in 2013, where they set about creating a paradise from a paddock of weeds. 

After many years of commuting between Brisbane and Maleny, they made Maleny their permanent home in 2020.

Rob said that he was thrilled to be able to support Lea and her team to serve the local community and visitors.

“We are very fortunate to call Maleny home and I appreciate the responsibility we have in being handed the baton for the legacy iconic Rosetta Books,” he said.

“We wish Jan, Jeff and their family all the very best in their retirement.”

So will Lea be bringing back the coffee?

“Our immediate aim is to create communal spaces with a warm, inviting atmosphere where customers feel comfortable browsing books for as long as they like,” Lea said.  “Then we’ll see where we go from there.”

• As a child, Lea read her way through entire collections of children’s mystery series and later Agatha Christie novels.
• Is a writer of award-nominated psychological thrillers and short mystery stories.
• A former lecturer in Creative Writing and Literary Studies at CQUniversity.
• A former chair and lifetime honorary Quills member of Queensland Writers Centre.
• Currently serves on the board of the Maleny Arts Council and Maleny Neighbourhood Centre.