The incredible true story of the fractured family behind the Darrell Lea chocolate empireRobert Wainwright
7 February 2019
Published by Allen & Unwin
In the early 1930s, the Australian family confectionery company Darrell Lea was a sensation, its shops stacked with delicious chocolates, marshmallows, nougat and much more in line with the company’s motto to ‘Stack ’em high, watch ’em fly’.
It was at this time that Montague Lea met the vivacious teenage ‘ticket writer’ Valerie Everitt. Monty fell hard for her and, despite strong family opposition on both sides, they would marry.
Valerie was keen to have a large brood and, though her pregnancies were difficult, she gave birth to four children. But they were not enough and in 1947 she adopted the first of three more children who were designed to be playmates for her own. It was a social experiment that would end in tears, as would the fortunes of the iconic company, destroyed by the glue that once bound it together – family.
Rocky Road is the story of this chocaholic clan and the creative and eccentric woman who dominated it. Behind the irresistible sweetness of Darrell Lea lay a family who made bitter sacrifices to succeed in the candy business.