After reading a series of books that were somewhat dark, it was a pleasure to stumble upon The Women in Black, a novel by Madeleine St John. This book, like the book I reviewed last week, takes place in the 1950s, but this time the location is one with which I am less familiar — Sydney, Australia.
This quirky, quick-reading novel features four characters, all of whom work at Goode’s Department store in Sydney. The women who work here are recognizable because of the black dresses they are required to wear.
Patty is married to Frank. Her biological clock is ticking, but unfortunately her husband pays little attention to her. As long as she puts his steak in front of him every night, he is content. He eats and then goes to bed.
Fay is single but would love to be married, but she hasn’t yet met the right man. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to her that she will ever find happiness.
Magda works is the fancy dancy dress department of Goode’s. She and her husband moved from Slovenia, and have worked hard at acclimating to the new culture, but maintaining their roots. She wants to own her own dress shop someday.
Along comes young Lisa, who is hired to work during the busy Christmas holidays. Lisa is eager to find her way into the world. She just graduated from high school, and is awaiting her final grades to see if she will get a scholarship to attend the university. Even if she does, her father will fight her all the way. In his opinion, women don’t need college; they need a husband and kids.
These four women come together under funny circumstances and are tied together in unexpected ways. They all find out that nothing in their lives is more important than knowing who they are and what’s is important, and friendship.
The author has a very unique writing style. The characters were all so very likeable. I read the book in a day-and-a-half, and it left me smiling and feeling like we can tackle anything in the world with patience and friendship.
I recommend this book!