My gal pal Barbara Toner has a new book out called “Four Respectable Ladies Seek Part-time Husband” it will be hilarious, because she is. I got my copy yesterday and I’ll be on the lounge with it this afternoon..
Barbara Toner is an acclaimed author and columnist who has written extensively about the lot of women in all its manifestations, with all its glorious and less glorious intricacies, both in fiction and non-fiction. She is married and has three daughter , and divides her time between England and the far south coast of New South Wales….
Here is a little taste…..
When Adelaide Nightingale, Louisa Worthington, Maggie O’Connell and Pearl McCleary threw caution to the winds, disgrace was bound to follow. They lived in a time and place peculiar in history on the matter of sex versus gender.
The time was September 1919. The war was over. Everyone who was going to die from the flu had done so.
The place was Prospect, a bustling rural town in southern New South Wales known abroad for its sheep and awful weather but distinguished in its own eyes by the imminent arrival of the railway and the excellence of its general store, Nightingales.
It sounds harmless enough. It wasn’t.
Nightingales was a pivotal the ladies fate, although right-thinking people argued the mess was of their own making and could be traced directly to the arrival in Prospect of Pearl McCleary. the shop, these decent people insisted, had nothing to do with it. But it did, because Nightingales was equally at odds with the time and place, just the oddness was never mentioned.
This might have been because it was owned by the upright family Adelaide had married into, but more likely it was because of the comfort the town had taken in its luxury all war long. Nightingales was uniquely well stocked,. Customers came from hundreds of miles just to breath in the heady scent of indulgence and small goods that whacked them in the face as the crossed threshold.
For maintaining such extraordinary standards, which it was generally sieved reflected Prospect’s own, the town gave thanks to Archie Stokes. There was no finer shopkeeper in the whole of Australia than this large, white-haired, purple-faced, steely-eyed bacon of respectful service with his infallible grasp of all things grocery and his cunning understanding of ways and means. He was the shop’s – and so the town’s – heart and soul.
Which was one way of looking at it……….
Published by Bantam
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