The Women in Black by Madeleine St John
At the very end of the Ladies’ Frocks Departments, past Cocktail Frocks, there was something very special, something quite, quite wonderful; but it wasn’t for everybody: that was the point. Because there, at the very end, there was a lovely arch, on which was written in curly letters Model Gowns.
First Impressions: I loved the introduction by Bruce Beresford. And then – after reading the first chapter I wondered if it was possible to read the whole book in one sitting as I was already in love with it.
Highlights: Where do I begin? It is a genuinely Australian novel written in the style of Austen and the Brontes yet it also has a European feel with Slovenian Magda and her ‘these people know nothing!’. An absolutely lovely novel. I bought my copy on my most recent trip to Australia. The staff member at Readings Malvern helped me pick out a stack of Aussie novels to bring back to London with me. We jovially disagreed on whether we enjoyed some recently published novels but she was so enthusiastic about this novel I took her word for it and am so glad I did! I don’t want to give away any of the story so just read it for yourself.
If I was an editor: I can’t suggest any improvements whatsoever. A perfect novel.
Overall: I don’t hold on to books after I read them but suspect I will keep this one as I will want to read it again.