Trying to read a hardback book with a broken wrist is very hard. It is impossible to hold the book in your broken hand. Turning the pages turns out to be just as hard. That didn’t stop me inhaling A Respectable Woman by Susanna Bavin. A complicated arrangement of cushions kept the book propped up and an intricate set of manoeuvres were deployed to keep the pages turning. Once settled in I was not to be moved until the book was finished.
A Respectable Woman is set in a time that I find fascinating, between World War I and World War II, when the old order is changing but the modern world has not yet begun. Nell Hibbert has lost all her family in the First World War and has married Stan. Stan, Nell and their son Alf live with Alf’s mother who treats Nell badly. When the pregnant Nell discovers that Stan has betrayed her she runs away with Alf to start a new life.
Life for a single mother of two children was not easy, it is vital that Nell is not only respectable but seen to be so. Despite the difficulties she manages to build a good life, befriended by Mr and Mrs Brent and Jim the window cleaner. All seems well until Nell’s past catches up with her.
As the pages turned I was outraged at the treatment of women in the 1920’s (it annoys me now but in comparison we have it easy) and desperate to know how Nell would resolve her problems. Once cocooned in my nest of cushions I didn’t want to leave until the book was finished. Susanna Bavin’s first book ‘The Deserters Daughter‘ kept me awake until the small hours as I was so keen to find out what happened and ‘A Respectable Woman’ was no different. If you love a saga this is a book for you. If you don’t classify yourself as a saga lover (and I don’t) the themes and the twists of the story will have you hooked. Just try not to break your wrist before hand because it makes the reading of books very tricky!
- Hardback £19.99, Kindle £10.04, Paperback (October 18) £8.99
- Published by Allison and Busby
Disclosure: I was sent a review copy of the book by Allison & Busby in return for an honest review.