A Woman's Work
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia
Imprint: HQ Fiction
Publication date: 5th April 2023
Genre: Women's Fiction / Historical
RRP: $32.99AU (Paperback)
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
My review of A Woman's Work
A Woman's Work is a poignant look at the expected role of married women post WWII Australia.
Set in 1950's Australia when the chance of winning a cash prize in a cooking competition could open up a wealth of opportunity.
Told through the dual narrative of two Australian mothers; Ivy Quinn, war widow and single mum to 12yo Raymond, and wife and mother of five, Kathleen O'Grady.
Victoria Purman knows how to immerse her readers into the lives of others. We get a very personal view of both Ivy and Kathleen's lives; their dreams, internal conflicts and despair.
Ivy is a single working mum, she constantly worries if she is doing enough for Raymond, he has no father figure and she is concerned this may have a negative effect on him.
Kathleen, a SAHM of five, finds her days overwhelmed with washing, cleaning and cooking. Her and her husband have grown apart and she feels lost.
Both women find a new purpose and confidence when they decide to enter the Australian Women's Weekly recipe competition with a cash prize of £600.
I immediately connected with Ivy and her son Raymond. Kathleen took me longer to work out. I didn't like her at all until the penny dropped and I realised she had severe depression (sometimes I need these things spelled out to me).
I loved all the cooking and recipes and whilst reading I had so many things I would have liked to ask my grandmother about. I also enjoyed all the nostalgia Purman invokes with the inclusion of rationing, movies of the time, fantales, the Melbourne Olympics and Bex powders.
A Woman's Work is a truly engaging read, and even though set in the past is perfect for contemporary fiction readers.
My rating 4 / 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
About the author
Victoria Purman is an Australian top ten and USA Today bestselling fiction author. Her most recent book, The Nurses' War, was an Australian bestseller, as were her novels The Land Girls and The Last of the Bonegilla Girls. Her earlier novel The Three Miss Allens was a USA Today bestseller. She is a regular guest at writers festivals, a mentor and workshop presenter and was a judge in the fiction category for the 2018 Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature and the 2022 ASA/HQ Commercial Fiction Prize for an unpublished manuscript.
I'm off to make some cheese and gherkin scones! 😀