The women in black, so named for the black frocks they wear while working at Goode’s department store, are busy selling ladies’ dresses during the holiday rush. But they somehow find time to pursue other goals, seeing their lives turn important —while a fourth lends a helping hand. A reprint of Madeleine St. John's classic novel.
...a deceptively smart comic gem that tracks four women through the pandemonium of one holiday season in 1950s Sydney. St. John, who died in 2006, was the first Australian woman to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize...and though the plotlines here are somewhat reductive — marriage, dating and dresses are the characters’ central preoccupations — the book is laced with a fierce intelligence that captures the limited options for women and postwar xenophobic views ... Let’s raise a glass to the hope that such retro views have changed — and also to this heroic comic novel that’s not only still alive but getting a second wind.
This quirky peek into the lives of four Australian women as they sell women’s clothing at Goode’s Department store is predictable, but sweet ... Funny and light, this story moves quickly as each character navigates the 1950s-era challenges of being a working woman in a male-dominated society with limited options for the happily ever after they all strive for. The dialogue is snappy and full of vintage Australian terms, such as the practice of sizing clothes using an alpha system. Perfect for lovers of chick lit with a dash of romance and historical fiction for good measure.