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From the bestselling author of The Land Girls comes a beautifully realised novel that speaks to the true history and real experiences of post-war Australian women. Sydney 1945 The war is over, the fight begins. The war is over and so are the jobs (and freedoms) of tens of thousands of Australian women. The armaments factories are making washing machines instead of bullets an From the bestselling author of The Land Girls comes a beautifully realised novel that speaks to the true history and real experiences of post-war Australian women. Sydney 1945 The war is over, the fight begins. The war is over and so are the jobs (and freedoms) of tens of thousands of Australian women. The armaments factories are making washing machines instead of bullets and war correspondent Tilly Galloway has hung up her uniform and been forced to work on the women's pages of her newspaper - the only job available to her - where she struggles to write advice on fashion and make-up. As Sydney swells with returning servicemen and the city bustles back to post-war life, Tilly finds her world is anything but normal. As she desperately waits for word of her prisoner-of-war husband, she begins to research stories about the lives of the underpaid and overworked women who live in her own city. Those whose war service has been overlooked; the freedom and independence of their war lives lost to them. Meanwhile Tilly's waterside worker father is on strike, and her best friend Mary is struggling to cope with the stranger her own husband has become since being liberated from Changi a broken man. As strikes rip the country apart and the news from abroad causes despair, matters build to a heart-rending crescendo. Tilly realises that for her the war may have ended, but the fight is just beginning...


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From the bestselling author of The Land Girls comes a beautifully realised novel that speaks to the true history and real experiences of post-war Australian women. Sydney 1945 The war is over, the fight begins. The war is over and so are the jobs (and freedoms) of tens of thousands of Australian women. The armaments factories are making washing machines instead of bullets an From the bestselling author of The Land Girls comes a beautifully realised novel that speaks to the true history and real experiences of post-war Australian women. Sydney 1945 The war is over, the fight begins. The war is over and so are the jobs (and freedoms) of tens of thousands of Australian women. The armaments factories are making washing machines instead of bullets and war correspondent Tilly Galloway has hung up her uniform and been forced to work on the women's pages of her newspaper - the only job available to her - where she struggles to write advice on fashion and make-up. As Sydney swells with returning servicemen and the city bustles back to post-war life, Tilly finds her world is anything but normal. As she desperately waits for word of her prisoner-of-war husband, she begins to research stories about the lives of the underpaid and overworked women who live in her own city. Those whose war service has been overlooked; the freedom and independence of their war lives lost to them. Meanwhile Tilly's waterside worker father is on strike, and her best friend Mary is struggling to cope with the stranger her own husband has become since being liberated from Changi a broken man. As strikes rip the country apart and the news from abroad causes despair, matters build to a heart-rending crescendo. Tilly realises that for her the war may have ended, but the fight is just beginning...

30 review for The Women's Pages

  1. 5 out of 5

    Karren Sandercock

    Sydney Australia, Tilly Galloway shares a flat with her friend Mary Smith; their husbands are prisoners of war and have been captured by the Japanese. Tilly has only ever received one post card from Archie when he was first taken prisoner and Mary prays every Sunday at church for her husband Bert’s safe return. Tilly grew up in Millers Point Sydney a working class suburb; she and her sister Martha have two loving parents. Their father Stan is a wharfie, he works hard unloading ships, lumping hea Sydney Australia, Tilly Galloway shares a flat with her friend Mary Smith; their husbands are prisoners of war and have been captured by the Japanese. Tilly has only ever received one post card from Archie when he was first taken prisoner and Mary prays every Sunday at church for her husband Bert’s safe return. Tilly grew up in Millers Point Sydney a working class suburb; she and her sister Martha have two loving parents. Their father Stan is a wharfie, he works hard unloading ships, lumping heavy bags of wheat and he’s a member of a trade union. Elsie her mum loves her big strong hubby Stan and very proud of her two beautiful daughters. Australian women bravely send their sons and husbands off to fight in WW II and many remembered what happened during the previous war. They spent the war years constantly worrying about the telegram boy arriving at their front door, looking after children, knitting socks, sending care packages overseas, they had no idea what post war Australia would be like and how the war would affect husbands and sons. Younger women or women with no children worked outside the home, making blankets, uniforms, they joined the Australian Women’s Land Army picking fruit and harvesting vegetable crops. Others worked in offices; they replaced men who were off fighting for their country and their fellow allies. Tilly was a secretary and during the war she became a reporter for the Daily Herald and she loved the challenge of her new job. Once the war in the Pacific ended, the men slowly started returning to Australia and Tilly was expected to give up her job as a reporter. She was given another role at the news paper writing for the Women’s Pages, giving fashion advice and make up tips. Tilly had a taste of independence, earned her own money and supported herself. Tilly struggled with this, she found it very unfair she was good at her job and yet she had to give it up. To keep her boss Mr. Sinclair happy and accept men needed to earn money, they were the main bread winners of the family and that’s how it had always been. Mean while Tilly is still waiting desperately for news about Archie, Mary’s praying worked as Bert was one of the lucky ones to survive Changi, he struggled to fit back into everyday life, no one could understand what he had been through and not even his wife. The Japanese ignored the Geneva Convention; they worked and starved prisoners of war to death. Tilly had written endless letters to Archie, waited patiently for him to come home so they could start a family and begin the life they had planned. As time went on Tilly had no news in regards to what happened to Archie, she was really worried and what could she do? The Women’s Pages acknowledges and describes the challenges Australian women faced during WW II and you read about every day life in Australia at the time and after the war ended. How men returning home from war struggled, they were expected to carry on like they had never left, they received no help, and it was very hard for them and their families. Victoria Purman’s books are always well researched; they never disappoint or leave you wanting more and are a pleasure to read. I gave The Women’s Pages five stars; thanks Harlequin Australia for my copy and I will share my review on NetGalley, Goodreads, Australian Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Twitter and my blog. https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/

  2. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    Tilly Galloway’s job as a war correspondent at the Sydney paper had kept her busy while the war was on; her constant worry about her husband Archie kept her awake at nights. She knew he was a prisoner of war with the Japanese but the one letter she’d received had said he was well. Tilly and her best friend Mary – also working at the paper – lived together while they both waited for their husbands to return from the war. When Mary’s husband Bert finally arrived at their door, the elation and exci Tilly Galloway’s job as a war correspondent at the Sydney paper had kept her busy while the war was on; her constant worry about her husband Archie kept her awake at nights. She knew he was a prisoner of war with the Japanese but the one letter she’d received had said he was well. Tilly and her best friend Mary – also working at the paper – lived together while they both waited for their husbands to return from the war. When Mary’s husband Bert finally arrived at their door, the elation and excitement brought a lump to Tilly’s throat. Bert had been at Changi and over time both Mary and Tilly could see how he’d changed. Tilly had been mentored by George Cooper at the paper and he’d taught her well. With George in Singapore at the end of the war, recording the horrific details of the last months and years of the POWs, he also searched for Archie. Meanwhile Tilly’s father, a waterside worker whose hours had slowly ground him down, was on strike. The workers were determined to get better working conditions; less hours and more pay instead of the cruel conditions they were currently working under. Would Archie be found? Would Bert recover from his time in Changi? Could the world right itself now the war was over? Tilly’s position at the paper meant she could write the news people needed and wanted to hear now censorship was over… The Women’s Pages by Aussie author Victoria Purman is another heartfelt look at the effects of war on both the men who fought, and the women who remained at home, worrying and keeping the home fires burning. Tilly is an exceptional character and those around her – her parents, sister and nephews, Mary plus work mates – all pulled together to encourage and comfort when it was needed. A thoroughly enjoyable historical fiction novel which I recommend. With thanks to the publisher for my uncorrected proof ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    An interesting book set in Sydney right at the end of the second world war. Like most of this author's books it was full of historical facts about the period. She certainly enjoys her research! There was so much packed into these pages - politics, trade unions, rationing, returning soldiers, the atrocities of war. As I read I did start to wish that the book concentrated more on a few topics and did not attempt to describe everything. I was drowned in facts when I wanted more story. The central the An interesting book set in Sydney right at the end of the second world war. Like most of this author's books it was full of historical facts about the period. She certainly enjoys her research! There was so much packed into these pages - politics, trade unions, rationing, returning soldiers, the atrocities of war. As I read I did start to wish that the book concentrated more on a few topics and did not attempt to describe everything. I was drowned in facts when I wanted more story. The central theme was the women who stayed behind. The main character, Tilly, who loses all contact with her husband when he is taken by the Japanese, works as a reporter. She is one of the many women who enjoys the advantages of taking over a man's position when they all join up to fight. Of course in her role she is also constantly being made aware of what may be happening to her husband. Then the men start to return with all the troubles that accompanied them. The ending is realistic and holds promise for the future. Altogether an enjoyable read especially for readers who like their historical fiction heavier on the history than on the fiction. My thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Veronica ⭐️

    *https://theburgeoningbookshelf.blogsp... The Women’s Pages is a heartfelt, emotional and inspiring look at women, and their role in society, during and after WWII. Set in Sydney in 1946 immediately post WWII with events during the war told in backstory The Women’s Pages is narrated via Tilly Galloway, working at the Daily Herald whilst her husband is away fighting. Through Tilly, her family and close friends Purman has shown the different impact the war had on women, with some husbands returning b *https://theburgeoningbookshelf.blogsp... The Women’s Pages is a heartfelt, emotional and inspiring look at women, and their role in society, during and after WWII. Set in Sydney in 1946 immediately post WWII with events during the war told in backstory The Women’s Pages is narrated via Tilly Galloway, working at the Daily Herald whilst her husband is away fighting. Through Tilly, her family and close friends Purman has shown the different impact the war had on women, with some husbands returning but forever damaged, whilst others for a variety of reasons not returning at all. Women who had been earning a wage, and for the first time having money of their own, were suddenly unemployed whilst older men were also losing their jobs to young, returning soldiers. It was a time of adjustment for all and for some it wasn’t the dream they had envisioned. The scenes around Sydney city and The Rocks, the war-time hardships and post-war celebrations on the city streets, were brought to life by Purman’s wonderful descriptions. With many mentions of the political climate and newsworthy events of the time the story is solidly set in it’s time frame. Tilly comes from the wrong side of town but through perseverance and intelligence she rises from secretary to journalist however she is still never treated the same as the male journalists. She befriends fellow journalist George Cooper a forward thinking man, and there were few of them back then, who is happy to teach her the ropes of writing a good story. Tilly and best friend Mary are waiting for their husbands to return from the war. They live on hopes and dreams and their anguish is heartfelt and real. Tilly’s sister Martha, with three boys to bring up is barely surviving on her meagre pay. She is helped often by her mother Elsie, who also offers meals and a helping hand to all local families, ill or down on their luck. Purman introduces the ongoing battle of the waterside workers through Tilly’s father, Stan, a staunch union man who worked hard and fought hard for these men to receive a fair days pay for a fair days work. Purman has delivered a heartfelt story. The characters are likeable, their emotions and dreams are genuine and relatable. Through these characters we get a rounded view of the struggle for many during and after the war. The Women’s Pages is a thoroughly researched novel that had me spellbound from cover to cover. *I received a copy from the publisher

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gloria Arthur

    ⭐️4.5 Stars⭐️ Victoria Purman is an amazing storyteller of Australia’s wartime inspired fiction. The Women's Pages is Victoria’s latest and is set in Sydney, Australia in the 1940’s. It tells the post war story of the families left behind and how WWII changed the lives of so many women in Australia. The war is over and so are the jobs and independence of Australian women as they are asked to return to domesticity and free up positions for the men returning from war. Tilly Galloway is the story’s ce ⭐️4.5 Stars⭐️ Victoria Purman is an amazing storyteller of Australia’s wartime inspired fiction. The Women's Pages is Victoria’s latest and is set in Sydney, Australia in the 1940’s. It tells the post war story of the families left behind and how WWII changed the lives of so many women in Australia. The war is over and so are the jobs and independence of Australian women as they are asked to return to domesticity and free up positions for the men returning from war. Tilly Galloway is the story’s central character and together with her best friend and co-worker Mary they wait desperately to hear news of their POW husbands as all the prisoners are being liberated and names released now the war has ended. The only information Tilly has is that her husband was a prisoner of war of the Japanese since 1942 and missing. Tilly is a waterside worker’s daughter and a newspaper reporter for The Daily Herald where she is pressured to work on the women’s pages of the newspaper of which she finds dull as she wants to be a war correspondent or write about something more meaningful than women’s fashion. We take a look at Sydney’s waterfront during this era and the appalling conditions in which Tilly’s father and other wharfies endured. This story deals with survival, loss, politics, unions, wartime and mental illness. The story is well researched and I recommend it for it’s historical significance. It shares a wealth of detail and I found it to be both informative and absorbing. I wish to thank Netgalley & Harlequin Australia for an advanced copy of The Women’s Pages in return for an honest review

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mandy White (mandylovestoread)

    The Women’s Pages was the first book by Victoria Purman that I have read and I really enjoyed it. I have recently discovered historical fiction and found input to be a genre that I am loving. This book is set in the 1940’s, and starts toward the end of WWII. This book was very heavy on historical facts, and at times I felt a bit overwhelmed by it all. So much was happening in Sydney and the world at this time and the author has definitely done her research. It was an emotional and interesting re The Women’s Pages was the first book by Victoria Purman that I have read and I really enjoyed it. I have recently discovered historical fiction and found input to be a genre that I am loving. This book is set in the 1940’s, and starts toward the end of WWII. This book was very heavy on historical facts, and at times I felt a bit overwhelmed by it all. So much was happening in Sydney and the world at this time and the author has definitely done her research. It was an emotional and interesting read, told from the point of view of a woman waiting for her husbands return. Tilly Galloway is a Sydney girl through and through. Her dad is a wharfie and she works for the Daily Herald as their first war correspondent. Her husband Archie has is a POW of the Japanese and she hasn’t heard from him since 1942. And then the war is over. And life is about to change for everyone. The men are coming home and the women are expected to give up there jobs for the men. Tilly is sent to the Women’s Pages, to report on fashion and recipes. She is frustrated as she knows she can do more, but in this time it is not the done thing for women. And she is anxiously awaiting news on Archie. We follow her journey as well as that of her flat mate Mary, whose husband was also a POW. Thanks to Harlequin Books Australia for my advanced copy of this book to read. The Women’s Pages is out September 2nd.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    The Women’s Pages is the seventeenth novel by best-selling Australian author, Victoria Purman. Home before Christmas. That is the mantra they all cling to, when Victory in the Pacific is declared on August 15th, 1945. All the families waiting for their sons, husbands, fathers, brothers, uncles, nephews to come home, all reassure each other with this. Some, too, are waiting on daughters, sisters, aunts… The Daily Herald’s only female War Reporter, Tilly Galloway is realistic enough to understand t The Women’s Pages is the seventeenth novel by best-selling Australian author, Victoria Purman. Home before Christmas. That is the mantra they all cling to, when Victory in the Pacific is declared on August 15th, 1945. All the families waiting for their sons, husbands, fathers, brothers, uncles, nephews to come home, all reassure each other with this. Some, too, are waiting on daughters, sisters, aunts… The Daily Herald’s only female War Reporter, Tilly Galloway is realistic enough to understand that not all of them will come home. There has been no word from, or about, her husband, Archie, for over three years, since he was captured by the Japanese in Rabaul, and the forty precious letters she does have are treasured and regularly reread. She’s held the post for three years, and the censorship of news has been a real frustration, but not as much as the fact that she is relegated to describing the women’s angle on every story, rather than the real news the men get to report. Tilly has had to rise above the sexual discrimination against female journalists, including the belief that women cannot be trusted with secrets because they are inclined to gossip. When those men do start returning, it’s a bittersweet celebration for Tilly, but she maintains her professional demeanour as she interviews the waiting families for background colour. Those servicemen who did not give their lives for their country are welcomed with open arms; some bring their faithful, unsuspecting wives the unwelcome souvenir of disease; some choose to abandon their waiting spouse for a newer model; some women belatedly learn that they have been a widow longer than they had been a wife. The return of POWs is delayed by the need for treatment and nutrition: these men are emaciated and scarred, both physically and mentally. When reports of atrocities by the Nazis and the Japanese emerge, and Tilly’s friend, colleague and mentor, George Cooper shares disturbing information, Tilly is overcome by a sinking dread for her husband’s fate. “The army carefully chose the healthiest ones to come home first. And even then, they’d already had weeks in hospital to get some meat on their bones. To get treated for what was ailing them. To find new uniforms to cover up what lies underneath. There’s still not much more than skin and bone under all that khaki. That whole thing was a public relations exercise and the paper fell for it, we all fell for it, because that’s what Australians want to see”, The other side of the coin is that, with the men returning, the many women who have kept the country running are suddenly made redundant. Tilly’s editor tells her: “Take a turn at making a home for Archie and raising a family. We need to find jobs for the men so they can have the satisfaction again of being the breadwinner in their families.” Tilly is incensed, too, by the appalling lack of support for war widows. Purman’s protagonist exhibits a steely determination and the novel would have benefited from editing some of the repetition in the first section in favour of extending into Tilly’s post-war career. Purman easily captures her setting and era; her extensive research is apparent on every page, and the inclusion of many iconic Sydney landmarks will add appeal for anyone who has visited the city. Through the eyes of Tilly Galloway, Purman richly illustrates how radically the war changed life for the women of Australia. Proving their capability in occupations formerly the exclusive domain of men, women would eventually earn recognition and a measure of independence, permitting them a career beyond housewife and mother. It sowed the seeds of feminism and the fight for equal pay. Captivating Australian historical fiction. This unbiased review is from a copy provided by NetGalley, Better Reading Preview, The Book Stack and HQ Fiction

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chapter Ichi

    Victoria Purman has done it again! She is a master of Australian historical fiction set in and around wartime. Purman uncovers the story of women in a world where men make the decisions and women fight for their independence. Although the war is over, women had their own battles to bear. Tilly Galloway is a strong woman who awaits her husband's return from the war. Archie and Tilly hoped for a simple life together when the war was over, although Tilly's world is turned upside down when Archie le Victoria Purman has done it again! She is a master of Australian historical fiction set in and around wartime. Purman uncovers the story of women in a world where men make the decisions and women fight for their independence. Although the war is over, women had their own battles to bear. Tilly Galloway is a strong woman who awaits her husband's return from the war. Archie and Tilly hoped for a simple life together when the war was over, although Tilly's world is turned upside down when Archie leaves for war. Victoria Purman touches on subjects that we don't often focus on. To read about the women of war, how they managed in wartime and post war, gave personal insights into the lives of many. Tilly's friend Mary struggles when her husband returns from war. Women did not recognise their husbands; once loving family men, who return home strangers. They struggle with daily life, due to trauma, loss, grief and the horrific abuse they may have been subject to. Men came home with stories so terrifying and traumatic, they could not share what they witnessed with others. The stories of wartime prisoners were unimaginable and the scars they brought home, both physical and emotional, were deep. These emotional scars were told through Purman's careful characterisation and stories Tilly shared with the media. As a war correspondent, Tilly uncovers stories needing to be told. Whilst the men were fighting at war, women were provided job opportunities they would not have had otherwise. When men returned, not all women wanted to go back to tradition roles in the home. Tilly was a writer then and wanted to continue to write post war. I enjoyed reading about Tilly's career and her talent. She is a smart woman who challenges the traditional role those within the company attempt to place her in. As a woman, Tilly gains respect for her work. Victoria Purman provides detailed descriptions throughout the novel for the reader to feel a sense of time and place. My favourite descriptions are of Tilly's ten year old memories and 'the sounds of her young life... fresh in her mind as if they were being broadcast from a wireless somewhere nearby.' and her observations when the war had ended. Tilly is a strong protagonist who has a beautiful relationship with her family. This is a woman who will continue to share stories of utmost importance rather than stories of running a household. The Women's Pages is a beautiful, heartfelt novel that explores important historical perspectives that must be shared. I highly recommend this novel for fans of historical fitcion. Thank you @harlequinaus and @harpercollinsaustralia for sending me a copy for me to read and review. ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sharah McConville

    Australian author, Victoria Purman's novel The Women's Pages is a wonderful historical fiction set in Sydney during the 1940's. The story starts on VP Day and follows female war correspondent Tilly Galloway as she eagerly awaits the return of her husband Archie, a Prisoner of War, who she hasn't heard from for a few years. Tilly's position as a reporter and war correspondent is downgraded to a contributor of the Women's Pages for the newspaper company she works for, once the men return from the Australian author, Victoria Purman's novel The Women's Pages is a wonderful historical fiction set in Sydney during the 1940's. The story starts on VP Day and follows female war correspondent Tilly Galloway as she eagerly awaits the return of her husband Archie, a Prisoner of War, who she hasn't heard from for a few years. Tilly's position as a reporter and war correspondent is downgraded to a contributor of the Women's Pages for the newspaper company she works for, once the men return from the war and take up their previous positions. Tilly and many other women around the country are expected to return to their simple lives as wives and mothers, not working women, once the war is over. I loved this story and learnt so many things such as the fate of the SS Montevideo Maru and some of the hardships people faced during the war. Thanks to The Book Stack for my paperback copy which I won along with a bookmark and calico bag. Thanks also to NetGalley and the publishers for a digital copy of this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews

    *https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com ‘I’m off general news. It’s about the women’s pages for me from now on, where I’ll no doubt spend the rest of my days covering weddings and flower shows and the chairman of the board’s wife’s latest charity fundraiser.’ Tilly heard the bitterness and disappointment in her tone and didn’t care.’ I consider Victoria Purman one of Australia’s leading storytellers in the field of historical fiction. In her latest novel titled The Women’s Pages, Victoria Purman br *https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com ‘I’m off general news. It’s about the women’s pages for me from now on, where I’ll no doubt spend the rest of my days covering weddings and flower shows and the chairman of the board’s wife’s latest charity fundraiser.’ Tilly heard the bitterness and disappointment in her tone and didn’t care.’ I consider Victoria Purman one of Australia’s leading storytellers in the field of historical fiction. In her latest novel titled The Women’s Pages, Victoria Purman brings to life a difficult transition period in our past, the post-World War II era in Sydney, Australia. The Women’s Pages looks closely at changed gender roles, ambition, careers, resilience, inner strength, love, relationships, friendships, family relations, trauma, loss and hope. Victoria Purman sets the bar high with this latest contribution to the Australian historical fiction genre. Bestselling author Victoria Purman returns with a novel that takes a closer look at life on the home front in Australia, with a particular focus on women’s experiences during the post-World War II period. Despite the relief of the war being declared as officially over in 1945, many women in Australia lived in limbo. Awaiting word on the return of their prisoner of war husbands, the strength of carry on in these trying times remains pertinent. Many women during this time also struggled to readjust to their post war lives. For lead protagonist of this tale, Tilly Galloway, life as an exciting war correspondent must be cast aside for a new role in reporting for the women’s pages. Tilly finds the fashion and make up side of things a bore in comparison to her war correspondent duties. But Tilly is also preoccupied by thoughts of her husband who has failed to return home after the war. Tilly invests her energies in trying to locate he husband, while also looking into exposing an exclusive story involving women workers who are facing wage restrictions and longer hours. Those who surround Tilly are faced with their own struggles. Tilly’s best friend Mary is dealing with her husband’s PTSD following his imprisonment in Changi. While her father is struggling on the wharf with trade union issues. It becomes clear that for many citizens left behind during the war, Australia faces a new battle and every one must do their part. With a delay in release, it is wonderful to see The Women’s Pages out there in bookstores for readers to appreciate. I have the feeling that Victoria Purman will gain some new fans thanks to this new release and she also provides her loyal army of fans with a great new historical fiction title. I loved the focus on the post Second World War period in The Women’s Pages. I also appreciated the rich focus on the female experience of this tumultuous and trying time period. Tilly Galloway is a fabulous lead protagonist. Tilly displays her vulnerability, but also her tenacity and resilience throughout the progression of this story. Tilly exuded plenty of inner strength and I found this inspiring. This giving and ambitious soul injects plenty of life into The Women’s Pages. The interactions that take place between Tilly and her colleagues, friends and family were presented well by the author. I appreciated viewing how relations on the home front during this period impacted so many facets of life. There were many changes, adjustments, strains and opportunities that came about due to the impact of the war. I feel that Victoria Purman presented these everyday moments of life clearly. There is no doubt that Victoria Purman has devoted plenty of time and research to The Women’s Pages. I came way feeling educated, informed and more than little inspired. These were tough times, but so many ordinary Australians made of it what they could. Victoria Purman presents her readers with a full and involving narrative. We see everything from post-traumatic stress disorder experienced by returned soldiers, to trade union difficulties, tensions experienced by the wharfies, the demise of marriages and family life due to strains of war, economic conditions, housing shortages, employment conditions, political movements and rationing influencing day to day living in post war Sydney. What I found illuminating was Purman’s focus on the female experience. From changed gender relations, employment opportunities, the heightened anxiety of lost loved ones, increased freedom in sexual relations and the challenges faced by women trying to retain roles and pay conditions they achieved during the war. Through the character of Tilly, we see how the media industry, journalism and reporting was forever changed by the effects of the war. These were incredibly hard times, which was very much evident as I made my way through The Women’s Pages. There is sadness, sorrow, loss, significant change and eventually hope to look to as the characters of The Women’s Pages must learn to negotiate a new Australia. The Women’s Pages is a rich historical fiction title that leaves a strong imprint on the reader, reminding the audience of the struggles faced by our ancestors in the post-World War II period. *I wish to thank Harlequin Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes. The Women’s Pages is book #95 of the 2020 Australian Women Writers Challenge

  11. 4 out of 5

    Natalie M

    An enlightening and interesting read that focusses on the Australian woman's perspective of World War II. A combination of historical non-fiction set in Sydney during WWII, amidst the fictional characters of Tilly Galloway and Mary Smith, whose husband's are prisoners-of-war. The read is beautifully researched and provides an insight into the societal changes brought about during the time period. The novel centres on the changing contributions woman made to the war efforts, both during and follo An enlightening and interesting read that focusses on the Australian woman's perspective of World War II. A combination of historical non-fiction set in Sydney during WWII, amidst the fictional characters of Tilly Galloway and Mary Smith, whose husband's are prisoners-of-war. The read is beautifully researched and provides an insight into the societal changes brought about during the time period. The novel centres on the changing contributions woman made to the war efforts, both during and following the end of the war. I found this aspect, the role of women to be the highlight of the read. It is also a concept and position seldom portrayed in books of any genre. The fictional aspect of the novel is supported by evidence from the period, highlighting the mental health issues the POW's experienced and the fallout for the families trying to rebuild after so much loss - physically, emotionally, financially, and psychologically. Tilly and Mary are easy to like and their stories bring life to the historical research Purman includes. Thank you to Harper Collins for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Craig / Phil

    A leader in the historical fiction genre, Victoria has written a story of family, love, loss, grief as well as gender in the workplace, the end of war and the trauma of returned servicemen. Where Land Girls finishes The Women’s Pages starts. It’s 1945 and the war is over. During the midst of battle ,Tilly Galloway has been working as a war correspondent, now as the men return to work she has no choice but to work the women’s pages. Fashion and gossip is not where her heart is and between waiting A leader in the historical fiction genre, Victoria has written a story of family, love, loss, grief as well as gender in the workplace, the end of war and the trauma of returned servicemen. Where Land Girls finishes The Women’s Pages starts. It’s 1945 and the war is over. During the midst of battle ,Tilly Galloway has been working as a war correspondent, now as the men return to work she has no choice but to work the women’s pages. Fashion and gossip is not where her heart is and between waiting for news of her POW husband, finding her father on strike and her best friend, Mary, is struggling to deal with her husband who came home a distant changed man, Tilly finds life is quite hectic. The war may have ended but Tilly’s fight has just begun. A well researched tale based on real events in post war Australia and how women are treated in the job industry after men return home from battle, some not themselves anymore. It’s great to see the focus on women strong in a male dominated world and while the men were off fighting, the women were dealing with struggles and issues of their own. At the forefront of this book is a strong female character, Tilly Galloway who will stand up for what she believes in and argues her opinion and backs her decisions. Well plotted, it dishes the dirt on new topics for discussion and gives the reader a storyline, as a whole, to enjoy and absorb. A great Australian read that incorporates facts about history and mixing them with fiction. Informative and engaging.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Shreedevi Gurumurty

    A beautifully realised novel that speaks to the true history and real experiences of post-war Australian women. The war is over and so are the jobs (and freedoms) of tens of thousands of Australian women, they are advised to return to their "real purpose" of domesticity and free up the workforce for returning Australian World War Two veterans. The armaments factories are making washing machines instead of bullets and war correspondent Tilly Galloway has hung up her uniform and been forced to work A beautifully realised novel that speaks to the true history and real experiences of post-war Australian women. The war is over and so are the jobs (and freedoms) of tens of thousands of Australian women, they are advised to return to their "real purpose" of domesticity and free up the workforce for returning Australian World War Two veterans. The armaments factories are making washing machines instead of bullets and war correspondent Tilly Galloway has hung up her uniform and been forced to work on the women's pages of her newspaper - the only job available to her - where she struggles to write advice on fashion and make up. She longs to write meaningful stories, but being in the male-dominated media industry, Tilly finds her work cut out for her. I loved learning about the roles that Australian female war correspondents played in World War Two, and was appalled at the way they were treated by the military and their male counterparts. Stumm was the only Australian woman to be given the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon, awarded by US General Douglas MacArthur to war correspondents who had ‘shared the hardships and dangers of combat with United States troops and whose presence has contributed to the welfare and effectiveness of our troops’. Interestingly, MacArthur’s description did not distinguish between men and women war correspondents. Within Australia, however, women journalists who have reported war, sometimes at great personal risk and long-term cost, are still not celebrated or remembered in the same way as male war correspondents. The fascination with Australian war correspondents and war photographers such as Damien Parer, Neil Davis, Charles Bean and Alan Moorehead continues to grow with each retelling of their exploits. But it is perhaps hard to see where women fit into the picture of the daring, heroic combat war reporter, who shares all the risks and dangers of the troops alongside him. Can a woman journalist confined to the margins of the battlefield, and engaged predominantly in writing non-combat news, rightly be called a war correspondent, even if she was officially accredited as one? Australian women journalists have reported on conflict since 1900, when Sydney nurse and journalist Agnes Macready covered the South African War for the Catholic Press. During World War II, twenty-one Australasian women worked as war reporters in the South-West Pacific Area and in Europe. The Australian Army accredited sixteen women as war correspondents in 1942 and 1943, for the express purpose of publicising women’s war work on the home front. Two Australian women, Elizabeth Riddell and Anne Matheson, gained accreditation with the Allied forces in Europe in 1944. Other women reported from overseas without official accreditation, but often with the permission of the Australian or New Zealand military or government. At the end of war in the Pacific, a further group of non-accredited women journalists reported from Asia on the cessation of hostilities and the transition to peace. In both theatres, the military defined a ‘war correspondent’ as a reporter of frontline conflict, and a ‘woman war correspondent’ as a reporter of non-combat war news, or what was often referred to as the ‘woman’s angle’. Arguments about women’s vulnerability, their need for male protection, their inability to understand or cope with war conditions and their lack of understanding of military hardware were used to support the exclusion of women reporters from military areas. Australian military authorities, in particular, categorised women reporters as untrustworthy, shallow ‘sob sisters’ and argued that their visible difference from the troops could jeopardise military operations. In late 1942, the Australian Army’s Director of Public Relations, Brigadier Errol Knox – a former journalist – established a limited accreditation scheme for Australian women war correspondents. The newly minted women war correspondents were provided with a uniform, green-and-gold ‘War Correspondent’ shoulder flashes and a war correspondent’s licence stamped ‘Lines of Communication Only’, meaning they were not permitted in operational areas. Australian military authorities, along with their counterparts in the European theatre, attempted to control the movements and the writing of women reporters by confining them to the periphery of the military zone, where they were mainly limited to covering stories perceived to be of interest to women, such as the work of women’s auxiliary services. While some women reporters were relatively acquiescent, others openly resisted the military’s rigid definition of their role. Just like their male colleagues, many women reporters found proximity to danger exciting, and they could be just as fiercely competitive in the pursuit of a scoop. While women felt pressured to file news other than routine ‘hospital stories’ to keep their jobs, ‘trying to get anything else meant breaking rules’, which in turn jeopardised their positions. Even in World War II, when Australian women reporters were supposedly excluded from frontline areas, they encountered the devastating human cost of conflict. In Riddell’s case, the realisation that she had been just ‘a spectator, an observer’ of the war eventually disgusted her and she decided to return to Australia before it ended. ‘When you’re a war correspondent you are, whether you like it or not, part of a great organisation, a machine for war.' While the majority of women had little choice but to write non-military stories because they had limited or no access to the frontline, others actively chose to do so because they recognised their importance for understanding war. During wartime, women reporters were constantly reminded of their difference from the troops and were kept quarantined from them. In the immediate postwar period, Australian women journalists in Asia benefited from a softening of the lines of demarcation between the civilian and military domains, but their gender remained a strong point of focus for authorities and was often foregrounded in their journalism. In late September 1945, Woman journalist Iris Dexter reported from South-East Asia on the restoration of peace and the circumstances of newly released Australian prisoners of war. In 1942–43, Dexter had been an accredited war correspondent with the Australian Army on the home front, but she now referred to herself ‘apologetically’ as a ‘peace or postwar correspondent’. Although Australian women had proved they could be ‘very solid conscientious correspondents’ during the war, as Riddell observed, afterwards there was a return to the status quo for some decades. Riddell nonetheless believed that she and other women war reporters had paved the way for later female foreign correspondents such as the celebrated Margaret Jones, who in 1973 became the first Sydney Morning Herald journalist to be based in Beijing since the war’s end. ‘That’s a great thing that’s happened to women,’ Riddell remarked to Bowden on ABC Radio National, ‘that they can be trusted to be sent out, to do the work, go everywhere and run their job properly. So one can only say that if that arose from the war then that’s a good thing. And I think probably it did arise from the war.’ The extraordinary New Zealand-born journalist Kate Webb, who covered the Vietnam War from 1967 to 1975 and many subsequent conflicts, was also rightly hailed as a pioneering woman reporter. As Sydney swells with returning servicemen and the city bustles back to post-war life, Tilly finds her world is anything but normal. As she desperately waits for word of her prisoner-of-war husband, Archie, she begins to research stories about the lives of the underpaid and overworked women who live in her own city, such as her mother, Elsie, and younger sister, Martha. Those whose war service has been overlooked; the freedom and independence of their war lives lost to them. Demobilisation was a long process, drawn out over months as soldiers were freed from captivity, and were then repatriated to hospitals for further treatments for illnesses and then the identification process and they sailed back to Australia on long boat journeys. The Japanese refused to give out any information concerning their prisoners. They refused to connect with the Red Cross and they didn't deliver any letters or packages sent by loved ones from home to their prisoners. They were that cruel. At least German POWs were bound by the Geneva Convention and received letters and packages from loved ones and the Red Cross. Everyone scoured the newspapers everyday for lists of names of Allied POWs and those missing in action, waiting to see if and when they'll come home. The events that had been censored during the war are only now being reported pieces by pieces such as the murder of 21 nurses on Bangka Island by the Japanese, with nurse Vivian Bullwinkel being the sole survivor. Tilly's husband, Archie, served in the Lark Force, a real Australian Army formation established in March 1941 during World War II for service in New Britain and New Ireland. Under the command of Lieutenant Colonel John Scanlan, it was raised in Australia and deployed to Rabaul and Kavieng, aboard SS Katoomba, MV Neptuna and HMAT Zealandia, to defend their strategically important harbours and airfields. Most of Lark Force was captured by the Imperial Japanese Army after Rabaul and Kavieng were captured in January 1942. The officers of Lark Force were transported to Japan, however the NCOs and men were unfortunately torpedoed by the USS Sturgeon while being transported aboard the Montevideo Maru. The 2/22nd Battalion was one of its Allied garrison units. Meanwhile Tilly's waterside worker father is on strike, and her best friend Mary is struggling to cope with the stranger her own husband, Bert, has become since liberated from Changi, a broken man. As strikes rip the country apart and the news from abroad causes despair, matters build to a heart-rending crescendo. Tilly realises that for her the war may have ended, but the fight is just beginning... Meanwhile, Australian POWs who've returned home have become a shell of their former selves. They have volatile moods, and have born the brunt of Japanese cruelty in their physical and mental scars. Servicemen and servicewomen came back to realise that the Australia they've returned to is now drastically different to the country they left from on the war's onset and pre-war memories. There is a dramatic housing shortage as all manufacturing and construction efforts, and their manpower had gone towards building Australia's war effort. Married couples are staying with either their parents or mates, waiting to save up and buy a home of their own. The cost of living is high as necessities such as petrol and electricity are still being rationed, and clothing is ridiculously expensive, despite their poor qualities. New kitchen appliances such as the refrigerator are out of reach for many people living in poverty. Furthermore, workers in the mining, waterside and coal power industries striking because they are disillusioned with big corporations such as BHP Billiton overworking and exploiting their services. The workers demand fair pay and better working conditions for them all, but people are ignoring their sufferings and the capitalist press insult them by dubbing them "drunkard troublemakers" and accusing stevedores of stealing shippping supplies when they were loading in the docks and insulting their support for Indonesians wanting to rid themselves of Japanese occupation and Dutch colonisation. The work was physically arduous and tiresome, and the current conditions weren't at all good. Men fought each other for limited shifts just to put food on the table and a roof over their heads and pay the bills. There was no work-life balance, and Tilly's father, Stan Bell, had to work 24 hour shifts with little food and rest. This sort of work put a massive strain on workers' health. The only newspaper they seemed to trust was The Australian Worker, a newspaper produced in Sydney, New South Wales for the Australian Workers' Union. It was published from 1890 to 1950, which understands their plight. The workers supported Prime Ministers John Curtin and Ben Chiefly, the latter for his "light on the hill" speech seen as seminal in both the history of the party and the broader Australian labour movement. And they detested Robert Menzies for ignoring the working class, and concentrating on his moral middle class. These workers sought to improve the conditions of their respective occupations by striking and appealing to the Labour Government to help their case. Additionally single parent war widows and their children were awarded little provision by the government. Their families tried to help their daughters and grandchildren out, but there was only so much that they could do as they themselves were struggling to keep it all together. We hear a lot about the Aussie diggers stories but we hear very little about the stories of the women that were left behind to carry on. Their husbands had died in the war, and were killed for Australia, and yet their widows and children were destined for a life of poverty without these women fighting for the rights. These women fought for public recognition and expression for their loss. When World War II ended, many Australians celebrated, but thousands of war widows were faced with an uncertain future. The war widows' pension was below the basic wage and many women and children faced living in poverty. The War Widows' Guild became a powerful lobby group, influencing government on issues such as pensions, education benefits and health care. Many of the benefits that war widows have today are a result of the courage of those early guild members who resisted a life of poverty, social isolation and invisibility. The War Widows’ Guild of Australia NSW Ltd is a not-for-profit membership-based organisation whose mission is to promote and protect the interests of widows in NSW. The Guild was founded in 1946 by Mrs Jessie Vasey, widow of Major-General George Alan Vasey. Overall, this was a brillant, trailblazing novel about women who sought to break out of their domestic moulds and fight the good fight for female empowerment and independence-and to all the workers who sought better pay, better working conditions and having a fair go.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

    The Women’s Pages is another captivating novel of historical fiction from best-selling author, Victoria Purman. Set in Sydney, Australia as World War II draws to a close, Tilly Galloway is an official Women’s War Correspondent for The Daily Herald, and though she has found it frustrating that as a woman she has been restricted to reporting from the home front, she loves her job. While the end of the war is cause for celebration, for Tilly the occasion is bittersweet when her boss insists she retu The Women’s Pages is another captivating novel of historical fiction from best-selling author, Victoria Purman. Set in Sydney, Australia as World War II draws to a close, Tilly Galloway is an official Women’s War Correspondent for The Daily Herald, and though she has found it frustrating that as a woman she has been restricted to reporting from the home front, she loves her job. While the end of the war is cause for celebration, for Tilly the occasion is bittersweet when her boss insists she returns to writing for the women’s pages to make way for returning serviceman, and prepare for her own husband’s homecoming. Seamlessly merging historical facts with fiction, Purman’s focus is on exploring the post war experiences of women in this enjoyable, moving, and interesting novel. Though the end of the war brings relief, it also creates new challenges for Australian women. Many women suddenly find their working life abruptly altered or terminated to benefit returned serviceman, and struggle with the loss of their independence. Tilly acknowledges she is lucky to still be employed, but disappointed to be reassigned to cover gossip and social events, especially when she feels strongly that there are issues women are facing which are more urgent and meaningful to report on. Other women expect to settle back into a life of domesticity with their demobbed husbands only to discover, as does Tilly’s best friend, Mary, that their men are virtual strangers, struggling with physical injuries or mental health issues from their wartime experiences. Few men returned unchanged from the war, and women bore the brunt of the aftermath with no, or little guidance, and Purman portrays these challenges with clear-eyed compassion. Some women, like Tilly, and her sister, Martha, discover after years of waiting, that that their husbands may not be returning at all. Tilly is increasingly anxious as there is no word of her husband, who is a Japanese prisoner of war. Martha’s husband survived the war, but has deserted her, leaving her to raise their three sons on her own without any financial support. These are just a few of the issues for women Purman explores in The Women’s Pages, she also touches on the government’s failure to adequately provide for war widows and their now fatherless children, the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace, and the divide between the experiences of working class and upper class women. Through the members of Tilly’s family, Purman also highlights the postwar Union struggle for fair wages and working conditions, particularly on the waterfront, and its effect on women, like Tilly’s mum. Heartfelt and poignant, with appealing characters, The Women’s Pages is an excellent read which presents an engaging story that also illuminates the real history of post-war Australian women

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lee

    The Women’s Pages is a historical fiction book, featuring a healthy dose of feminism, set just at the end of WW2. During the war, like many other women across Australia, our lead, Tilly, has found herself with more responsibility in the job arena, going from a secretary, to a more fulfilling role of a newspaper war correspondent. Afterwards, of course, the men return and she is relegated back to the ‘women’s pages’. Tilly and the reader slowly realise, however, that women have been through quite The Women’s Pages is a historical fiction book, featuring a healthy dose of feminism, set just at the end of WW2. During the war, like many other women across Australia, our lead, Tilly, has found herself with more responsibility in the job arena, going from a secretary, to a more fulfilling role of a newspaper war correspondent. Afterwards, of course, the men return and she is relegated back to the ‘women’s pages’. Tilly and the reader slowly realise, however, that women have been through quite a lot during the war, albeit in a different way to the men who’d enlisted, and relating women’s stories means the ‘women’s pages’ can be far from frivolous. Purman’s style is interesting and not completely usual. She doesn’t write chronologically, but she also doesn’t write in one time period and then present a flashback in another. Instead, she moves back and forth in time periods in such a way that she layers her plot and characters. It took me a moment to get used to but, once I did, I found her style (and thus the book) quite captivating. Not only did Purman include the plot of women realising they wanted more satisfying careers after the war, she touched on many other subjects which Australians struggled with at the time: PTSD, poverty, food rationing, housing shortages, to name a few. There’s also some we are still struggling with today, such as the bias of newspapers towards their preferred political parties and the inequity of wage rates for women compared to men. Purman’s writing includes lots of lovely details and her historical facts woven through Tilly’s story were often thought provoking and educational. I had no idea the government had censored so many details of the war, for example. The passages featuring the atrocities against the Australian POWs were particularly heartbreaking. If I had to give critique, I would say it was the inclusion of Tilly’s father’s character. Adding his Union affiliation and obvious asbestos related health issues into the story was, for me, a bit too much. I would have preferred more of Tilly in the newspaper; more scenes featuring Tilly conducting interviews, for example. (Actually, to be honest, I think Purman could have easily turned this into two books at least.) Tilly’s father’s occupation as a wharfie, however, did give Purman the excuse to add another Sydney waterside suburb into the mix. If you’re looking for a historical fiction book which shows off Sydney, this one is definitely for you. There is also a romantic plot in the book. I thought it was a sweet subplot instead of a cloying overdone one and readers of all ages should enjoy its subtlety. In fact, if you’re looking something for yourself, your teenage daughter and your mother to read, this could be it. This is my second Purman book, my first being The Last of the Bonegilla Girls which I also enjoyed, so I will definitely be catching up with some of her other titles. 4 out of 5

  16. 5 out of 5

    Theresa Smith

    Victoria Purman has really carved a niche out for herself, crafting engaging and quality stories about life in Australia during the mid-20th century. Her novels have a lot of social history woven into them, all the details about life, small and large, that create an atmosphere akin to stepping back in time. The Women’s Pages covers a lot of ground and touches on a lot of issues. It’s quite a long novel too and I felt it wore its research a bit too heavily in the first half, likewise, it dove freq Victoria Purman has really carved a niche out for herself, crafting engaging and quality stories about life in Australia during the mid-20th century. Her novels have a lot of social history woven into them, all the details about life, small and large, that create an atmosphere akin to stepping back in time. The Women’s Pages covers a lot of ground and touches on a lot of issues. It’s quite a long novel too and I felt it wore its research a bit too heavily in the first half, likewise, it dove frequently into backstories, at times mid conversation, resulting in an adverse effect on the flow of the narrative. I struggled to pin down the actual story for a good portion of the first part of the novel. I did find this ease though once I was into the second half and I was a lot more engaged with the characters and their stories from then on. As a qualified journalist myself, I found Tilly’s working life and everything to do with the reporting of the war utterly fascinating. That was the real winning storyline for me within this novel. What women have had to put up with, it defies belief. The loss of life from WWII, the POWs, the PTSD, the way in which wives and widows were treated post war; Victoria Purman paints a vivid picture of Australia within that era. Recommended reading for anyone with an interest in post-war Australian social history. Thanks is extended to Harper Collins Publishers for providing me with a copy of The Women’s Pages for review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Karyn

    The Women’s pages by Victoria Purman A truly exceptional read. I love historical fiction and especially well researched Australian fiction. Victoria Purman has created a fascinating story about women in a time of Australia’s history when men were the decision makers and women were fighting for their independence. It is the end of World War II and men are returning from fighting, from being POWs and from being away from their loved ones for years. The women of Australia were fighting their own wa The Women’s pages by Victoria Purman A truly exceptional read. I love historical fiction and especially well researched Australian fiction. Victoria Purman has created a fascinating story about women in a time of Australia’s history when men were the decision makers and women were fighting for their independence. It is the end of World War II and men are returning from fighting, from being POWs and from being away from their loved ones for years. The women of Australia were fighting their own war on the home front in carrying the burden of everyday life, working jobs that previously men undertook and waiting for loved ones to return home. It is a different world to what life was before the war. The men that have come home are shadows of their former selves and the women want more than to be domestic wives. Matilda (Tilly) Galloway (née Bell) waterside worker’s daughter from Millers Point, Sydney becomes the Daily Herald newspaper’s first woman war correspondent. She is waiting for her husband Archie to return home. He is a POW and she has had no news of him or from him since his capture. Tilly is a strong independent woman and we see the world and it’s changes through her eyes. Tilly shares a flat with her best friend Mary who is also waiting for her husband Bert, a POW to return home. Tilly struggles with how unequal life is for women workers and just like her trade union father, Stan, she is determined to make a difference and shine a light on women’s issues through her journalism. Tilly comes from a working class family where her mother Elise cares for those doing it tough and supports her ailing husband and his beliefs. “The watersiders were treated no better than the horses harnessed to pull carts along the docks. They were meat, not men, to the stevedores and the international shipping companies”. Better pay, better working conditions and better lives for ex service men are all themes touched on in Women’s Pages but it is the spotlight of the experiences of post war Australian women that is the main focus of the book. “Women who gave their all during the war, making uniforms and bullets and canned food, picking grapes and turnips and digging potatoes, creating maps to keep an eye on the enemy and to keep us safe. Women who served as nurses and even doctors and Red Cross workers. I’m not reading about them and what they will do now the war’s over and their husbands may or may not have come back from the war in one piece, if at all. Where are they in our pages?’’ “These women had had a taste of independence, of the freedom of their own pay packet and of the kind of camaraderie that comes with growing to know the people you work alongside. .........What would all those women do now for work and for money and for friends?” Women Pages is a must read for those interested in Australian history especially women’s issues. My mother was a war veteran’s wife so this story resonated with the stories she told me growing up. The long wait between receiving letters, friends who lost their husbands and friends whose husbands returned ‘damaged’ either physically and/or emotionally. Another Victorian Purman gem 5/5

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    In The Women's Pages, Victoria Purman tells us the story - the history - of the lives of those as WW2 ends in Australia. In particular she paints a picture for us of the life of a woman journalist and her family and friends. Tilly's husband is a soldier at war, she hasn't heard from him since 1942, but she forever hopes, as she writes  what she is assigned. What she is assigned is not always to her passion. Women are in many ways ridiculed by the men, who take "the important" stories and the larg In The Women's Pages, Victoria Purman tells us the story - the history - of the lives of those as WW2 ends in Australia. In particular she paints a picture for us of the life of a woman journalist and her family and friends. Tilly's husband is a soldier at war, she hasn't heard from him since 1942, but she forever hopes, as she writes  what she is assigned. What she is assigned is not always to her passion. Women are in many ways ridiculed by the men, who take "the important" stories and the larger pay packets home. In many ways this is a black and white picture. Victoria Purman manages to provide for us an idea of the realities of that time. It is still a time of great struggle and injustice. Men return - if they do - often physically and psychologically wounded. With images in their minds that will scar them forever.  Women have scraped and provided for their families on very little and still there is very little let up. Everywhere there is injustice. We especially see that injustice played out in the life of Tilly's father - a waterside worker. They worked long hard hours for little remuneration and very poor working conditions. They are asking for better and are labelled "commies". Tilly is a gutsy woman, she has passion and fire. Even though she suffers in little and large ways she fights on. She takes the opportunities small as they are, she sees the stories of so many women of that time and is determined to make a difference. A very realistic and eye opening depiction of this era from a woman's point of view. Well done to Victoria Purman.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tracey Anderson

    Good historical fiction will entertain and hopefully educate you. Great historical fiction will bring that history to life. This was great historical fiction. The book opens just as the announcement is made that war in the Pacific is over. But for many it’ll never be over. For Tilly Galloway who has been working as a war correspondent, as much as a woman in Australia at that time can, it’s a mixed response. Finally her husband will be coming home, but she will be moved aside at the paper to make Good historical fiction will entertain and hopefully educate you. Great historical fiction will bring that history to life. This was great historical fiction. The book opens just as the announcement is made that war in the Pacific is over. But for many it’ll never be over. For Tilly Galloway who has been working as a war correspondent, as much as a woman in Australia at that time can, it’s a mixed response. Finally her husband will be coming home, but she will be moved aside at the paper to make way for the returning men. Tilly’s best friend and flat mate also awaits the return of her husband Bert who has been a POW for years. For her father Stan who has been striking like many other workers it might mean that his job is at risk from men willing to break the strike. While the characters in the book aren’t real they are representative of the thousands of Tilly’s, Stan’s and Bert’s who were real and the struggles they faced. They felt real, their struggles felt real. It actually took me longer than expected to read because every time a read some sort of factual information I stopped to google it. The research must have taken a lot of time. This was the first book I’ve read of Victoria Purman but you can be sure it won’t be the last.

  20. 4 out of 5

    ✰ BJ's Book Blog ✰Janeane ✰

    ARC received from Harper Collins Australia for an honest review The Women's Pages is another wonderfully written and inspiring story from Victoria Purman. I am loving reading more Australian historical fiction these days, and Ms Purman's stories are some that I will always read. Set in Sydney at the end of WW2, we are taken on the journey with Tilly, her best friend Mary and their families as the men come home and the women are again relegated to the life of baby making and cooking for their man (u ARC received from Harper Collins Australia for an honest review The Women's Pages is another wonderfully written and inspiring story from Victoria Purman. I am loving reading more Australian historical fiction these days, and Ms Purman's stories are some that I will always read. Set in Sydney at the end of WW2, we are taken on the journey with Tilly, her best friend Mary and their families as the men come home and the women are again relegated to the life of baby making and cooking for their man (ugh, I don't think I would have survived back then lol). Tilly is ahead of her time really, with her career in journalism being curtailed by the fact she didn't have a penis. She fought for every chance that was just thrown in the laps of the good ol' boys. The hope and the heartache of war time is a huge part of this tale, and I turned each page, holding my breath for what was going to happen next. Ms Purman has painted a vivid picture of war time Sydney, and had me thinking about what my grandparents went through in the early days of their marriage. I love reading a story that draws me right in like that. I loved where Tilly's story ended up, and smiled at something I was hoping for the whole time I was reading. Beautiful writing, enthralling story, I hope to read more from Ms Purman in the future

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer (JC-S)

    ‘Sydney 1945. The war is over, the fight begins.’ ‘The day the war ended, Tilly Galloway sat at her desk on the second floor of the Daily Herald building in Sydney’s Pitt Street and cried with delirious joy.’ The war is over. Tilly and her friend Mary are waiting for their husbands to return. But society is about to change yet again. Not every serviceman will return, and many of those who do have been deeply scarred by their experiences. And many of the jobs that women have been doing will (once a ‘Sydney 1945. The war is over, the fight begins.’ ‘The day the war ended, Tilly Galloway sat at her desk on the second floor of the Daily Herald building in Sydney’s Pitt Street and cried with delirious joy.’ The war is over. Tilly and her friend Mary are waiting for their husbands to return. But society is about to change yet again. Not every serviceman will return, and many of those who do have been deeply scarred by their experiences. And many of the jobs that women have been doing will (once again) be restricted to men. Tilly has worked as a war correspondent, but now the only job available to her is on the women’s pages writing about fashion and makeup. ‘We are all doing the best we can, aren’t we, Tilly? Tilly’s husband Archie is a prisoner of war, and while she’s not heard from him since he was captures, she’s eagerly awaiting his return. In the meantime, her flatmate Mary’s husband returns from Changi. He’s a very different man. Ms Purman brings the challenges of post-world war life, especially for women, to the fore. Women, many of whom have lost husbands, brothers and fathers, women who’ve been a vital part of the war effort in Australia are expected to quietly return to a secondary role. I picked this novel up and found it difficult to put down. These are the times in which my parents were born, glimpses of times mentioned by my grandparents: shortages, anxiety, sacrifices. Ms Purman brings these times to life, with her well-developed characters and her handling of contemporary issues. I finished the novel, continuing the story on in my imagination. Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin HQ Fiction for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes. Jennifer Cameron-Smith

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Marshall

    When I first started Victoria Purman's #TheWomensPages, I was drawn into it as she told of the end of WWII as it happened in Australia but the further into it I went, the more difficult it got to read. There was so much focus on background - 80% of a chapter could be dedicated to it- that I didn't feel like there was much of a plot and it got difficult to read further. 🌟🌟 When I first started Victoria Purman's #TheWomensPages, I was drawn into it as she told of the end of WWII as it happened in Australia but the further into it I went, the more difficult it got to read. There was so much focus on background - 80% of a chapter could be dedicated to it- that I didn't feel like there was much of a plot and it got difficult to read further. 🌟🌟

  23. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    ‘Her problem was she’d had a taste of a different life and didn’t want to give it up.’ The Women’s Pages is another winning historical fiction story by Victoria. I read and enjoyed her previous work and therefore understand that Victoria undertakes the kind of research that brings the day to day living of those she is writing about to life. On this occasion it surrounds the role of women towards the end of WWII and immediately afterwards. The war may be over but the real struggle for women is jus ‘Her problem was she’d had a taste of a different life and didn’t want to give it up.’ The Women’s Pages is another winning historical fiction story by Victoria. I read and enjoyed her previous work and therefore understand that Victoria undertakes the kind of research that brings the day to day living of those she is writing about to life. On this occasion it surrounds the role of women towards the end of WWII and immediately afterwards. The war may be over but the real struggle for women is just beginning. ‘They thought we would all step back into the shadows, where no doubt most of them think we should have always been. But the shadows are full of secrets.’ This tale takes a detailed look at Australian society at this time - what women had been expected to do during the war and how that role changed once the soldiers returned home. Women, who achieved so much in their war effort support, struggled to let go of their new found independence whilst dealing with the men they sent off to war, returning as somewhat strangers. I loved the descriptions of post war Sydney with Victoria undertaking a detailed investigation of the many confrontational issues of the day and a definite social commentary alongside. These women dealt with uncertainty through the war years and now faced the prospect of not only losing their job, but if their men did return the horrendous outfall of PTSD. If they did not return, there was the overwhelming grief. This is a truly interesting period in Australian history and Victoria definitely does it justice. Reading made me reflect on my mother’s stories about her family and this is a book I am sure she would enjoy. ‘You’ll find plenty to write about on the women’s pages, Tilly. Good stories. Interesting stories.’ ‘Interesting stories?’ she gasped. ‘If they’re that interesting why are they sent to the back of the paper? When was the last time a woman’s story made the front page?’ The only concern is Victoria’s great love of research often involves large information dumps. Sadly, this often takes away from the narrative as momentum is lost in the storytelling for the inclusion of detailed intricacies. Detail on everything from feminism, government, war atrocities, PTSD, housing crisis, wharf front issues, trade unions, communism, returning soldiers, workplace politics, gender pay gaps - the list is quite long. One can only wonder if the book may have been better served with fewer topics that tied in pertinently to key characters. I want more story and less history lesson. Overall Victoria has compiled an engaging tale about family life and relationships at this turning point in Australian culture. Dealing with the legacy of the old whilst carving out the new. It valiantly shone the spotlight on the women who fought to break free of a solely domestic role in search of greater independence. ‘These women had had a taste of independence, of the freedom of their own pay packet and of the kind of camaraderie that comes with growing to know the people you work alongside.’ This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Maya Linnell

    Victoria Purman's historicals give readers such a fabulous insight into the struggles and trials of yesteryear. I felt like I was right in the middle of Sydney in the 1940s, holding my breath as Tilly Galloway worked her way through the ranks of the newspaper and waited for the return of her soldier husband. I adored the heartfelt friendship between Tilly and her flatmate Mary, felt nestled into the bosom of the family matriarch Elsie Bell, and learned more about the era whilst reading than in a Victoria Purman's historicals give readers such a fabulous insight into the struggles and trials of yesteryear. I felt like I was right in the middle of Sydney in the 1940s, holding my breath as Tilly Galloway worked her way through the ranks of the newspaper and waited for the return of her soldier husband. I adored the heartfelt friendship between Tilly and her flatmate Mary, felt nestled into the bosom of the family matriarch Elsie Bell, and learned more about the era whilst reading than in any school history class. A really great read that reminds us of how far we've come, and how grateful we should be for those brave ladies who paved the way for women's rights in the workplace and the home.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Pam Tickner

    3 1/2 stars. A fabulous Australian historical fiction novel set during WWII. The book started slowly for me as it tried to set the tone of the story and I didn't think I was going to enjoy it, but I am glad I kept going as it developed into a deeply poignant view of the trials, opportunities and disappointments of the women left behind when men went to war. 3 1/2 stars. A fabulous Australian historical fiction novel set during WWII. The book started slowly for me as it tried to set the tone of the story and I didn't think I was going to enjoy it, but I am glad I kept going as it developed into a deeply poignant view of the trials, opportunities and disappointments of the women left behind when men went to war.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lee Baker

    A well told story of WW2 and the effect on the women left behind. As the daughter of two service people this book gave me an added insight into life during the war and immediately afterwards.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Woods

    What a story. When a book grabs your emotions the way The Women’s Pages did and you need time to process what the book meant to you. Victoria has written a story that shows emotions, beliefs, strength and practicality to the story. Tilly and the other women in the story needed to be more than just women during this story. The fact that Tilly fought for everything that she did, had and got and then had to deal with more than a woman should in a matter of time. Victoria Purman writes stories that tu What a story. When a book grabs your emotions the way The Women’s Pages did and you need time to process what the book meant to you. Victoria has written a story that shows emotions, beliefs, strength and practicality to the story. Tilly and the other women in the story needed to be more than just women during this story. The fact that Tilly fought for everything that she did, had and got and then had to deal with more than a woman should in a matter of time. Victoria Purman writes stories that tug your emotions but can reel you in a story that is hard to stop reading.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    This books starts on VP day in Sydney the end of the war in the pacific and the Sydney streets come alive with rejoicing, happiness and tears of joy, the men will be coming home those that survived but a lot of them will be different to what they were. Tilly Galloway is a journalist working for a Sydney newspaper and she has been covering the war but that is all about to change for Tilly. Tilly has been put back on the women’s pages at the paper because the men are back and she really struggles w This books starts on VP day in Sydney the end of the war in the pacific and the Sydney streets come alive with rejoicing, happiness and tears of joy, the men will be coming home those that survived but a lot of them will be different to what they were. Tilly Galloway is a journalist working for a Sydney newspaper and she has been covering the war but that is all about to change for Tilly. Tilly has been put back on the women’s pages at the paper because the men are back and she really struggles with fashion and the exclusive parties she is better than that and is pushing to change this. Tilly is also waiting on news of her husband Archie a prisoner-of-war and as time goes by she is more convinced that he will not be coming home, but there is always hope. Tilly is taking in the changes and seeing the woman who stepped up to help during the war sent back to their homes and kitchens, life has changed so much for everyone. Tilly is good friends with fellow journalist and war correspondent Georg Cooper and he is helping with the search for Archie, he also knows what a great journalist Tilly is and is there for her, encouraging her to keep going, Tilly’s father is a waterside worker and they are on strike and Tilly’s flat mate Mary is really struggling with her husband Bert who came home a totally different man after being in Changi Prison. Australia is changing everything is being turned upside down, but strength and courage will keep everyone going. I loved this story from page one, I fell into the dancing in the street and didn’t want to put it down, I loved Tilly so much woman really had a hard time back in these days but Tilly showed strength to keep going and stand up for what she thought was right, this one is an emotional and poignant story one that I highly recommend, Victoria Purman is a fabulous author, it is beautifully written with so much love and caring, don’t miss this one.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Marshall

    When I first started Victoria Purman's #TheWomensPages, I was drawn into it as she told of the end of WWII as it happened in Australia but the further into it I went, the more difficult it got to read. There was so much focus on background - 80% of a chapter could be dedicated to it- that I didn't feel like there was much of a plot and it got difficult to read further. 🌟🌟 When I first started Victoria Purman's #TheWomensPages, I was drawn into it as she told of the end of WWII as it happened in Australia but the further into it I went, the more difficult it got to read. There was so much focus on background - 80% of a chapter could be dedicated to it- that I didn't feel like there was much of a plot and it got difficult to read further. 🌟🌟

  30. 5 out of 5

    Janine

    I always look forward to Victoria Purman's books as I have really enjoyed them but this one was not my favourite. Well researched and written but a bit heavy on descriptions and light on fiction as I found it a bit slow. I always look forward to Victoria Purman's books as I have really enjoyed them but this one was not my favourite. Well researched and written but a bit heavy on descriptions and light on fiction as I found it a bit slow.

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