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Ladies in Black

Narrated by: Deidre Rubenstein
Length: 5 hrs and 52 mins
5 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)
Regular price: £27.99
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Summary

Now a major motion picture starring Rachael Taylor, Angourie Rice and Jullia Ormond. 

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.  

Written by a superb novelist of contemporary manners, Ladies in Black is a fairytale which illuminates the extraordinariness of ordinary lives. The women in black are run off their feet, what with the Christmas rush and the summer sales that follow. But it’s Sydney in the 1950s, and there’s still just enough time left on a hot and frantic day to dream and scheme....

By the time the last marked-down frock has been sold, most of the staff of the Ladies’ Cocktail section at F. G. Goode’s have been launched into slightly different careers. 

With the lightest touch and the most tender of comic instincts, Madeleine St John conjures a vanished summer of innocence. Ladies in Black is a great novel, a lost Australian classic.

©1993 Madeleine St John (P)2009 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

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Warmly entertaining period piece

Warmly entertaining period piece, shades of 'Ladies Delight'.

An enjoyable listen, set in a large Australian department store in the women's clothing section. It follows a group of disparate women, from a teenager struggling to find her feet away from her parents to the older married women with issues of their own.

Two of the four main characters stood out for me more than the others, their storylines were more of interest to me. I enjoyed the time period and all the social issues associated with it, but also the Australian setting occasionally reminded me of the differences in place and attitude.

Some funny scenes and characters, the narrator brought the accent(s) out well, differentiating the different men and women with ease.

I have enjoyed shop-set stories in the past, Zola's 'Ladies Delight' and the Woodhead 'Mr Selfridge' book and this felt very much authentically of the genre. It's a light-feeling pleasure, and I've now discovered it's also a film which I will try to watch. It should work nicely on a screen.

This is an easy listen to keep up with despite the multiple storylines/narrators, the speaker does manage to make each sound different but the book itself separates them easily so you instantly know which character you are following.

With thanks to Nudge Books for providing a sample Audible copy.