March 22

The Women’s Pages by Deborah Adelaide

There is a particular walk I get when I leave a shop with a newly purchased book I can’t wait to read…’s part jaunt, part quickstep with an occasional sashay  –  and it must look very odd to passersby I grant you.  But when I  picked up acclaimed author Deborah Adelaide’s new offering, my ‘new-book walk’ nearly graduated to a cartwheel.

Yes. I was that happy.

I really like Deborah Adelaide and I a.b.s.o.l.u.t.e.l.y loved her previous best seller The Household Guide to Dying so I was desperate to dive back into the beauty of Adelaide’s words.

The Women’s Pages combines two very different stories – that of fledgling author Dove and  the subject  of Dove’s novel, Ellis, a rather complicated, driven woman living in the 60s.  We criss-cross between their stories, jumping timezones from modern day to the 60s and  chapter by chapter, we fall in step with each woman’s life.   Both Dove and Ellis are loners, they have secrets, they are seeking out someone….who, though is never quite clear, till the very end (and by end I mean the last line).

This book is a clever look at the choices women make and why they do.   If I had to say what I thought the over-riding emotion in the story was, I would say yearning. Deep yearning.  Dove and Ellis are desperately seeking something and running from it at the same time.  What I found missing however was hope and so there was a general foundation of sadness – which is ok – if you are in the mood for it.

I liked this book, I did, but it was a long way away from the wonder of Adelaide’s previous work for me.   Granted I set a high bench mark on that score but I think I was  underwhelmed because I missed being so overwhelmed by her previous work,  if that makes sense?

So was it deserving of a cartwheel?  Probably not.  A jaunt maybe – but only just…..

But that is just my two cents worth.