The Women in Black by Madeleine St John
What a delightful story set in the 1950s in Australia.
“Sydney in the late 1950s. On the second floor of the famous F.G. Goode department store, in Ladies’ Cocktail Frocks, the women in black are girding themselves for the Christmas rush. Lisa is the new Sales Assistant (Temporary). Across the floor and beyond the arch, she is about to meet the glamorous Continental refugee, Magda, guardian of the rose-pink cave of Model Gowns.
With the lightest touch and the most tender of comic instincts, Madeleine St John conjures a vanished summer of innocence.”
The Women in Black is a classic. A happy read.
There is a movie and stage show “Ladies in Black” based on the novel.
The Library Book by Susan Orlean
This book is about the mysterious 1986 fire that gutted Los Angeles’ landmark Central Library. “The Library Book” re investigates the fire and recounts the rescue efforts by hundreds of Los Angeles residents who raced to the stacks to save books from smoke and water damage.
The author brings to life legendary characters from the library’s past and present, and reveals L.A.’s passions and obsessions.
“The people in shipping know all the trends, they can tell when a book was recommended by Oprah, because they will pack dozens of copies that have been requested all over the city.”
“They know that the day after any holiday, the load will be heavy: Apparently everyone in Los Angeles gets on the computer right after Thanksgiving dinner and makes requests for diet books.”
That is just a couple of examples of the anecdotes included in the book. This is an informative book and as a retired librarian I thoroughly enjoyed it. The aspect that sticks with me most is the fact that the library is used as a safe haven by those who are perhaps homeless or have nowhere to base themselves during the day. Also the role of the library is constantly changing and it continues to be extremely relevant in today’s world. The sad part is that governments in some countries continue to cut funding to libraries and also close down libraries. So sad.
A Murder Unmentioned by Sulari Gentill
I last read a Sulari Gentill book in 2014, Gentlemen Formerly Dresed.
I found two of her books, which I haven’t read, in our library when I was browsing the shelves. I have read them in quick succession. I will leave the second one until my next book posting.
A Murder Unmentioned
“The black sheep of a wealthy grazier dynasty, gentleman artist Rowland Sinclair often takes matters into his own hands. When the matter is murder, there are consequences.
For nearly fourteen years, Rowland has tried to forget, but now the past has returned.
A newly-discovered gun casts light on a family secret long kept… a murder the Sinclairs would prefer stayed unsolved.
As old wounds tear open, the dogged loyalty of Rowland’s inappropriate companions is all that stands between him and the consequences of a brutal murder… one he simply failed to mention.”
This is the sixth book in this series and I am still thoroughly enjoying the characters and the plots. Gentill has the historical facts, the atmosphere of the time, the mix of fictional and real characters all written beautifully. She obviously spends a great deal of time on research. Her husband is a history and English teacher and he helps edit and research her work.
If you haven’t read any of her books I suggest you start with number one in the series. A Few Right Thinking Men