Try a Sample Chapter of Victoria Purman’s Wonderful New Novel, The Women’s Pages

Try a Sample Chapter of Victoria Purman’s Wonderful New Novel, The Women’s Pages

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.

She held a sodden handkerchief in her left hand, smeared with what was left of her foundation and mascara, and a cigarette was gripped tightly between the middle and index fingers of her right, the imprint of her Regimental Red Helena Rubinstein lipstick like a kiss on the cork tip end. She dragged hard, filling her lungs with heat and smoke, and her blood with the rush that had kept her going for so long now she couldn’t imagine getting through a day without it. When the tears stopped, when her shoulders stopped shaking, she lit another from the butt of her fourth that morning and leant back in her chair, eyes closed, feeling her heart knock against her ribs.

The whole bloody thing was really over.

She opened her eyes with a quick blink as the cacophonous sounds of victory swept right through her. The phone next to her typewriter rang but it took her a moment to hear it amid the crying and shrieking laughter all around her in the women’s newsroom. She tugged off her marquasite earring, reached for the black receiver and pressed it to her ear.

‘Galloway.’

A song blared from the wireless in the corner—something triumphant with trumpets and stirring strings—and her colleagues, police reporter Maggie Pritchard and Frances Langley from courts, were spinning each other around an imaginary dance floor, Maggie’s blonde curls bouncing at her shoulders and Frances’s glasses slipping to the end of her large nose and in danger of toppling to the floor as they threw their heads back gaily and hooted and hollered.

‘Hello? Are you there?’

Tilly looked back across the sea of empty desks and abandoned Remingtons. Cups of tea were going cold. Someone had pushed open one of the windows overlooking Pitt Street and a gust of wind whipped through the floor and unsettled stacks of copy paper, which swirled into the air like joyously thrown wedding confetti.

‘I’m having trouble hearing you, whoever you are,’ she yelled down the line. ‘In case you haven’t heard, the war’s over. We’re celebrating.’ Tilly puffed on her cigarette and flicked the ash into an overflowing ashtray on her desk.

‘Tilly! Can you hear me now?’ Tilly recognised the voice of her flatmate and dearest friend, Mary.

She covered her free ear with a cupped hand. ‘I can barely hear you, Mary.’

‘Can you really believe it’s over?’

Continue reading the extract here…

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                              Synopsis

                              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...
                              Victoria Purman
                              About the author

                              Victoria Purman

                              Victoria Purman is a multi-published, award-nominated, Amazon Kindle-bestselling author. She has worked in and around the Adelaide media for nearly thirty years as an ABC television and radio journalist, a speechwriter to a premier, political adviser, editor, media adviser and private-sector communications consultant. She is a regular guest at writers’ festivals, has been nominated for a number of readers choice awards and was a judge in the fiction category for the 2018 Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature. Her most recent novels are The Three Miss Allens, published in 2016, The Last of the Bonegilla Girls (2018) and The Land Girls (2019).

                              Books by Victoria Purman

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