Three friends. Three marriages left behind. Life begins in earnest.
It’s 1977, and warm, bohemian Libby – stay-at-home mother, genius entertainer and gifted cook – is lonely. When she meets Carol, who has recently emigrated from London with her controlling husband and is feeling adrift, and Anna, who loves her career but not her marriage, the women form an unexpected bond.
Their husbands aren’t happy about it, and neither are their daughters.
Set against a backdrop of inner-city grunge and 70s glamour, far-out parties and ABBA songs, The Women and The Girls is a funny, questioning and moving novel about love, friendship, work, family, and freedom.
Laura Bloom is the author of eight critically acclaimed novels for adults and children, including The Cleanskin, which was described in The Australian as ‘a masterpiece of drama and characterisation.’ Her novels have been shortlisted for many awards, including the NSW Premier’s Awards. Last year, she took part in our Diversity in Children’s Books podcast series, discussing the importance of disabled characters in fiction. (Laura’s son has autism, as does a character in her book Mika and Max.)
To say that Laura is a literary powerhouse is an understatement – she really is one of Australia’s most interesting and yet underrated authors. With the release of The Women and the Girls, I predict this will change. This novel has everything from bestseller to Netflix series written all over it.
Laura brings 1970s Sydney to vivid life, and I loved the setting for this as a historical. The three women, and their daughters, are placed at a crossroads not only in their lives, but in history of women. This doesn’t get political though. The brilliance of The Women and the Girls is how it explores this era in the unusual choices these women make about their lives.
Without giving too much away, I loved the three women, the exploration of their unhappiness, and that an ABBA concert is the turning point for them all. They are all beautifully drawn and different, all wise, witty, flawed and fierce. A kind of Monkey Grip meets Nine to Five, The Women and The Girls explores the price, and the rewards, of family and friendship in the Age of Aquarius – and at the dawning of the Age of Divorce. It is a celebration of women and being a woman, and I have been thinking about it days after turning the final page.
I love the cover. I love Laura’s polished writing and interesting character choices. And I loved spending time in this world. The Women and The Girls is, quite simply, sensational.