Tag Archives: sales assistants

Review: The Women in Black

The Women in Black by Madeleine St. John
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: My local library – get your own copy from The Book Depository OR direct from Text Classics.

This book tells the lives of the Sales Assistants in Ladies’ Cocktail Frocks of the posh F.G. Goode department store. There are Patty, Fay, and Magda (a Continental in charge of Model Gowns –one of a kind gown available in one size only). Lisa (aka Lesley) had just done her Leaving Certificate (ie. HSC) and is looking to earn some pocket money during the Christmas / New Year’s period. These ladies are required to dress in the uniform black dress (cut in 1930s style).

They are heart-warming stories that tickle with endings to melt your heart and make you smile in remembrance. From Patty’s cold & childless marriage, Fay’s failures for love, to Lisa’s yearning to be grown up, there are anecdotes there for readers to identify with and sympathise. The chapters are very short and made this book to be very quick read (only a couple of hours) but really enjoyable. If you’re looking for a relaxing beach read – I’d totes recommend this book.

‘I’ll see,’ she said. ‘But Lisa! Lisa! How could you such a thing? To change your name like that, and not a word to me. It’s so sly.’
‘Oh Mum,’ said Lisa. ‘I didn’t mean to be sly, I didn’t. I just wanted – I wanted a real girl’s name. Lesley is a boy’s name.’
‘It’s a girl’s name too,’ said her mother. ‘It’s spelt differently for a boy.’
‘But it sounds the same,’ said Lisa, ‘ that’s what counts. I wanted a proper girl’s name, for when I grew up. I’ve been a child for so long now; I want to be grown up.’
‘Oh Lesley—‘ said her mother, ‘Lisa. If you only knew what being grown up can be like, you wouldn’t want to do it any faster than you have to.’

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