The astonishingly rich prize of the 1956 Australian Women's Weekly cookery competition offers two women the possibility of a new kind of future, in this compassionate look at the extraordinary lives of ordinary women - our mothers and grandmothers - in a beautifully realised post-war Australia.
It's 1956, and while Melbourne is in a frenzy gearing up for the Olympics, the women of Australia are cooking up a storm for their chance to win the equivalent of a year's salary in the extraordinary Australian Women's Weekly cookery contest.
For two women, in particular, the prize could be life-changing. For war widow and single mum Ivy Quinn, a win would mean more time to spend with her twelve-year-old son, Raymond. Mother of five Kathleen O'Grady has no time for cooking competitions, but the prize could offer her a different kind of life for herself and her children, and the chance to control her own future.
As winter turns to spring both women begin to question their lives. For Kathleen, the grinding domesticity of her work as a wife and mother no longer seems enough, while Ivy begins to realise she has the courage to make a difference for other women and tell the truth about the ghosts from her past.
But is it the competition prize that would give them a new way of seeing the world - a chance to free themselves from society's expectation and change their own futures - or is it the creativity and confidence it brings?
Praise for Victoria Purman
'Heart-achingly raw yet filled with the beauty of the human spirit, [The Nurses' War] is a triumph that will linger in the heart and psyche.' Karen Brooks, author of The Good Wife of Bath
'A richly crafted novel ... [The Women's Pages] graphically depicts life during those harrowing years. A touching tale and an enthralling read.' Reader's Digest
A Woman’s Work
Thank you Victoria Purman for this heart warming book about real people and circumstances in Australia in 1956 …. a page turner for me and beautifully written ….have read many of your books and this is right up there with The Land Girls ….