A Respectable Woman by Susanna Bavin
‘The focus on historical and emotional authenticity will leave readers heartily satisfied’ Publishers Weekly
After losing everything she holds dear in the Great War, Nell believes that marrying Stan Hibbert will help to recapture the loving family feeling she has lost. Five years on, she is just another penny-pinching, back-street housewife. When she discovers Stan is leading a double-life, she runs away to make a fresh start elsewhere.
Nell forges a new life for herself and her children in Manchester, working in a garment factory as a talented machinist. Her neighbours and colleagues believe she is a respectable widow – even her children think their father is dead – but when the past comes back to haunt her, Nell is faced with a court trial and will have to answer for her actions.
‘A real page-turner that will tug at your heartstrings’ Anna Jacobs
A few weeks ago I read Susanna Bavin’s latest novel and I was so blown away by the amazing storytelling that I just knew I needed to read more from this author.
It may have been a cloudy week away in Wales for me and the dogs but I didn’t care because it gave me chance to immerse myself in the pages of A Respectable Woman and I finished it in a couple of days.
This is the story of Nell Hibbert and her adorable children set in 1920’s Manchester. When Nell has some devastating news she gathers her child and a few possessions and runs away to start a new life. Times are hard, women were not supposed to be breadwinners and Nell is carrying her second child. Due to the incredible kindness of older residents and a warm community spirit, Nell takes up offers of childcare and secures a job as a sewing machinist.
When life catches up with Nell she finds herself in an unbearable position. However, a mysterious man with a troubled past is determined to help. Jim is working as a window cleaner and helping the poor while he recovers from a difficult time in his life. The residents are actually unaware that Jim is a trained solicitor from a wealthy background.
As well as Nell and her children, there is an amazing supporting cast and her friend Leonie’s story is equally as captivating. Of course, there has to be a villain and some of Edwin’s actions literally sent chills down my spine. The historical content is accurate and shocking, it highlights just how hard and unjust it was for women in this era. There is a warmth, kindness, and humour about this story that just stole my heart and the children just made me want to reach inside the pages to give them a huge hug.
Lovers of historical fiction will adore this book, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Susanna Bavin has quickly become one of my favourite authors.
Other books by Susanna Bavin
Thank you for reading.