The Women’s Pages. Victoria Purman

book coverPublished: Harlequin Australia
Date: 3rd September 2020
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

In The Women’s Pages, Victoria Purman tells us the story – the history – of the lives of those as WW2 ends in Australia. In particular she paints a picture for us of the life of a woman journalist and her family and friends.

Tilly’s husband is a soldier at war, she hasn’t heard from him since 1942, but she forever hopes, as she writes  what she is assigned. What she is assigned is not always to her passion. Women are in many ways ridiculed by the men, who take “the important” stories and the larger pay packets home.

In many ways this is a black and white picture. Victoria Purman manages to provide for us an idea of the realities of that time. It is still a time of great struggle and injustice. Men return – if they do – often physically and psychologically wounded. With images in their minds that will scar them forever.  Women have scraped and provided for their families on very little and still there is very little let up. Everywhere there is injustice.

We especially see that injustice played out in the life of Tilly’s father – a waterside worker. They worked long hard hours for little remuneration and very poor working conditions. They are asking for better and are labelled “commies”.

Tilly is a gutsy woman, she has passion and fire. Even though she suffers in little and large ways she fights on. She takes the opportunities small as they are, she sees the stories of so many women of that time and is determined to make a difference.

A very realistic and eye opening depiction of this era from a woman’s point of view. Well done to Victoria Purman.


Missing Pieces. Heather Gudenkauf

book cover

Missing Pieces
Heather Gudenkauf
Published: Harlequin Australia MIRA
Date: 1st February 2016
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 288
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
4 stars                           Add to Goodreads

Sarah Quinlan’s husband, Jack, has been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. For years Jack has avoided returning home, but when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded.

Upon arriving, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago. But as facts about Julia’s accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. Sarah dives deep into the puzzling rabbit hole of Jack’s past, but the farther in she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a deadly truth she may not be prepared for.

My thoughts banner
Right from the beginning Missing Pieces sucked me in. From an idyllic country setting to a sinister murder in the first few pages. And when we cut to Jack and his wife Sarah, it doesn’t add up. Jack is not telling anywhere near the truth of that day, and Sarah has long been kept in the dark. A long time, because they have two college age daughters. 
When they return to Iowa because Jack’s Aunt Julia is lying in hospital after a fall down the stairs, Sarah begins to find little cracks appearing. She realises Jack has kept her very much in the dark. He’s told Sarah his parents died in a car crash. And as the reader you know that’s untrue and have to ask – why? Just as Sarah does. Then there is his sister Amy, who is having problems, seems highly anxious and unhinged.  As well there is Jack’s cousin Dean and his wife Celia, and aren’t those two just another little item that Jack has been keeping quiet about. It’s all very creepy and suspicious.
So who has done it? Who has murdered Jack’s mother? And what of Aunt Julia. Accident or Murder? We definitely know “that something is rotten in the state of Denmark Penny Gate, Iowa”.

Sarah seeks the truth, all the time becoming more unsure of Jack and their marriage. As a journalist she takes risks and sifts through material that might give her clues. Can she do all that before the murderer strikes again? 
A few small clues are dropped but I have to say when the final revelation came I had not put that person at the top of my suspect list. 
This one had me reading on for sure, a creepy ‘who dun it’ that I raced through.
crime book icon Map of USA setting page turner book iconwell written book icon