A RESPECTABLE WOMAN

 

After losing her beloved family in the Great War, Nell is grateful to marry Stan Hibbert, believing that with him, she can recapture the loving family feeling she has lost. Five years on, she is just another back-street housewife, making every penny do the work of tuppence and performing miracles with scrag-end. When she discovers that Stan is leading a double-life, she runs away to make a fresh start elsewhere.

 

Two years later, in 1924, Nell has carved out a fulfilling new life for herself and her young children in Manchester, where her neighbours believe she is a respectable widow, as do her fellow-workers in the garment factory where she is a talented machinist. Even her children believe their father is dead. Nell lives for her children and tries hard not to fall in love with Jim Franks, the handsome window cleaner who does so much to help her. After all, she is really a married woman.

 

When a figure from the past turns up, Nell has to face a court case. Will the respectable life she has fought for be enough to allow her to keep her children or will her lies mean she will lose them forever?

UK hardback  

UK ebook  

UK paperback    (November 8th)

 

US hardback      (July 27th)

US ebook   

US paperback    (February 2nd 2019)

 

Canada hardback     (August 30th)

Canada ebook   

Canada paperback   (January 24th 2019)

 

Australia ebook  

The audio version of A Respectable Woman is read by Julia Franklin, who read The Deserter's Daughter.

 

Here is a short clip of the beginning of the story.

 

You may also enjoy this short clip in which Julia explains why she loves reading audiobooks.

 

More About A Respectable Woman:

 

To find out more about the plot and characters, click here to read two more blurbs I wrote for the book. See which of the three blurbs you like the best.

 

 

 

 

To find out how Nell, the heroine, came by her name, click here. Why the picture of books by Victoria Holt? Click the link and find out!

REVIEWS OF A RESPECTABLE WOMAN

 

Publishers Weekly

"Escaping one’s past is at the heart of this endearing historical romance...Bavin’s character-driven narrative, peppered with colloquial dialogue, rings with authenticity... The sweet attraction between [Jim] and Nell give the story heart, while Bavin’s finely sculpted cast of secondary characters, most of whom are struggling with postwar poverty, give the story true substance. The focus on historical and emotional authenticity will leave readers heartily satisfied."

 

Booklist Online

"...complete with a jaw-dropping twist near the end, this is a well-crafted novel with a strong, compassionate lead character and a splendid sense of time and place."

 

Catherine's Cultural Wednesdays

"As the pages turned I was outraged at the treatment of women in the 1920s and desperate to know how Nell would resolve her problems... Susanna Bavin’s first book The Deserter's Daughter kept me awake until the small hours as I was so keen to find out what happened and A Respectable Woman was no different.  If you love a saga this is a book for you. If you don’t classify yourself as a saga lover (and I don’t), the themes and the twists of the story will have you hooked."

Places in A Respectable Woman:

 

This is an old photograph of Edge Lane. On the left hand side, you can see the trees that edge the grounds in which stands St Clement's Church.

 

On the other side of the road on the right, and further down (it would take you five minutes to walk that far), is where Mrs Randall and Mrs Marsden live in the story; and where Nell helps look after the girl when she is knocked down.

 

There were lots of trees along Edge Lane. Here is the start of the accident scene in Chapter 16.

 

"The foliage overhanging the garden walls on Edge Lane was young and fresh. Jim pushed his barrow, enjoying the variety of greens shifting in the breeze, the deep green of the horse chestnut complete with its candles of white flowers, the glossy green of the laburnum with its fluid tassels of golden blooms, and the bright green of the good old beech. That exhausted his knowledge of trees. He ought to learn more, just as he had learnt the names of the wildflowers on the meadows. Living this simpler life had given him the time to discover an interest in nature."

 

 

This picture shows Market Street, where Nell finds work at Ingleby's.

 

Here is the descritpion of Nell entering Ingleby's on her way to her interview:

 

"Nell sucked in a deep breath before walking into Ingleby’s. The ground floor sold ready-made garments for the well-to-do middle-class: pretty day-dresses and smart evening wear, warm coats for motoring and cool linens for sports; the sort of garments Nell made at the factory, fines fabrics and attractive styles that weren’t for the likes of her. A notice on the wall informed her that Drapery and Haberdashery were to be found on the first floor. Below it, another notice invited her to visit ‘our new Sewing Machines Department.’

 

Beside a caged lift stood a uniformed lad, but today of all days was a time for sticking with what she knew, so she went up the stairs into an Aladdin’s cave of ribbons, braids, beads and buttons. It would be a joy to linger and explore, but she saw a sign for the Sewing Machine Department and wove her way towards it, her heart speeding up."