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Friday, February 27, 2015

Matrons and Madams by Sharon Johnston

This book was sent to me via Edelweiss. The cover does not do the book any justice at all.

Adele is an experienced Matron from the first World War. She was also widowed and then tragically lost her young son to the great flu epidemic that swept across Britain. Adele along with her daughter looks for fresh pastures to get away from all the tragedy and she applies to a hospital in Lethbridge, Canada.

Lily is herself a young married woman looking forward to a bright future comes from Nova Scotia to Lethbridge. She tragically loses her husband in an accident and now this teacher has to find alternate employment to support herself. Failing to find anything, she turns to managing The Last Post - a brothel. She does this with efficiency and compassion.

When Adele and Lily meet they find there is an urgent need to ensure that young women and the men who patronize the brothels must be able to access the hospital's clinic to ensure that venereal disease does not spread rampantly in the province. They have to do this in the face of stiff opposition from the conservative folk of Lethbridge alongside union members, clergy and others who feel that this is just too much for Lethbridge.

Told in the backdrop of war, the story of survival of both Lily and Adele in the face of personal tragedy, their bid for professional success in their respective fields and also eventually finding love again is very nicely told.

The combination of the hospital and the prostitution, bars and brothels of this city are blended well to bring an unusual story to light.


Yvonne said...

Great choice! Sounds like a good read.

Literary Feline said...

Adele sounds like a character I would like to get to know. I love reading books in this setting. Adding this one to my wish list.