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Book Review: "The Divorcées" by Rowan Beaird

5/5 - one of the best debuts I have ever read...

By Annie KapurPublished 10 days ago 3 min read
Photograph Taken by Me

I have had only one hour of sleep and even though it wasn't caused by this book, it was definitely better because of it. I felt myself overheating in the middle of the night and becoming restless. I drank a whole bottle of sparkling San Pellegrino water and yet, nothing. I watched television and got a headache. My only solace, I knew, was a book to read. On my Amazon Recommendations was nothing to my tastes at the time and so, I went into the depths, looking at the 'customers who bought this also bought...' sections of the recommendations. That is where I found The Divorcées and I knew it had to be read.

This book is about a woman called Lois who, six weeks' earlier than the present day, has gone to live at Golden Yarrow, a ranch designed to help divorced women move on into their new lives of either their next marriage or, resigning themselves to living on the ranch under the firm hand of a manager named Rita - she treats the women like children. Set in the 1950s, this book often reflects the lack of choices women have, such as no finances or choices, no freedoms or ability to own property. In this book, the idea that freedom can only come with marriage is often perpetuated to the women so much that many divorce, come to the ranch to stay and then end up marrying someone else by the end of their stay.

From: The New York Times

Lois is initially an outsider, not really as outgoing as the other women. She stays pretty much by herself, a closed person who knows the women by name but not by much else. That is until another woman arrives on the ranch and doesn't come to breakfast. Her name is Greer. Greer initially scares Lois but pretty soon, they become closer. In nights of truth or dark played in the Highlands Bar and late nights spent in the casino trying to win more money, Lois is dragged into a world of confidence that she has never known. However, whether this is entirely good for her is a wholly different question.

Amongst the characters, we have various personalities. The quippy June is often the one to have a joke and some banter. However, Dorothy and Mary Elizabeth do not shy away from the fun. We have Vera who was once eager and kind turn into a quiet soul after a night spent with the girls at the casino especially for her. As the women become closer, they all know that none of this can last forever and, with the memories of her dead mother - Lois vows herself not to be the property of any man. It may seem like a revolutionary concept now, but in the 1950s it was basically something that was unthinkably revolutionary. Lois is a character that slowly but surely comes into her own and as we, the readers, watch this, we wonder which way she is being dragged. We know it is good for her, but there are some setbacks that when the novel finishes, must be cleaned up.

A gun, a vase and some jackrabbits litter the novel as symbols of freedom and escape. Rita, the kind but firm head of the ranch takes to telling Lois off for things that she has done that are not necessarily lady-like. But, when her finger is on the trigger of a gun, there is little else to do. As a pool of blood appears, Lois is left shaking, wondering if this time, she has gone too far into her own world.

From: Amazon

Between Lois's past with her cruel husband Lawrence and her brooding, patriarchal father and her present with this group of divorced women, she starts to see the world in a whole new light. This novel borders on the insane, the criminal, the thrilling, the enchanting and the spellbinding as we root for Lois's escape. However. it is how she might get there that worries the hell out of us. From talks with her lawyers to days in a bathing suit by the side of the pool, something is about to change the world of Lois so much that she may never be able to go back.

All in all, I thought this book was fantastic. I'm quite happy that I'm on a reading streak of really good books at the moment and I hope that you can take some reading recommendations from these reviews. The author truly creates something very special by blending genres here. It is an incredible achievement and the writer should be very proud.


About the Creator

Annie Kapur

200K+ Reads on Vocal.

Secondary English Teacher & Lecturer

🎓Literature & Writing (B.A)

🎓Film & Writing (M.A)

🎓Secondary English Education (PgDipEd) (QTS)

📍Birmingham, UK

X: @AnnieWithBooks

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Comments (1)

  • Kendall Defoe 10 days ago

    More on my list!

Annie KapurWritten by Annie Kapur

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