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Four Respectable Ladies Seek Part-time Husband

(Four Respectable Ladies Seek... #1)

3.26  ·  Rating details ·  215 ratings  ·  44 reviews
A charming and witty novel, set in a small country town in 1919.

'When Adelaide Nightingale, Louisa Worthington, Maggie O'Connell and Pearl McLeary threw caution to the winds in the most brazen way imaginable, disgrace was inevitable.'

It's September 1919. The war is over, and everyone who was going to die from the flu has done so. But there's a shortage of husbands and wom
Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 29th 2018 by Transworld Publisher
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Average rating 3.26  · 
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 ·  215 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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Sep 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: rural, 2018, ww1
This was quite a fun read, an almost farcical situation created when four respectable ladies, who need a man to help with their problems, advertise for a capable man but end up with an incompetent but likeable larrikin. He doesn't so much end up helping them as opening their eyes to the fact that they are capable of helping themselves, and if they band together, each other.

There is much going on in this book with a caricature mayor and his toffee nosed wife, blackmailing, fake bushrangers, a mi
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
Australian author Barbara Toner has released a new historical fiction title that comes with an ultra catchy title, Four Respectable Ladies Seek Part-time Husband. This book, put simply, is just a wonderful ode to female friendship, gender and the social mores that existed in post World War I. With light and dark areas, the issues presented in Four Respectable Ladies Seek Part-time Husband are told with a delicate balance of both conviction and humour.

Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Four respectable ladies in friendly country town seek part-time husband. Must have knowledge of the law, banking, horses and bush skills as well as a grasp of boxing, farming and retail. Salary by agreement. Contact PO Box 293, Sydney.”

Four Respectable Ladies Seek Part-time Husband is the eighth novel by Australian author, Barbara Toner. Part-time HUSBAND? Well, it’s true, the advertisement should not have been worded like that. They were four respectable ladies: a wife, a war widow, a fiancée
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
In a plot worthy of Shakespeare or Wilde, this convoluted melodrama of four women in post-WW1 NSW is both comic and tragic. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Lesley Moseley
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
WHAT FUN!!! I seldom try books labelled 'funny', as I seldom do! This was not, but I just LOVED the LANGUAGE... eg summat like " The rich ladies were dressed to the nines, and the poor one, to the eights"... Long time since I was so delighted with a lighthearted read.
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-release
Despite having the vote, women in 1919 were still dependent on a man to handle certain aspects of their lives. If you didn't have one to turn to or the one you had dismissed your concerns, hiring a part-time husband seemed a very plausible solution. Of course, not all plans are foolproof and how this one goes awry is very entertaining. The outcome, with a few surprising revelations along the way, is the perfect end to a thoroughly delightful book.

In Four Respectable Ladies Seek Part-time Husband
This promised a lot but didn't quite reach the level I was hoping for. Lots of characters to keep track of and a few confusing situations.
Jessica M
Jan 30, 2018 rated it liked it

Four Respectable Ladies Seek Part-Time Husband by Barbara Toner is a historical fiction novel set in the small country town of Prospect in 1919.

The war and the Spanish flu are over, but four women in town are struggling. They each face different dilemmas and they need help. Louise needs to clear the debt left behind by her deceased husband, Maggie needs help fighting for land, Adelaide’s family store is being pilfered by their manager, and Pearl’s fiancé is missing and s
Theresa Smith
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jane Austen meets Rosalie Ham in this utterly delightful new novel from Barbara Toner. Even the title, Four Respectable Ladies Seek Part-time Husband, speaks for itself in terms of the story. Yes, these four women do pool their resources to hire a part-time husband to share, and yes, the results are as outrageous as you might expect. Particularly when you consider that at the outset, these four women aren’t even friends. In fact, with the exception of Pearl, they each harbour rather intense long ...more
Jodie- Readthewriteact
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was sent to me by the publisher for my honest review.

I love the way this book is written. Instead of the author sticking to one character per chapter, their storylines bleed into one another. This means you are not left waiting to see what's happening to your preferred character for very long, because let's be honest you always have one preferred character.

With four lead characters the author did a great job of making them so individual and distinct. They have their own personalities a
Sam Still Reading
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who enjoy tragi-comedy, light hearted reads
Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: from publisher
Four Respectable Ladies Seek Part-time Husband is a book that honestly, didn’t work for me. On paper, it ticks many of the boxes I enjoy in fiction: central female characters, Australian, historical setting and a bit of a laugh. Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite get into this book enough to enjoy it. Looking at other reviews, I’m easily in the minority.

The premise of the book is interesting and unique. It’s set after World War I and Spanish influenza have decimated Australia’s men (and women). Fo
Bree T
Jan 25, 2018 rated it liked it
I loved the idea of this book. Post-WWI Australia is not a setting I encounter a lot and I was very intrigued with it. It was a very strange time – whilst men were away at war women had to take on roles they would previously not have done. There were men who had not gone to war (Australia did not have conscription for WWI and therefore all that signed up were volunteers) found their jobs given to returning soldiers or that those soldiers had returned to reclaim the jobs they’d had before they le ...more
Sally Sutton
May 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Another recommend from my magazine so I was disappointed. It's a very silly book and only really became entertaining for the last quarter. As another reviewer commented I did not affiliate with any of the central characters. Not a tale I would recommend.
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was a struggle to finish. It wasn't at all the tale I expected of women empowering themselves and realizing that the man they'd hired was just an obstacle to overcome. The historical context didn't interest me, too much assumption that communities had relied on men for essential work, when in reality the opposite is true.

I prefer my feminist fiction to have more bite to it. This novel feels very mumsy and safe. Oh and the male character is just a dumb caricature. There is nothing in his per
Bronwyn Mcloughlin
Apr 14, 2018 rated it liked it
The premise sounds fun and quirky, and I suppose I was yearning for something along the lines of the dressmaker. And there are similar elements, but Ham does it with a lightness of touch and a deceptive simplicity missing here. Four women, feeling powerless at the hands of post war issues resulting from male generated disasters, stumble upon a solution that is nonetheless destined for disaster - find a competent man to advocate on their behalf. Not easily done in community who has lost the best ...more
Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

**rated 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3.

Four Respectable Ladies Seek Part-time Husband by Barbara Toner. (2018).

It is September 1919. In a small town in New South Wales lives four ladies: Louisa, whose husband died in the war and she is left with debts; Maggie, who is alone with her two handful brothers and fighting for land she can't prove is hers; Adelaide, whose husband has returned from the war different and won't help her deal with their thieving store manager; and P
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Meryl bookclub 2019

If you judged this book by its cover, you would consign the frothy confection on the front to chick lit, while not being judgemental per se, perhaps a little sniffy about putting this book where it belongs.

Well don't. Four Respectable Ladies is most definitely not chick lit.
What it is, is tragi-comedy, written through the prism of satire.
You have been warned.

It's 1919. The war is over and some husbands came home (sort of) and some didn't.
Those that were going to die of the Sp
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: aussie-author
I could not wait to read this one. It's sounds fabulous, don't you agree?
But, oh, I was so disappointed :(
Instead of being light-hearted and fun (my preconceived idea), it was tedious and dull (gasp).
I began to get the main characters mixed up. I found it hard to work out which one I was reading about at the time.
So .. I ended up skimming.
Kelly Callaghan
Apr 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
Sorry I couldn't finish this book. I really wanted to like it - the title is very appealing.

The writing was heavy going and the characters unlikeable. Some reviewers stuck it out to the end to see what happens. I don't care enough for that.
Set in 1919, in the country town of Prospect,NSW, this is the tale of four women who find themselves unable to resolve their desperate problems due the lack of functional men in their lives. The war is over, the flu has been survived and women are being sent back to the kitchen in the belief that they are provided for, and protected by, the returning heroes.

Of course, the men in their lives have caused their problems and they find that they cannot undertake the solutions as no one will listen to
Aug 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Odd book. Four women living in a country town at the end of World War One need a man to assist them with various problems so they hire one who is not entirely suitable. The author has a very clever turn of phrase, and sense of immediacy in her writing, and there are some great observations on human frailties and country town life. But there is no real character investigation or development in this book, and I therefore found it hard to engage with, particularly in the first third, and nearly gav ...more
Apr 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joanna Burke
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loved this book.
I enjoyed the way the author constructed the story so that the stories of four individual women were told and developed through the one central idea of getting a shared husband. Great concept!
I love the historic Australian setting - I felt it raised so many issues about the way women were viewed and treated at the time of the war - but the issues were highlighted in a matter of fact way rather than forced onto the reader.
Some of the secondary characters were really fun to disli
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
In this Australian historical fiction it’s September 1919 and in Prospect NSW, there is a shortage of husbands. What a four respectable women to do when they find themselves in trouble? They know that can forge forward on their own, but society isn’t ready for such forwardness from respectable women... they must seek a part time husband!

I love the tone, tension and way in which this quirky story is written. Even more so I love the strong Australian female voice and perspective of Australian his
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: oz, fiction
I was hoping for Jane Austen (original or at least 'The ... Book Club' variety) with a modern sister's doing it for themselves kind of vibe. What I got was ... I don't really know. Not very much romance. A bit of humour. Characters that were always running places and swinging from loathing to liking one another. Men who appeared only briefly before becoming soul mates. Read it over a couple of days on the easter weekend. What I really wanted was that giddy good feeling. I was instead rather perp ...more
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was fund to read.
Set in 1919 after the war- the men were dead or wounded due to the war or the flu that followed.
Four women who had been coping were finding life becoming increasingly difficult.
Despite not being friends they band together to solve their problems. It needs a man's hand!
He must be able to keep accounts, understand the law, ride horses, build things and fight!
Amusing, yet interesting to watch these ladies solve the problems that had lead them to advertise for a "husband"

I was really looking forward to this book; historical fiction, female-centric, post-WWI, rural Australian setting... Unfortunately I felt it just didn’t ever quite take off. The characters were all a bit flat and the ladies ‘problems’ and subsequent plot development were a little bit scrambled together. I did read the whole book to find out what happened, but I wasn’t gripped by the story.
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
I really couldn't get into this book. I found the women to be a trifle whiny and just downright depressing. I wound up skimming the rest after about fifty pages, and read the end and as the writer said, they didn't really need a man, they have enough where-withal to save themselves, which is great for women's lib but it sounds like there was no mystery or great revelation to their situations. So sorry, wasn't enthused.
Stephanie McLeay
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to dive into this book and have fun with the period setting and farcical premise, but although the ideas were good, the writing really held this book back. The prose was often quite confused, with a lot of jumping from the perspectives of characters within single paragraphs, and the language often let down by being clumsy or overly obvious. I wanted to like each of the characters but they too were quite confused.
This book is set in rural NSW in 1919 in a town modelled on Bomballa. It was a most appropriate read for a weekend in Cooma. The tale of four women seeking a part-time husband to solve their woes is both comic and amusing. I can see this book being made into an excellent movie.
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Barbara Toner is an acclaimed author and columnist who has written extensively about the lot of women in all its manifestations and with all its glorious intricacies, both in fiction and non fiction. Her first two books, Double Shift, and The Facts of Rape were written at a time when there was demonstrably little fair play for women in the work force, the law courts or society in general.

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