As a child who loved to read, I came up with the term ‘book depression’ to describe the feeling you get having read an amazing novel that just won’t let you go. Thanks to both the subject of Debra Adelaide’s masterfully crafted narrative, and the way the reader becomes attached to the characters that people its pages, this is how I feel having read The Women’s Pages.
At its core, the novel explores the strength of women in the face of all of life’s challenges. Dove is an amateur writer coping with the impending death of her adoptive mother, who insists on being read to from the book she could never let go of - Wuthering Heights. As Dove grieves for her lost adoptive mother, and the birth mother she never knew, she begins to understand the power that comes from having the creative licence to write characters in and out of her own story. Reading The Women’s Pages, we are given an unusual insight into the writing process, through the eyes of the protagonist, while also feeling the weight and influence of Adelaide’s own creative process. While The Women’s Pages is a book that won’t let you go, it’s also one you shouldn’t let pass you by.
Debra Adelaide is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at UTS, and the author and editor of 12 books. The Women’s Pages is her most recent novel.