It’s 1930, and as the Depression overtakes rural New South Wales, what it means to be a wife tests the four respectable ladies of Prospect to their very limit. Four Respectable Ladies Seek the Meaning of Wife is the latest hilarious and heart-warming novel from Barbara Toner.
Discussion points and questions:
- Why might each of the four ladies ask themselves the question posed in the title?
- What might their answers be at a) the beginning of the book and b) the end?
- Has the meaning of wife changed since 1930 – if not, why not and if so, how?
- Do the ladies’ existing or potential partners have a view of what they think their wives should be? How does this affect each lady’s behaviour?
- Has how and why we marry changed since 1930? If so, for better or worse?
- How do the ladies’ views of marriage (and wifely obligations) differ from each other?
- Is Larry Murdoch more romantic than villainous?
- Why is the meaning of wife central to the plot?