Nina Bawden

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Afternoon of a Good Woman

book | 1976

Penelope has always done her best to be a good wife, a good mistress, a good mother and a good magistrate. Today, she is more conscious than usual of the thinness of the thread that separates good from bad, the law-abiding from the criminal.

Sitting in court, hearing a short, sad case of indecent exposure and a long, confused theft, she finds herself simultaneously examining her own sex life (how would all that sound in court?) and her own actions and intentions.

Afternoon of a Good Woman is an ingeniously constructed novel which counterpoints public appearance with private behavior. The result is a picture of a not always admirable but engagingly complex, and very human, heroine.

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