The Divorcees – Rowan Beaird

Set in the glamourous, dizzying world of 1950s Reno, THE DIVORCEES is a dark, riveting page-turner and a dazzling exploration of female friendship, desire, and freedom.

Lois Saunders thought that marrying the right man would finally cure her loneliness. But as picture-perfect as her husband is, she is suffocating in their loveless marriage. In 1951, though, unhappiness is hardly grounds for divorce – except in Reno, Nevada.

At the Golden Yarrow, the most respectable of Reno’s ‘divorce ranches’ Lois finds herself living with half a dozen other would-be divorcees, all in Reno for the six weeks’ residency that is the state’s only divorce requirement. They spend their days riding horses and their nights flirting with cowboys, and it’s as wild and fun as Lake Forest, Illinois, was prim and stifling. But it isn’t until Greer Lange arrives that Lois’s world truly cracks open . . .

Gorgeous, beguiling, and completely indifferent to societal convention, Greer is unlike anyone Lois has ever met – and she sees something in Lois that no one else ever has. Under her influence, Lois begins to push against the limits that have always restrained her. But how much can she really trust her mysterious new friend? And how far will she go to forge her independence, on her own terms?

Book Info: Length: 273 pages. Publisher: Manilla Press. Publication date: 28 March 2024

My Thoughts:

When I read any book I try to take into account the following:

Was the story engaging? Do I like the writing style? Are the characters plausible/relatable? Am I interested enough in the plot to continue reading? Is the subject matter something I am familiar with or am I learning something new? and The Divorcees is a YES to all these questions.

Now, if YOU only read fast paced, suspense thrillers then this book is NOT for you and I wouldn’t even expect you to read the rest of my review. But, if you do enjoy literary or contemporary fiction then you may enjoy The Divorcees.

Set in the early 50’s divorce laws in many states were quite restrictive and often faced lengthy waiting periods and stringent grounds for divorce, but in Nevada the laws were different. As long as the couple established residency and resided in the state for six weeks, they could obtain a swift divorce. A “Divorce Ranch” was a place where individuals stayed to establish their residency for the required six weeks, whilst enjoying the daytime outdoor activities and glittery nightlife of Reno and socialising with other guests in the same situation.

Lois is the main character. In her mid-twenties, she has been married to wealthy Lawrence for four years, but she has never been happy. Finally, she has found the strength to walk away and is sent to the Golden Yarrow, a divorce ranch for the rich and affluent by her disappointed father.

I thought Lois was a fascinating character. Her insecurities and flaws brought her to life in my mind. Reading about her childhood, the loss of her mother, the emotional abandonment of her father and the desperate marriage to Lawrence made me feel very sorry for her and her bravery in finally walking away from her marriage despite the stigma gave me hope that she might find happiness eventually.

Personally, I enjoyed the book. I thought it was atmospheric, and the author described Reno with such depth and vivid clarity that I could feel the heat and oppression of being in the desert. I could imagine myself sitting by the pool with Greer and Lois listening to them chatting.

Sometimes it’s nice to take a step away from the crime and embrace other genres. Overall I would give this 4 stars as it ticked all my requirements in a book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.