The Changing Room by Christine Sykes

‘It was all getting too much for her.  Her life seemed out of control.  There were too many mysteries, too many feelings and too much to do.’

Three very different women: Anna, in her sixties, executive assistant to her lover; Claire, married to a surgeon, driving force behind ‘Suitability’, a firm helping women dress professionally for job interviews; and Molly in her twenties with four small children.

Anna’s world is turned upside down when she loses her job.  She becomes a volunteer with ‘Suitability’, a clothing and styling service for disadvantaged women which was founded by Claire and two friends some years earlier.  Molly becomes a client of ‘Suitability’ when she needs suitable clothing for a court appearance.  Claire’s perfect life is threatened, as ‘Suitability’ outgrows both its business premises and her husband’s patience, and she sustains an injury.

The story moves between the three women and the different challenges they each must face.  On the face of it, Molly has the most difficult battle.  She needs to prove that she can provide a safe home for her children.  Anna, who has put her own life on hold for so many years, learns to apply her many skills in different ways.  And Claire has different battles to fight.

In this novel, Ms Sykes explores several different themes including domestic violence, relationship breakdown, unemployment, ill health, love and loss.  She also explores the way in which women from vastly different backgrounds and experiences can support each other.

I enjoyed this novel.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith