By Deborah Challinor
November 13, 2018
In 1950’s Auckland things are changing – and fast. Women are joining the workforce in numbers, white goods are readily available and the age of rock ‘n’ roll has arrived.
Allie Manaia works the Elizabeth Arden counter at Smith and Caugheys. It’s been two years since the Dunbar and Jones fire, where some of her friends perished, but she still has nightmares.
Kathleen Lawson – rich, lonely and bored – is one of Allie’s customers. Kathleen takes a shine to Allie, but when she discovers Allie’s husband is Maori, her attitude changes. It she trying to make friends or poison the relationship between Sonny and Allie?
Meanwhile, Sonny’s beautiful younger sister, Polly, is embracing the more relaxed moral standards of the era, living a vibrant but wayward life as a waitress-model-goodtime girl while leaving her young daughter to be raised by her mother.
As each woman navigates the shifting social and cultural landscape of the 1950s, she is faced with new possibilities and decisions – with freedom comes a joy, but also fear and, occasionally, mistakes.
Told in Deborah Challinor’s trademark style – equal parts heart and humour – From the Ashes follows the fortunes of the women of three families through one decade of incredible change.