Sharon Johnston grew up in Sault Ste. Marie and graduated with a degree in physical and occupational therapy from the University of Toronto. She completed a doctorate in rehabilitation science from McGill University and ran a horse-training business called Chatterbox Farm. She is the author of the Globe and Mail bestseller Matrons and Madams. Presently, she resides at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.
Matrons and Madams
A Globe and Mail Bestseller!
Clara Durling, a British widow of the First World War, arrives in Canada as the new superintendent of the Lethbridge Hospital just as wounded soldiers stream home. Lily Parsons is a young, widowed schoolteacher from Nova Scotia who ends up in the same city, managing a brothel called The Last Post.
Set against the backdrop of love, union organizers, amorous bachelors, gamblers, drinkers, and prostitutes, the lives of these two women unexpectedly intertwine when Clara, in the heat of local politics and responding to the highest incidence of venereal disease in the province, establishes the first venereal disease clinic in the province, with Lily’s help. In this sprawling saga, Lily and Clara must confront the city’s conservative thinkers to bring help and compassion to wounded veterans.
Unlike many novels that place women in wartime as an afterthought - bit players in the lives of men - Johnston makes their fate the focus of her first novel.