Prize women


In 1920s Toronto, best friends Lily di Marco and Mae Thebault used to be inseparable. They lived under the same roof and cared for each other’s children – in a world where men held all the power, they looked out for one another. But then the Great Depression hits, changing their relationship forever, as both women are forced to make impossible decisions to save themselves – and their families – from ruin. As times get increasingly desperate, the fever of the Great Stork Derby grips the nation, where the woman who bears the most children is in line for a cash prize. The derby is both a cruel game and a welcome distraction, but for Lily and Mae, what bond will prove most sacred? That of family, or that of unimaginable wealth?

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SKU: 9780241492987 Category: Tags: ,


Based on the incredible true story of The Great Stork Derby, Prize Women is the profoundly moving novel that sheds light on a scandalous moment in history just as relevant today

‘Gorgeous. Prize Women took my breath away. I haven’t stopped thinking about it’ JENNIFER SAINT
‘Wonderfully evocative and intelligent. Sheds light on a scandalous moment in history I knew nothing about, told with great sensitivity and grace. I was entranced’ EMMA STONEX
‘This heartbreaking story explores friendship, strength and the fight to survive’ WOMAN’S WEEKLY

Toronto, 1926.

A childless millionaire leaves behind an astonishing will: the recipient of his fortune will be decided in a contest known as ‘The Great Stork Derby’. His money will go to the winner: the woman who bears the most children in the ten years after his death.

Lily di Marco is young, pregnant, and terrified of her husband. Fleeing to Toronto, she arrives on the doorstep of glamorous free spirit Mae Thebault. At a time when men hold all the power, Lily and Mae look out for each other. But as their friendship grows, Lily wonders if there’s more to Mae – and her past – than she has been told . . .

And as the Great Depression bites, the Stork Derby contest – with its alluring prize – proves too good to ignore for Lily and Mae, each living hand to mouth.

These best friends are now fierce rivals. But if only one woman can win, what will the contest cost the other?

‘A profoundly moving and absolutely gripping novel about the choices women face and the choices they are denied. I cannot recommend it highly enough’ ELODIE HARPER

‘This tale of two women resonates with what is happening in the world today. I was gripped by Lily and Mae’s story, the desperate choices that women still face’ LOUISE HARE

‘Fascinating historical fiction with a feminist slant’ GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

‘A serious, thoughtful and epic journey into the trials of motherhood . . . With her contrasting female characters, Lea interrogates the fight for female agency across class divides, a struggle that continues to this day. A fascinating snapshot of another time, perhaps not as far removed from our own as we might hope’ JANICE HALLET

‘Wonderfully researched and full of evocative historical detail’ CULTUREFLY

‘Masterful. Caroline Lea is a superb storyteller, and Prize Women deserves a huge readership. So good, I had to pull myself away’ ELIZABETH MACNEAL

Additional information

Weight 0.559 kg
Dimensions 22.2 × 14.4 × 3.9 cm










Hardback original


823.92 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K