My grateful thanks to Clara Diaz for a copy of The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club in return for an honest review as part of the UK launch celebrations.
The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club is available for purchase here.
The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club
In 1978 the Northern Territory in Australia has begun to self-govern and telephones are not yet a common fixture. Life is hard and people are isolated, but these five women find a way to connect.
Sybil, the matriarch of Fairvale Station, misses her eldest son and is looking for a distraction.
Kate, Sybil’s daughter-in-law, is thousands of miles away from home and finding it difficult to adjust to life at Fairvale.
Sallyanne, mother of three, dreams of a life far removed from the dusty town where she lives with her difficult husband.
Rita, Sybil’s oldest friend, is living far away in Alice Springs and working for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
And Della, who left Texas for Australia looking for adventure and work on the land, needs some purpose in her life.
Sybil comes up with a way to give them all companionship: they all love to read, and she forms a book club. As these five women bond over their love of books, they form friendships that will last a lifetime.
My review of The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club
In the desolate Northern Territory of Australia, five women find friendship and support through books.
I have to be honest and say I think the title The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club is slightly misleading, because although that meeting does take place and there are references to books dotted throughout the text, this is a book about so much more than a book club of five members in an isolated location.
I did struggle a bit at the beginning to work out who was who and what relation they had to one another, but once I got into the rhythm of the book I grew to understand them all and to see them as real people leading challenging lives. I felt closest to Della and Kate and I think it’s because they experienced the ‘otherness’ of Australia in line with my own experiences. By the end of the novel I felt quite emotional at how the five women’s lives had turned out.
Having visited Australia I really enjoyed the geographical references and details as they illustrated just what it’s like extremely well. The more I read The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club the more glad I was that I don’t live with such extremes of climate and weather.
However, what I enjoyed most about reading The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club was the range of themes. The late 1970s era is very clearly presented and I railed rather at the way women were supposed to follow their husbands and thought the exploration of relationships was extremely deftly handled. The themes of relationships, love, ageing and belonging are beautifully presented in this gentle read and I thoroughly appreciated the concept that belonging doesn’t have to have a physical presence in a location for it to be equally valid. I thought the exploration of the relationships between the women was beautifully and realistically handled.
I found The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club a gentle, entertaining and enjoyable read that left me with a cosy and satisfied feeling.
About Sophie Green
Sophie Green is an author and publisher who lives in Sydney. She has written several fiction and non-fiction books, some under other names. In her spare time she writes about country music on her blog, Jolene. She fell in love with the Northern Territory the first time she visited and subsequent visits inspired the story in The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club.
You can follow Sophie on twitter @sophiegreenauth and find her on Facebook.
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