- this edition published by Hatchette Australia, 2017
- ISBN 978-0-7336-3656-1
- 425 pages
- source: my local library
Books bring them together - but friendship will transform all of their lives. Five very different women come together in this Top Ten bestseller, set in the Northern Territory of the 1970s, by an exceptional new Australian author
LONGLISTED FOR THE INDIE BOOK AWARD FOR DEBUT FICTION 2018
In 1978 the Northern Territory has begun to self-govern. Cyclone Tracy is a recent memory and telephones not yet a fixture on the cattle stations dominating the rugged outback. Life is hard and people are isolated. But they find ways to connect.
Sybil is the matriarch of Fairvale Station, run by her husband, Joe. Their eldest son, Lachlan, was Joe's designated successor but he has left the Territory - for good. It is up to their second son, Ben, to take his brother's place. But that doesn't stop Sybil grieving the absence of her child.
With her oldest friend, Rita, now living in Alice Springs and working for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and Ben's English wife, Kate, finding it difficult to adjust to life at Fairvale, Sybil comes up with a way to give them all companionship and purpose: they all love to read, and she forms a book club.
Mother-of-three Sallyanne is invited to join them. Sallyanne dreams of a life far removed from the dusty town of Katherine where she lives with her difficult husband, Mick.
Completing the group is Della, who left Texas for Australia looking for adventure and work on the land.
If you loved THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY, THE LITTLE COFFEE SHOP OF KABUL and THE THORN BIRDS you will devour this story of five different women united by one need: to overcome the vast distances of Australia's Top End with friendship, tears, laughter, books and love.
N.B. Not crime fiction! I'm not sure how you categorise this one - romance, Australian life, remote Australia.
Somebody recommended it to me as it is to do with a book group, and I belong to 3. It covers the lives of 5 book group participants over four calendar years 1978-1981, A range of quite traumatic things happen to these women over that time, but their book group binds them together in friendship and support.
It raises some interesting issues: dealing with living in remote Australia, inter racial relations, family bonds, domestic violence, women's support groups, moving on after trauma and so on. The characters are well drawn and really lived for me. The demands and effects of outback life are well depicted.
The book group reads a number of books that you might be familiar with and the author gives reasons why she chose them: THE THORN BIRDS, LOVE IN A COLD CLIMATE, PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK, THE FAR PAVILIONS, THE HARP IN THE SOUTH, MY BRILLIANT CAREER, and A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE. In the final pages of the book she provides some discussion questions relating to issues and incidents in the book.
My rating: 4.4
About the author:
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, a Top Ten bestseller.