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The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club (Sophie Green, Hachette)

Sophie Green’s novel The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club is an enjoyable, if predictable, examination of how women’s friendships and indeed good reading can overcome the darkest of times. The novel is set primarily at Fairvale Station in the Northern Territory, in the turbulent years of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Sybil, the matriarch of the station, invites a group of women of various ages to form a book club. Like numerous successful book clubs, the women’s discussion of each book evolves into a wider conversation centring on their own lives. From that first extended meeting, a bond is formed between the women that will survive marriages, children, deaths and accidents. The distinct landscape and isolation play an important role in the story, which illustrates that friendship is not always about daily contact but about knowing that someone has your best interests at heart. The book club’s reading list will remind readers of the power that contemporary fiction can have in people’s lives. Without a doubt this novel, with its celebration of friendship and reading, is a solid choice for book clubs.

Christine Gordon is the events manager of Readings and a past board member of the Stella Prize


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