Publication Year: 2007
Received from Harper Collins in 2007
Reason for Reading: This book is one of Harper Collins recommended summer reads, and I can see it being a very popular book for the beach.
In the summer of 1963, the year of the release of Cleopatra, the most sensational movie ever made, the women of Kalyna Beach prepare for their annual end-of season party. Sonia Martyn and her four daughters are part of a group of first generation Ukrainian Canadians, newly minted middle-class families claiming their small part of the cottage-country dream. With their husbands away in the city all week, the women's days are ruled by the predictable rhythms of children and chores, lightened by the 'racy' books they trade amongst themselves and by their Friday afternoon gatherings for gin and gossip, heightened by their obsession with the deliciously scandalous love affair between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
I think this book would make a wonderful summer read, but it did not work for me. I do not think it was necessarily the book, it was me, I just had read so many bad books around it that I just could not get into this one. I think lots of people will like it, and read it on the beach, but not me! The big thing is that I just read it last week or so and I cannot remember much that happened in this book. The introduction was promising, a book about books was revealed, but as the story unfolded I just lost interest. The story was dull, I could not relate to the characters. I think by the introduction I was expecting a different sort of book than the one that I ended up with.
Their tightly bound world is straining with its own dramas and secrets. Sonia, a former fashion model, mourns the death of her mother and fights with her difficult eldest daughter. Elusive Nadia, the wife of a millionaire, longs for a life she cannot have. Sharp-tongued, sophisticated Sasha plays a dangerous game in both challenging and shoring-up the traditional Ukrainian community and its defining values. And for adolescent Laura, her sisters and their friends, the rifts and fissures that appear in the once impregnable 'world of the mothers' will unleash a startling series of betrayals and discoveries. For this is the summer when everything will change for the girls and women of Kalyna Beach, as innocence is exchanged for a new understanding of the possibilities open to them all. In setting her characters against the backdrop of the turbulent sixties, Janice Kulyk Keefer creates a radiant portrait of women caught between countries, cultures and aspirations. Richly evocative, beautifully told, The Ladies' Lending Library will resonate with more than women and book club members; it's a story for anyone who has longed for the sweet and heady days of bygone summers and the risky promises of change.
There is not much else I can say, it just did nt attract me at all.