From Sophie Green, the author of the treasured bestseller, The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club comes another book about women, for women, and perfect for your book club. The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle is a total treat.
It’s 1982 in a beachside suburb of Sydney. The Man From Snowy River is a box office hit and Paul Hogan is on TV.
Theresa takes up swimming. Inspired by Lisa Curry at the Olympics, she wants to get fit. She also wants a few precious minutes to herself, away from her husband and kids. Andy, her husband, doesn’t help around the house, and has taken to sitting on the couch with his growing beer belly, but still suggested that Theresa was putting on weight. So, at sunrise each day she strikes out past the waves, dreaming of Tom Burlinson on horseback and clearing her head.
From the same beach, the widowed Marie swims. She’s been swimming at Shelly Beach ever since she was a child. In recent years, her daily swim is the thing that has gotten her through losing her husband, and her life-long best friend moving to a retirement village further away. She’s dealing with loss, aging, and her swim is the one constant in her new life.
25-year-old Leanne only has herself to rely on. She recently moved to Shelly Bay after taking a job as a paediatric nurse at the local hospital. The eucalypt lined streets, and frangipani filled yards are a far cry from where she’s just come from. She also has to get used to the outdoorsy lifestyle, so is learning to swim. She’s certain that will make her feel at home.
Elaine has recently moved to Australia from England. She feels isolated and homesick. She tried playing tennis to meet people but the women she was playing with asked her to leave so someone else could take her place. She’s lonely, with only her workaholic husband for company. Far from home and without her adult sons, her closest friend is a gin bottle.
In the waters of Shelly Bay, these four women find each other. They will survive bluebottle stings and heartbreak; they will laugh so hard they swallow water, and they will plunge their tears into the ocean’s salt. They will find solace and companionship, and learn that love takes many forms. Most of all, they will find cherished friendships with each other.
The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle is simply wonderful. The eighties, which I hate to admit were my era, scream from every page, and yet nothing has changed too much over the years. This is still a modern story.
The women are the most unlikely friends. They are different ages and backgrounds and don’t appear to have much in common apart from their growing passion for swimming. And yet, that common interest sets the foundation for strong bonds. The connection to each other is as much a driving force in the story as the need to swim, for with each character, the morning swim in some way saves them.
Each of the four main characters are superbly developed, and along-side these women is a colourful, well-drawn supporting cast. Each character is full of secrets, surprises, heartache and fun.
There is also a real sense of place and community that springs from the page. As much as you love these characters, you also want to move to this fictional seaside suburb.
If you’re looking for a great book club read, look no further. The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle is a wonderful, heartfelt read.
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 grew up by the water in Sydney and will holiday by the ocean in preference to anywhere else. Sophie’s debut novel, THE INAUGURAL MEETING OF THE FAIRVALE LADIES BOOK CLUB, a Top Ten bestseller, was shortlisted for the Australian Book Industry Awards for General Fiction Book of the Year 2018, longlisted for the Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year 2018 and longlisted for the Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction 2018.