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The Ladies' Lending Library

2.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  511 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews

It is August of 1963, the year of the Taylor/Burton film epic Cleopatra, showcasing a passion too grand to be contained on the movie screen. The women of the Kalyna Beach cottage community gather for gin and gossip, trading the current racy bestsellers among themselves as they seek a brief escape from the predictable rhythms of children and chores. But dramatic change is c

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 26th 2007 by HarperCollins Canada
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,017)
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Aug 09, 2009 Gaia rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Gaia by: got it at the library
I guess this book is what they are referring to when they say, "don't judge a book by it's cover." That's what I did and I find myself regretting it.

I'm only 70 pages into the book and it's been a long, slow and unenjoyable read. First of all, it really doesn't have much to do with a "ladies lending library." There is some mention of the mother's exchanging naughty books, but that's it. No discussion. Perhaps that changes? So far the plot has not been revealed. If this is meant to be a character
May 08, 2009 Rosalie rated it did not like it
I didn't really get what this book had anything to do with a lending library - they should have just called it the Cleopatra Summer or something. This one isn't worth the time.
Jun 08, 2009 JoAnn rated it did not like it
This was probably one of the worse written books I have ever read. There was no plot, no clear storyline and entirely too many characters to keep them all straight.
Apr 20, 2015 Irene rated it really liked it
Shelves: gave-away
The tumultuous 60's have not yet touched the women of Kalyna Beach. As first generation Ukrainian Canadians, they are enjoying advantages their parents never were able to provide. While their husbands work in the city, the women and their children are able to summer at their cottages. Each Friday, the husbands join them for the weekend; it doesn't get better than this.

Women cannot leave their work behind; the daily schedule still requires all the attendant duties. Instilled are the cultural rule
Oct 18, 2012 Leslie added it
Oh my .... this book claimed such excellence and it failed miserably in my opinion. I didn't feel like I really got to know or understand any of the characters, the author kept things on the surface, perhaps mistakenly believing that a little mystery is good. On the odd occasion when she dared to dip her pen a little deeper it was a flash, a moment and we were back the surface. There wasn't a great deal of character interaction either except that which told us a little about who these people wer ...more
Mar 31, 2009 Pattie rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Surprisingly good, enjoyed the insight into Ukranian culture.

It's not really about the "lending library" book group, it's about the entire community of Ukranian-Canadians summering at a small lake resort.

Also enjoyed the wide variety of characters of all ages; children, teens, young mothers, older folks.

I should add the warning, though, that I'm a fan of sprawling Southern gothics such as "A Short History of a Small Place", so I have a lot of patience for a meandering story that has more time
Feb 27, 2009 Linda rated it did not like it
This is a real lightweight of a book. It's John Updike for me instead of this silly thing. And, there is a Reader's Guide in the back of the thing, which leads me to believe that someone took the book seriously enough to think a book club might read it. Forget it. NOt worth the powder to blow it up, as my father would say.
Feb 03, 2009 Lara rated it really liked it
Up for discussion today is The Ladies' Lending Library, by Janice Kulyk Keefer. I have to tell you guys, this book was a pleasant surprise!

I say it was a surprise because a lot of the reviews I read about it were fairly indifferent or described the book as "slow", and because the description on the back of the book makes it sound a little lame. In actuality, though, it was neither slow nor lame. I'd have given it 3 1/2 stars if that were an option on goodreads, actually.

The book is about a grou
Jan 05, 2009 jenny rated it did not like it
Picked this one up, hoping for a bit of escapism and lighter reading than some other stuff I'm currently into... I could only make it to page 86. I kept thinking it would get better. There is no focus... too many lengthy descriptions of characters and no real substance. In fact, there are so many characters that you don't even end up getting who is who, and why they're important to the storyline. If there is, in fact, some semblance of a storyline beyond page 86. In short, don't bother with this ...more
Apr 27, 2009 Mindi rated it it was ok
I purchased this book because it was recommended by Anderson's Bookshop at their "Book Gossip" session at the Illinois Reading Council Conference. I must say that I was disappointed. The book was hard to get into and had a VERY slow moving plot. It was told from so many perspectives that I had a hard time caring about any of them. And then, it just ended! I would not recommend this book to my friends.
Jan 30, 2016 Janet rated it it was ok
I bought this book by accident at a second hand store. When I got home and saw that I had actually brought this book home I was a little annoyed as I thought it was going to be stupid and then when I saw that it only had 2.5 stars on GoodReads, I was really annoyed.

However, since it's the end of the year, and I had one more book to read to reach my goal of 50 book for the year, I decided to trudge through it as it would most likely be a quick read.

I couldn't put it down. I've decided that it's
Adrienne Jones
Jun 21, 2009 Adrienne Jones rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 31, 2013 Kathy rated it did not like it
This would have been a great book if the author didn't spend so time describing every little detail. She would spend a page or two just describing things in too much detail.

But I kept reading because I thought it would get better. The title did not fit the story. Sure the summer cottage neighbors got together to discuss and share books, but only two times that I can recall and it seemed those discussions were skipped over and the author again described too much detail about things that had noth
Apr 07, 2010 Tracie rated it it was ok
Shelves: beach-reading
Truthfully, I picked this book up because of its' seeming affiliation with a book club--I'm a fan! However, it was simply classic, kitschy beach reading with the usual angst, gin, and adultery. The best part of the book was this internal quote from Sasha, the only true reader of the bunch.

"Sasha tells herself that the only heaven she wants to get to is a heaven that’s a library, with endless shelves of all the books she’s never read but always meant to or never had the time or chance to discover
Connie Klever

This sounded like my kind of book--set in 1963, group of women who summer at the lake (a Canadian Great Lake, I assume). They are all somewhat dissatisfied with their situations in life--ho hum life as mothers and wifes. They form a book club and begin chatting about some somewhat "naughty" books that they have been passing around...and that is where I just got bored. I can't figure out what they are reading about, since the author isn't really sharing much about this 1/3 into the book. They all
Feb 28, 2009 Glynn rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: women who remember when the Liz Taylor- Richard Burton affair was conspicuous...
Recommended to Glynn by: I chose it by its cover.
so far a rather boggling cast of characters. I'm kind of liking the well-packed prose. (by p. 30)

(later).I'm liking this a LOT. The flow-y prose reminds me a bit of To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. (by p. 77)

(having finished) I really read this one a tiny bit at a time, and it was suited well for that. It certainly took me to the time and place.
It’s Canada in the 1960s; everyone is obsessed with the movie Cleopatra and the infamous affair between Liz Taylor and Richard Burton. A small community of Ukrainians travels from city to spend their summer in Kalyna Beach. The women and children spend all summer while the men spend their weeks in the city. For the most part, the summer is uneventful but there is a hint of drama and tension in the air.
This novel was different for me. It was a third person point of view that switched between the
Jun 27, 2007 Rebecca rated it liked it
for my friends who are reading high-minded stuff, my apologies - I'm in summer reading mode. This is perfect reading for lifeguarding duty - not so absorbing that I can't look up every 45 secs. or so to check on the kids, but well written, with interesting characters.
Apr 15, 2009 Paula rated it it was ok
I had hopes for this book. The Ukranian/Canadian culture aspects were interesting but the characters were less than compelling. The ladies library of the title consisted of discussions of the Taylor/Burton affair and a few allusions to semi dirty books.
Mar 11, 2009 Lucille rated it it was ok
Title misleading..story focused more on the teenage characters in the book...the author had a reason for this but I was disappointed...wanted to know more about the adult women lending the books
Mar 16, 2009 Margaret rated it did not like it
I picked up this book because of the title. It wasn't what I thought. There were too many characters and it focused more on the kids than the ladies and their books. I didn't finish it.
Jul 18, 2007 Lisaleh rated it it was ok
It was a little slow and the characters were too distant from the reader, even though it was written from a number of perspectives. I finished it, but it took a while.
Dec 30, 2015 Mallory rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hate shelving books before I finish reading them. I always give books a chance and will plow through until the end, sometimes being pleasantly surprised, sometimes not so much. In my 30 years, I can count on one hand how many books I haven't finished, and sadly this book is one of them. I read over 100 pages, really trying to get through it, but could not. I honestly have no idea what this story is about. And the characters jump around so much it's tough to get attached to them or keep track o ...more
Mar 21, 2009 Felicia rated it did not like it
Blech! The best thing about this book was the cover photo. I couldn't get more than 1/4 the way through it, before abandoning it.
Martha Curtis
Apr 21, 2009 Martha Curtis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I initially found the book a little slow; but, the more I read the more I got to it. I ended up really this book.
May 12, 2009 Vka129 rated it did not like it
Painfully dull - Kept waiting for a plot to reveal itself, and then it just ended.
Heather Boundy
This story just didn't work for me. The setting in Canada with the summer holiday meeting place of a group of Ukrainian immigrants was ripe for intrigue and relationships, but somehow I did not connect with any of the characters. For me there was no leading protagonist, but too many who were on the same level of interest. Not enough was made of the differences between the generations though many attempts at this were made. I also had difficulty with the sameness of the names and the inter-relati ...more
Jul 16, 2012 Paula rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book that takes place in the summer of 1963 on Georgian Bay. Ukrainian cultural traditions, the hardships of immigration, integration and change all play a large role in this story. I found myself laughing and crying as the story brought back so many memories of my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. Reading the Ukrainian words sprinkled here and there was wonderful and I could hear my father's laugh in my head as he would have loved this book.

The only reason this bo
Apr 25, 2010 Liz rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carly Svamvour
Feb 22, 2012 Carly Svamvour rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Not everyone
I normally don't write a 'review'; it's usually just a liked-it, was-not-interested, why-I-dumped it kinda' thing.

But with this book, I have a lot to say. Unfortunately, at library discussions, not everyone is allowed to honestly express their views, without interuption.

It is for this reason I am preparing a proper review, including my opinions on the political/social aspect of the story. Now, one might say that a 'review' shouldn't include a person's personal politics. But it has everything to
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She is a Canadian novelist and poet.

Born in Toronto, she studied literature at universities in England and France, and currently teaches literature and theatre in the graduate studies department at the University of Guelph.

Of Ukrainian heritage, Kulyk Keefer often writes about the experiences of first-generation Canadian children of immigrants. Her sister is the Canadian artist, Karen Kulyk.
More about Janice Kulyk Keefer...

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