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And Ladies of the Club

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,904 Ratings  ·  440 Reviews
A #1 New York Times bestseller--and an American classic--now in trade paperback...

A groundbreaking bestseller with two and a half million copies in print, "...And Ladies of the Club" centers on the members of a book club and their struggles to understand themselves, each other, and the tumultuous world they live in. A true classic, it is sure to enchant, enthrall, and intr
Paperback, 1184 pages
Published April 1st 2000 by Berkley Trade (first published 1982)
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Rose Ann I read it almost 30 years ago, when it came out in paperback. I'm anxious to read it again and see how my perspective of it has changed over those…moreI read it almost 30 years ago, when it came out in paperback. I'm anxious to read it again and see how my perspective of it has changed over those years. (less)
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Sep 15, 2007 Melody rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
It's been years since I read this book, and I've been reflexively putting on list of favorites for years. I thought it time to re-read. This time, the poor editing and the plethora of typos drove me nearly to distraction. I went out and got a newer edition half way through the read, hoping against hope that it would be better. It was a little better, but, man, what a mess. That's the flaw, and for my money, the only flaw in this magnificent slice-of-life novel. Sure, some of the attitudes may st ...more
Angie Macy
Jan 18, 2015 Angie Macy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves history
Recommended to Angie Macy by: Marilyn Jones
Shelves: favorites
My favorite book of all time. It's about everyday life in an Ohio town from the end of the Civil War through the Depression. The book covers the lives of the ladies and their families in a literary club. It deals with their personal relationships that seem so real, it makes you feel like you're there. A very long book with over 1100 pages, but well worth the read. When you are finished you are wishing for more.
Rachel Crooks
Jan 11, 2010 Rachel Crooks rated it it was amazing
….And Ladies of the Club was my whole world in the summer of ’04. I drank in the lives of the characters, and then the characters’ children. I loved quiet, introspective Anne Gordon because I saw my reflection in her, and I equally loved spunky, spirited Sally because I did not. Thomasina Ballard’s romance with the piano teacher, and the spinsterly Eliza, the girl who first acts so well and then becomes a mother and scorns all women who act, “Shaney” and her unrequited love for Johnny Gordon; Jo ...more
May 15, 2008 Rayni rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who likes historical fiction
Recommended to Rayni by: Jo, a lady at the LDS Church Office Bldg.
I finished this book in July 1985. I was on bedrest for my 2nd pregnancy, my first ended in miscarriage. It took almost my entire pregnancy to read this book. I would lay there on the couch, w/this big, fat heavy book resting on my stomach & the baby would kick it, so I would try to find another position. I loved this book & was sad when it ended.

I saw Ms Santmyer interviewed on TV from the rest home where she was living. She had got a new perm in honor of the occasion. She died in Febr

Feb 23, 2008 Sue rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I read this book soon after it came out and still have my beat up hardback copy of the book. I know several people that were unable to get into this book, but it seems like if you like it, you actually love it. The author tracks the lives of two young women (recent graduates of a female academy in a small Ohio town)from shortly after the Civil War through the first decades of the twentieth century. The story of the women (as well as the small town) is told through the activities of a women's rea ...more
Oct 06, 2007 Betty rated it really liked it
Sometimes I wonder what it is about certain books - or parts of books that cause them to stay with us many years after we'ver read them. It's been at least 10 years since I read this book - yet I still remember details of it. There are a number of books I've read since that I'd be hard pressed to tell you much about at all.
Jun 06, 2013 Liz rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I can't pin it down precisely, but I have always loved this book. Its mostly the longevity of it. Not just a book that ends with a wedding or a major climactic event. It follows women through their lives, from childhood friends through their developing relationships with each other and their time as wives, mothers, grandmothers, widows. And the characters really seem to evolve and develop and grow more definitive and rich as the time passes. So many books seem to focus on one main crisis with on ...more
Jul 18, 2008 Diana rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book thoroughly. What I loved best was the passing of time in the characters' lives. We follow them from the time they are young women, on through adulthood and to their deaths. Mom recommended this book to me. I read this book ONLY on my lunch breaks as part of a bet because it was so long, one of my co-workers didn't believe I could finish it in a certain time period and only in 1 hour/work day. I won, he had to buy me a Coke or something like that.
The Library Lady
I know exactly where I was when I began to read this book. I was in Kensington Gardens in London on a long awaited trip to England. Yet, sitting there, I was already so engrossed I didn't want to put this book down!

Yes, it's long, and the action is limited. It's character study, not a Tom Clancy book. Give it a chance and you will get involved with the characters.

I still find this as engrossing on re-reads as I did 20 years ago. Well worth the time.
Jul 23, 2009 Gail rated it liked it
Shelves: book-group, 2009
This is a monstrously huge book. The standard paperback runs to over 1700 pages. I read the trade paperback which is a much larger page but with tiny print which got this one down to 1173 pages. There are several things I have to say about this book;
#1 Mrs Santmyer desperately needed a good editor. Not only was the book full of typos, it was just too long. Someone needed to step in and do some ruthless cutting.

#2 There was really not a story arc. While there was a primary and secondary set of c
Apr 12, 2008 Liona rated it liked it
My mother had this fat book (more than 1,000 pages) on her shelf for years, so I grabbed it when I was at a second-hand book sale with a $2 bag I needed to fill in 15 minutes.
So far, it's been well worth the 50 cents or so I spent on the book. It's about a group of ladies who create a Women's Club right after the Civil War, and Helen Hoover Santmyer does a great job recreating the era and imagining the relationships among these women. I'm glad that I have another 700 pages that I get to spend wi
Sep 25, 2007 Bruce added it
Growing up only a few counties from the southwestern Ohio setting of this story added to my interest. I would love this book no matter where I was from. It's usually packaged to look like a romantic novel and there is an element of that, but this is a meticulously researched historical novel. The people and relationships are so realistic that it's a satisfying read for anyone. You'll laugh, you'll cry. Run, don't walk, to get a copy of this book.

Suggestion: Twice now, I've read Gone With the Win
Apr 12, 2008 Sonya rated it it was amazing
Okay - this is a gem!!! Read it for the first time at 18 yrs. of age, re-read every couple of years since.
Each time I like it for different reasons as the novel takes you through a few generations of families in the 1800's.
The women are really really well developed - not just the main character - ALL of them.
Dec 31, 2014 Diana rated it really liked it
It took me 5 and a half months of inconsistent reading, but finally, I finished And Ladies of the Club! And it was worth it.

All along, while I struggled to get through the pages, and frequently fell asleep after just a few, I *liked* the story. I liked the characters, and I liked the insight that the book gave me to the timelessness of women's relationships with each other. I recognized some of my friends and frienemies in these characters.

The women in the book were united at first only by thei
Mar 08, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This sweeping saga not only entertains, but educates. I was sadly lacking in my knowledge of the post-civil war era, but after reading this book, I can no longer claim that.
The focus of the book on two main characters, their descendants, their friends, and their town provides a picture that is both intimate and broad. Basing the story in Ohio when most of the elected leaders hailed from that state gave national significance to the lives of the characters.
I was rather disappointed by the second h
Aug 10, 2010 Dianne rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
I finished reading the book this afternoon. What a totally satisfying read, both for the story and for the writing. I love English well spoken and these characters are set in a time when it was. By the time I got to page 1000 I was beginning to wish I wasn't so close to the end. Ironic when you think there were over 400 pages left and lots of the books I read don't have that many to begin with. But by then I was deeply involved in the story and cared about the main character, Anne.

The story cov
Celina Summers
Jun 07, 2011 Celina Summers rated it really liked it
Santmyer's grasp of the human condition is glorified by the lovely way she writes. Putting together a saga like this is difficult, considering how many different characters she stops to visit on the way. The personal triumphs and tragedies of the characters, particularly Anne Gordon who is the closest thing to a protagonist in this story, are interwoven with a political commentary that spans from the end of the Civil War into the twentieth century. Santmyer introduces those elements so gently th ...more
Aug 11, 2010 Jessica rated it it was amazing
I can't believe I haven't reviewed this book before.

Yes, it's almost 1,200 pages long. And yes, every one of those pages matters.

This magnificent book is a series of portraits of the changes in a small town in Ohio from the end of the Civil War into the 20th century. As the country moves into a golden age following the Civil War, the ladies of a small Ohio town (known for its women's college) decide to form an intellectual club for the women. Two of their charter members are Sally and Anne, best
Dec 16, 2015 Kim rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book despite it being long, with big pages and small print. I appreciated the passage through time with the changes in politics, fashion, and technology. I also enjoyed the variety of characters and their relationships. My favorite character was Anne. She experienced so much tragedy in her life, but managed to live life with a good attitude. I also liked the Rausches, Sally and Ludwig, who seemed to work well together as a couple. I especially liked the political side of Lu ...more
Dec 23, 2011 Scartowner rated it did not like it
This epic spans the years immediately after the end of the Civil War to just before the meltdown of the Depression. Three generations of women and their families make up the cast. I am relieved to have not lived in this little town. There are many characters, but only one decent human being in the bunch, Anne Cochran Gordon. The others are self-serving, bitter, racist, anything (but WASP) haters. At least one woman intentionally spread hateful gossip that led to a decent marriage falling apart. ...more
May 19, 2008 Melissa rated it really liked it
At 1400 pages, I wasn't sure I would finish, but I'm proud to say I did. Many on the Betsy-Tacy list had recommended this, and, once again, they didn't fail me. the book starts when Sally & Anne graduate from high school at the end of the Civil War, and it ends with their deaths in 1930. we get to know 3 or 4 generations of several families in Waynesboro, Ohio, and see how they are affected by various political and historical events. Sally and Anne are charter members of the Waynesboro Woman ...more
Nov 01, 2007 Liz rated it it was amazing
So, I loved this book the first time I read and am now re-reading it. It is long and rather involved as it covers the lives of small town Ohioans in post Cival War America. It really has it all--politics, history, marital struggles, rebelious children. Don't be put off by the size of the book, it is without a doubt worth the read.
Mar 03, 2008 Tamara rated it it was amazing
This is a history of the members of a book club from the book clubs inception until the last of the original members dies. This could be boring except the time is immediately after the Civil War ends. The book spans 60 years and the characters are wonderfully real.
Jan Rice
Jun 30, 2013 Jan Rice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Follows two ladies--and one in particular--who start a book club and lending library in their fictional Ohio town not long after the end of the Civil War. Follows them, their families, friends, loves, and losses--and their politics--into the next century. Being real historical fiction, its characters don't see the world just like we do. Their heads are filled up with worries and concerns like ours are, but their assumptions about life, love, and the way things are, are just a little different. T ...more
Nov 04, 2009 Raven rated it really liked it
Although the length of this book (the edition I read had over 1100 pages) might scare some readers away, I actually quite enjoyed it. The plot line, centered around a small Ohio town from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s, leaves you feeling like you were there and the characters are real and compelling. The author does an excellent job of getting in each character's head with a personal honesty and a historical honesty. The characters flaws make them more real. At the same time, she presents vie ...more
Jerrie Brock
Aug 25, 2013 Jerrie Brock rated it it was amazing
Though it has been years since I read this book, it remains one of my all time favorites. The decades that Ms Santmyer spent writing this book are obvious from the wonderful narrative.
The story follows two women who come of age just as the Civil War comes to a close. One of those women, born into the high society of an Ohio town, marries according to her station. She is richly rewarded for her choice by her ever ambitious husband's business sense. The money however does not always overcome the d
Mary Anne
Yes, I finished it. All 1,176 pages of it.
This is a saga about 4 generations of women in a small town in Ohio, starting in the post-Civil War days of 1868. It is newsy and detailed, as only a book this long can be. The main characters are drawn well, and the attention to what was going on in the world at all points in the book, was laudable.
The Women's Club begins when the main characters graduate from the girls' school. They are invited to join a group of women that meet every other week to di
Jul 09, 2010 Ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite book of all time. I felt as if I were an additional best friend along with the two main characters, and I loved following all the realistic details of their lives as they matured from teens all the way to octogenarians. In addition to presenting superb character development, the book is also an excellent portrait of life in small town America from the post-Civil War years to the 1930s. I felt as if I were there when I was reading it--and sometimes that feeling would linger ev ...more
Susan Fetterer
Aug 12, 2011 Susan Fetterer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. It is the only Helen Hooven Santmyer novel I've read and now am anxious to dive into a few more. When first read, I found the women and their relationships with each other intriguing and envious. Now, years later, having had my own book club, intact for 15 years, I'm anxious to reread this one. I was later surprised to read that the author wrote it when quite elderly, and that she was a literature professor. Based on the storyline I had assumed she was considerably younger but ...more
Sara Steger
Nov 14, 2015 Sara Steger rated it really liked it
Reminds one of Jane Austen in its comedy of manners style. Perfect picture of post-Civil War generations in the life of a small Ohio town and the changes of lifestyle and class divisions that ensue. I was sucked slowly into the lives of the two main families and the "ladies of the club". Worthwhile read.
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Helen Hooven Santmyer was born in 1895 and lived in Xenia, Ohio. In addition to her career as a writer, she worked as an English professor, a dean of women, and a librarian.She was 87 when her novel "And Ladies of the Club" was published as a Book of the Month, and passed away at the age of 90 in February of 1986.She was inducted into the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame in 1996
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“In a way, looking back, it seemed a long, long time since she had been eighteen, but in another way her memories were so clear and vivid that it seemed like yesterday. Time was an accordion, all the air squeezed out of it as you grew old. And how strange that in your mind you did not feel any older. You were the same person, but where had the years gone?” 15 likes
“But surely, if you trust God, you can believe the bad moments pass, and the good memories are worth enough.” 12 likes
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