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Miss Lily's Lovely Ladies

(Miss Lily's Lovely Ladies #1)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  553 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Inspired by true events, this is the story of how society's 'lovely ladies' won a war.

Each year at secluded Shillings Hall, in the snow-crisped English countryside, the mysterious Miss Lily draws around her young women selected from Europe's royal and most influential families. Her girls are taught how to captivate a man - and find a potential husband - at a dinner, in a s
Paperback, 528 pages
Published March 27th 2017 by HarperCollins - AU
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4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  553 ratings  ·  70 reviews

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Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
Miss Lily's Lovely Ladies isn't normally a book that I would pick up, but as one of this month's #OZYAY reads, I expanded my reading horizons and loved it!

The book starts off with Sophie, an Australian heiress who dreams of life outside of her corn beef factory inheritance. Set on marrying one of the local country boys, her father ships her off to London to meet an old friend - also an Earl. There she finds herself in residence of Miss Lily, who trains her in the art of charm, persuasion, and t
Dale Harcombe
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Four and a half stars
I have always considered Jackie French one of Australia’s most talented and prolific writers for children. This book for adults is a departure and what great read it is. The story concerns Sophie Higgs daughter of a corned beef empire and takes place in the early nineteen hundreds taking the reader through the years of World War 1. Sophie ends up at Shillings Hall in England to be educated by Miss Lily. Her father expects Sophie will be taught how to be a lady and hold her o
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: french-jackie
Reading this story has been rather like following along behind someone, no way of knowing where they (or you) are going...but somehow you do know! I started this book on 27 April this year...put it down, picked it up a couple of books in between the start of it and the end. I have to admit that once I really got into it (past about 80 pages) I just couldn't put it down! Love it and recommend it.
Kate Forsyth
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’ve long been a fan of Jackie French’s historical novels for children, and so I was intrigued when I heard she had written a book for adults. The cover was gorgeous and the blurb told me it was set during World War I, one of my favourite historical periods, and so I bought it to read on my summer holidays.

The novel tells the story of Sophie Higgs, whose father made his fortune making tinned corned beef. When Sophie falls in love with the boy-next-door, her father decides to send her to England
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
In spite of the title, this book is the story of Sophie Higgs who grows up in pre war Australia as the only child of a man whose massive fortune is derived from corned beef. Sophie is very aware that she is popular due to the money and scorned for the corned beef. At 18 she falls in love with the young man next door, in spite of his parents, but not only does her father refuse to allow the marriage, he arranges for her to have a Season in London and be Presented.

Arriving in England, Sophie come
Sarah Mayor Cox
I probably don’t have to tell you all how much I loved this book do I?
I love, love, love historical fiction - it's probably one of my favourite genres.
Jackie French has once again created strong and interesting characters with lots of twists that I didn't see coming - which I always love.

So much of this book is about innuendo and inference, not only in Sophie learning about the unwritten rules and mechanisms of society, but also in the way French as an author tempts the reader to read between th
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this book sucked me in in such a slow and steady way, that the one chapter I was going to read before bed turned into 138 pages and I forced myself to put it down to sleep. The story starts quite slowly, Sophie a naive young Australian girl who thinks herself in love. Her father sends her to England to learn to become a lady and enable her to become more accepted into polite society. Though the first half of the book is at a slow and steady pace, it kept me engaged and wanting to keep readi ...more
Barbara Greaves
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book although it was a bit rushed at the end. But I believe it is going to be, or is now, a series. So Sophie's adventures will continue. It gave a fairly good insight into pre WW 1 aristocratic society and a good insight into the conditions suffered by people in WW1.
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a great read. I always enjoy historical fiction and this was thoroughly engaging. So much so, that I bought part 2 of the trilogy soon after starting this one. Great characterisation, underpinned by meticulous research, this is a riveting read.
Rebecca Altmann
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting read. A study of what it meant to be a lady pre-WW1, and the massive upheaval to the social structures and gender roles as a result of the war.
Jackie French packs a lot of historical information into the pages of every book.
I'm dissapointed that this doesn't contain the copious 'author's notes' that I have become accustomed to with her books.
There will be another two books in the series and I am looking forward to see where she takes the characters and how they cope in a rapidly c
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Despite its length, this book managed to keep me captivated until the end. I really loved this book and I'm so glad I picked it up from my library on a complete impulse. Sophie is from Australia, an heiress to a corned beef empire, who goes to Miss Lily to learn about how to gain power as a woman in a world of men. I really enjoyed seeing Sophie grow and develop as a person to go from the innocent 18-year-old to the woman who marches into a warzone. I loved seeing the different kinds of women an ...more
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Jackie French creates worlds that are very easy to slip into. Who are these people? What is their purpose? Where are their lives going?

The very idea of a secretive, half-hidden network of women running the world via tea, dinner parties, garden strolls and balls is enough to keep me captivated. It gets a little absurd at some moments, which does jolt you out of the book a little, but you easily slip back in. Quick and easy to read, it's entirely satisfying while still leaving me with a few questi
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 - 4 stars (the finale tipped it towards the 4 star range)
So... I may have changed my mind about this book, if only due to the last portion. This novel has been an adventure from the beginning. I found I did not like the main character, Sophie, from the onset, but as the novel progressed I found myself liking her more and more. She is a strong character, but I felt within a cast of slightly weak characters - other than Miss Lily, of course. The characterisation of secondary characters was la
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Given the high ratings I was very excited to read this book but was almost immediately disappointed. The story lacked originality and all of the characters fell flat for me, I found they didn’t have much personality. I found the lessons Miss Lily was teaching confusing and wasn’t sure if Jackie believes in modern feminism, but ultimately it just did not interest me, and this is a subject that I love normally love reading about.
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really loved this book as I read it. I feel like there was a point where this turned from a stand alone book to the first in a series (which it is) and I liked it more before that turning point that after (if that makes sense?) That said, I'm looking forward to reading the next one!
Gwen Wilson
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A highly enjoyable read and an interesting take on WW1 from a woman's perspective. As others have mentioned, it does have a long set-up before we get to the action so settle yourself into the dreamy world of the pre-war debutante for a while. This is the first Jackie French I have read, and her experience shows through on the page. Very beautifully crafted and so well researched and written.
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good read although a little long as it dragged in places.
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Miss Lily's Lovely Ladies was a surprise package. I bought it a year ago and it's been in my TBR pile until I finally picked it up last week. My goodness! I enjoyed reading this novel.

It's the story of how Sophie Higgs, daughter of a Sydney corned beef manufacturer, travels to England in 1913 to attend "finishing classes" with a friend of her father, Miss Lily, in preparation for her coming out season. The idea being that doing so will make her more socially acceptable back home. But we can see
Nadine Keels
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Daughter of a wealthy Australian businessman, Sophie Higgs is among a select number of young women invited to Shillings Hall in England. There she receives instructions in etiquette and the power of charm from the mysterious Miss Lily. But with the coming of a world war, the women of Europe will need to find and exert different kinds of strength in Miss Lily's Lovely Ladies by author Jackie French.

Indeed, don't let the lovely book cover and the almost too lovely title give you the wrong impressi
Liz Filleul
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Captivating coming-of-age-like novel set immediately before and during World War I. Sophie is an Australian corned beef heiress sent to England for the 'Season' and tutored beforehand on how to be charming and acceptable to English society by the mysterious Miss Lily. Wooed by several suitors, Sophie realises through her war work that the life she thought she wanted will never be enough for her and nor will it be for the other women who helped win the war.

The period detail is excellent and I par
Tiarna Georghiou
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Wow! What a wonderful read! I have always been a fan of Jackie French books and this one did not fail to impress!! I absolutely loved following the story of Sophie Higgs the corned beef princess from Australia through her time growing up, to living with Miss Lily and finally her life during the war.

The first half of the book was about Sophie growing up in Australia and then going to England for her season with Miss Lily. I loved reading about her time there and getting an insight into what life
This is a fabulous book. Set in 1902-1919 Sophie, a young colonial from Australia travels to England. She stays at a friend of her father's, an Earl, for her session & to learn the power of a woman from Miss Lily.
WWI begins as Sophie is coming of age and her story follows women's support, warefforts & achievements while the majority of men are away defending their country.
Not just about war, it's larely about family, lifelong friends, feminism, compassion and love. Not romance but love.
Catherine Bellabirth
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was my first JF novel, Jackie French has long been my garden guru. She has long been a joy in the children's section.
I was captivated. Again.
An easy read, wordwise, but JF delves deep. Exposing history, engaging characters, intriguing storyline. To call JF a genius is not quite right. A wise woman, definitely. She explores humanity, feeds your soul, opens neural pathways without needing to complicate it. True wisdom. JF writes in a way that oozes love. There is joy in the reading, even whe
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
Okay so I first want to say that this book is so far out of my usual comfort zone it's not funny, but surprisingly I didn't really mind it. It's not amazing, but I feel like I just didn't like it because it's not my usual type of book.

The book follows a girl called Sophie who is trying to outshine her dads Australian Corned Beef Empire. The book starts out a bit slowly with Sophie falling in love but then getting sent off to Europe to have her "season". She meets Miss Lily, who teaches her "stud
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Set during World War I, the main character, Sophie Higgs is a young woman trying to find her place in the world. Her search is eased somewhat by her loving and rich father’s willingness to do almost anything for his daughter, but rather than make the reader think of her as spoiled, it comes as a relief that she has at least this opportunity in the face of so many challenges. Sophie is a thoroughly likeable character, far from perfect, but always compassionate. The ...more
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I bought this book at the Brisbane Writers Festival. I took my daughter down for the day and we listened to Jacki French about her Shakespeare series. French is a dynamic and fascinating speaker and if anyone gets a chance to hear her speak, I highly recommend taking it. While we were there because my daughter is a fan, this book is written for adults. Like her children books, it is meticulously researched and historically based. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would, although it took m ...more
Kelly Callaghan
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sophie’s father is rich and her mother has gone. Sophie used to believe she was dead, but then she was not so sure. To escape an unsuitable marriage So
Hie is sent to England to be turned into ‘a lady’. As Sophie is acquiring these skills and setting out to capture a husband, War arrives.

Will these skills be any good in helping Sophie overcome what she must?

At first I didn’t like this book. The English didn’t like Sophie because her father was ‘in trade’ and she was Australian - almost the worst
Rambling Reviews
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Lost me a bit in the middle to back section.

I did get a little annoyed at French's inability to decide if Sophie knew herself or not. She's either got a strong sense of who she is or she doesn't.

I did feel like there was a lot of telegraphing, some of the points the author was trying to make seemed directly contradictory, and that Miss Lily's character didn't entirely make sense.

But rich imagery and a girl determined to make her own way in the world? I'm there for it, and looking forward to t
Amber Robson
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jackie is a brilliant and prolific writer. Having said that, this is the first of her novels I have read. Sophie is a likeable character, and I have learned so much about the First World War.
I found the chopping and changing of romantic interests a little hard to follow, but then again, this is depicting a chaotic time and Sophie is still finding out who she is throughout the book.
I found the ending...interesting...
I have liked this book enough to read the second.
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Something different set in wartime setting and complemented by the concept of an almost finishing school for young ladies. Australian corned beef heiress Sophie Higgs is anything but a lady when the novel begins, strong willed, independent and curious about the world beyond her world. Through her father's wartime friend Sophie embarks on a journey if friendship, love and personal growth as one of Miss Lily's lovely ladies.
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Jackie is an award-winning writer, wombat negotiator and the Australian Children’s Laureate for 2014-2015. She is regarded as one of Australia’s most popular children’s authors, and writes across all genres - from picture books, history, fantasy, ecology and sci-fi to her much loved historical fiction. In her capacity as Australian Children’s Laureate, ‘Share a Story’ will be the primary philosoph ...more

Other books in the series

Miss Lily's Lovely Ladies (3 books)
  • The Lily and the Rose (Miss Lily's Lovely Ladies, #2)
  • The Lily in the Snow (Miss Lily's Lovely Ladies, #3)