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The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  2,223 ratings  ·  312 reviews
Books bring them together - but friendship will transform all of their lives. Five very different women come together in the Northern Territory of the 1970s by an exceptional new Australian author.

In 1978 the Northern Territory has begun to self-govern. Cyclone Tracy is a recent memory and telephones not yet a fixture on the cattle stations dominating the rugged outback. L
Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published August 8th 2017 by Hachette Australia
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It was 1978 and Fairvale Station had been in the Baxter family for generations. Now Sybil and Joe ran and cared deeply for the property and had raised two children - Lachlan and Ben – but Lachie wasn’t interested in inheriting the station. He wasn’t interested in anything to do with his family or the Territory – when he left without a word, Sybil and Joe were shocked and saddened. But Ben loved the property and was happy to help his father run it until such time as he took over the reins.

Ben ha
Sep 12, 2017 rated it liked it
This turned out to be not quite what I expected. Sure there was a Fairvale Ladies Book Club but it was pretty scarce. It seemed to meet about twice a year and consisted of five people so there needed to be a lot more than that to fill 384 pages!

The rest was quite interesting. We followed the lives of several women living and working on stations or for the Flying Doctor service in the late 1970's and into the 1980's. There was some melodrama but also some realistic portrayal of the problems and d
Whispering Stories
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Book Reviewed by Stacey on

Set in the Australian outback, starting in 1978, in a place called Fairvale, Sybil Baxter remembers all to well what it was like to arrive in such an isolated place all those years ago.

When her son Ben brings home his British wife, Sybil needs to find a way to help her settle in and not feel alone. A book club springs to mind and will the help of her friend Rita the two get the club up and running.

But the book club is more than just what is goi
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-books
It was a pure delight to be a part of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club. From the first meeting of the club in 1978, through to the close in 1981, it was a road travelled touched with both sadness and joy. Sophie Green’s latest fictional tale is a wonderful testament to the outback and to a band of women linked together by their love of a good yarn.

In the far-reaching dusty outback plains of Fairvale station, near Katherine in the Territory, matriarch Sybil is l
I have to start off by saying how much I loved this book. Its quite a chunky book to get through but so enjoyable you don't realise how fast you are turning the pages.

Lots of dialogue in this read, which is what I love along with some narration which builds up the surroundings for the reader to focus on and imagine and relate to.

Its based around the 1960's onwards to 1978 The North Territory had begun to self govern.
Life had become hard and lots of people were isolated which made things very dif
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is more the story of five women and their relationships rather than about a book club. But the book club is how it all started when Sybil who lives on a cattle station, Fairvale, near Katherine decides to find some companionship for her son Ben's young English wife Kate. She invites her good friend Rita, a nurse with the flying doctors, Sallyanne a young woman in town struggling with three young children and a difficult husband and Della, a Texan stockwoman on a neighbouring property, to th ...more
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up. Truth be told I probably wouldn’t have picked this book up on my own accord, but coincidentally our book club was meeting right next door to our local bookshop who was hosting a meet and greet with the author of this book so it was rather a no brainer that our club unanimously picked it for bookclub. Meeting the author always adds an extra dimension of interest to the reading experience and I came out from reading this book with an appreciation for the writing process as we ...more
The words book club might have drawn me to The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club, and that part of it lived up to its promise, however it is the setting in the Northern Territories and the friendships and lives of the five women that kept me reading as well.

I would imagine life is hard in this area, and the challenges that the women face in this book and in actual life are enormous. The seasons of wet and dry, the isolation, the lack of the many entertainment opportunities we ta
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club is a novel by Australian author and publisher, Sophie Green. It may be twenty-six years but Sydney ex-nurse, Sybil Baxter hasn’t forgotten the culture shock and the sense of dislocation she felt when Joe Baxter first brought her to Fairvale Station near Katherine in the Northern Territory. And now her youngest son, Ben has brought his English bride, Kate to live here. To allay her some of this London girl’s loneliness, Sybil decides to gathe ...more
Dale Harcombe
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Set in the late 1970s and moving through to 1981, this book tells the story of a group of women who live in the harsh landscape of the Northern Territory. To try and help her youngest son’s English wife, Kate, settle in to life on Fairvale and make friends, Sybil starts a book club. Sybil invites her dear friend Rita, who is a nurse with the Flying Doctor Service, Sallyanne a young mother of three. Her neighbour, Felicity, suggests Della, a young Texan working on their property might also be int ...more
The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club how a resourceful woman living on an isolated station in the Northern Territory was able to help her family and friends to cope with the isolation. Ben Baxter and his wife Katie was trying to become pregnant, and Sybil Baxter started to worry about how Katie was dealing with not falling pregnant and the isolations of Fairvale. So Sybil came up with the idea of setting up the Fairvale Ladies Book Club and involving women in the community and ...more
The title of this book is a little misleading (as in, I was expecting the ending to be the inaugural meeting). We not only have the inaugural meeting early on, but many others through the course of the novel. The rest of the book is, of course, what happens between meetings to the five book club members. 

Unfortunately, the characterisation of the five women isn’t the strongest; they could all be interchangeable. Their plots too, are pretty cliched and soap opera-ish. 

The book is set in the North
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Cliched characters & plot. An OK read.
This was an enjoyable read set mostly in the Northern Territory at the end of the 1970’s/early 1980’s.

The descriptions of life in the Northern Territory were wonderful - of how life revolves around “the wet” and “the dry”, and the vibrant colours with new life. Although I’ve never been up that way, it is described just how I imagine it! And such a hard life - especially at that time, since there was no internet and even phones weren’t commonplace!

I really enjoyed getting caught up in the lives o
Leanne Francis
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've made some new friends - Sybil, Kate, Rita, Della and Sallyanne - and I'd love to go to their next book club! A gem, I loved it. ...more
Angela Smith
I really liked this book. There was a varied collection of ladies and a few men of different ages who all had interesting stories and situations. The timeline was Australia 1978-1981 and what I also liked was the page of key historic events of each year on a page as it went into a new year of the story.

Sybil is The wife of Joe. They own Fairvale. They have a happy marriage and two sons. Both are grown up (Lachie & Ben) Ben is the younger son and is married to English girl Kate. Lachie is the so
Theresa Smith
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aww2017
I have absolutely adored reading The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club. True to the era and the location in which it is set, this novel is a real slice of rural social history, the spirit of Australian outback station life converging with the reality of living so remotely. With a cast of likable characters, your time at Fairvale Station will pass all too quickly, despite the hefty page count of the novel.

While I would have loved more of the book club to take centre stage throug
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club is a novel by Australian author and publisher, Sophie Green. The audio version is narrated by Fiona Macleod. It may be twenty-six years but Sydney ex-nurse, Sybil Baxter hasn’t forgotten the culture shock and the sense of dislocation she felt when Joe Baxter first brought her to Fairvale Station near Katherine in the Northern Territory. And now her youngest son, Ben has brought his English bride, Kate to live here. To allay her some of this ...more
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Such a beautiful depiction of strong women, doing what they need to do in Australia's harsh outback. I loved this story and the concept that something as simple as a bookclub can bring people together. First rate. ...more
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish a beautifully written story about five woman who come together in the outback for a book club. Sybil Baxter is the matriarch of Fairvale Station she came here as a young bride many years ago and is very happy with her husband Joe they have two sons and a daughter in law of course life is never perfect but is what you make of it and Sybil worries about her young English daughter in law Kate and hence the book club is formed never thinking how mu ...more
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read the full review on my blog (noting this is a review of both the print book and the audiobook):

In addition to having a very long title, The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club by Sophie Green has something for everyone. Well, when I say everyone, I’m assuming most readers will be female. Just cos.

But young / old; married / single; city dweller / country gal, you’ll most certainly find yourself identifying with one or more of the five wo
Julie Garner
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I picked this book up because it was about a group of Aussie ladies, in the Outback, starting a book club. I wanted to see how they started it, how they managed to get together but also what sort of books they liked to read. I fell in love with a group of women and the place that they call home - Fairvale.
This is a little gem of Australian fiction that really gives you a sense of our country during the time period it is set, as well as opening our eyes to some classic Australian fiction, all whi
Sylvia Gett
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
A good book to read on holiday. The number of cliches grated on me but it could have also been the mood I was in. The story seemed to wander on down an indiscernible path at times. It tried hard to be that book that gives the reader a look into the lives of different characters but to me they were just shallow, saccharine sweet versions of real women.
Jan R
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
Ugh it felt like a soapie!
I was excited to read the beginning and enjoyed the description of life in Katherine in the 1970s. I really found the boyfriend/girlfriend stuff really annoying, and I doubted that a farmer’s wife would know so little about how he does his work.
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
‘I’m starting a book club –well, that’s obvious.’ She gestured to the paper. ‘We’re all a bit isolated out here, aren’t we? It’s good to have some other people to talk to.’

The blurb had me with ‘book club’ and ‘Thorn Birds’, however, there is so much more to this little gem of a read. Set in the unique time and place - Northern Territory, Australia 1978 - it provides the reader with a realistic portrayal of life on the land in one of the most remote locations of a vast continent; and, how five w
Karen ⊰✿
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Based on a property in the middle of nowhere in the Northern Territory in the late 1970s, this book centres around those that live on Fairvale Station and their friends.
It is a brutal climate, an isolating location, and hard work to live in Fairvale so book club is the way that Sybil tries to welcome her new English daughter-in-law Kate to this strange way of life and introduce her to some other women in the "area".

It is not often I come across books set in outback NT, let alone in the late 70s,
Monica Mac
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am always interested in reading books which are set in Australia, and this one was a beauty! Set in the Northern Territory (a place I have never been, even though I am Australian myself) in 1978, life was tough for the women of the outback who find themselves quite isolated. Sybil, a no-nonsense matriarch of a large cattle station, has the idea of forming a book club for the various ladies she meets, as well as for herself and her English daughter-in-law.

This novel is about far more than books
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
City people like me are spoilt with book clubs - it's rare to take more than half an hour to get there. In the vast Northern Territory of 1978-1981 it might take a day or more to get there... I love the fact these five women get together no matter what the odds, governed as they were by the extreme opposites of the wet and dry seasons. Two book club meetings a year, and the bonds arising from that become unshakeable. I particularly love that books bring them together. This is a gentle story, yet ...more
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It was a joy to discover this book only months after I moved away from the Northern Territory. Sophie brought the unique Northern Territory outback setting to life in a vivid and realistic manner. I enjoyed the different voices of the women, empathised with their isolation and felt their friendships grow. A book about a book club - what more could a book lover ask for?
Lynne Stringer
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary, drama
The Fairvale Ladies Book Club is a fantastic read which transported me to the Northern Territory in the late 1970s, complete with all its harshness and the problems of the day.
The story covers the lives of five different women who all come together for the book club, all from different walks of life and all with different problems, but ones that most of us can relate to at some time or other. It's full of drama and struggles, set against the background of a land of red dirt and one that's either
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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 fell in love with the Northern Territory the first time she visited and subsequent visits inspired the story in THE INAUGURAL MEETING OF THE FAIRVALE LADIES BOOK CLUB.

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