From the award-winning author of Honey and Ashes and Thieves, The Ladies' Lending Library is a richly evocative story for anyone who has longed for the heady days of bygone summers and the risky promises of change.
During the languorous summer of 1963 - before the Beatles, before JFK - the women of Ontario's Kalyna Beach anticipate the long holiday season ahead... With their husbands away in the city, the wives break up monotonous days of children and chores by gathering together for their weekly 'lending library' - an excuse to exchange 'daring' novels and the latest gossip. As heavy waves pound the sand and the sun beats down on their beach-cottage steps, gin is poured, secrets are shared and they become ever closer. Meanwhile, their adolescent daughters are making discoveries and forging intimacies of their own...
Consumed by thoughts of marriage and sex, by memories of the past and longing for the future, innocence gradually gives way to new understanding. And as the summer gradually draws to an end, the women of Kalyna Beach come to realize that nothing will be quite the same again...
The Ukrainian-Canadian housewives of idyllic 1960s Kalyna Beach, Ontario, find that show business scandal has far-reaching power in this latest from Canadian novelist Keefer, her first published in the U.S. While their husbands work, former model Sonia Martyn and friends spend the summer of 1963 watching their children on the beach and reading racy books to discuss over Friday cocktails, while the kids test the limits of their mothers' supervisory skills and traditional Ukrainian values. Moms and daughters alike have become enchanted by the new film Cleopatra and the scandalous love affair between stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. When the beautiful, sad wife of a local millionaire embarks on her own misbegotten affair, the ladies of Kalyna Beach feel their familiar world shift, opening up novel possibilities for freedom and betrayal. Keefer neatly captures the security and claustrophobia of immigrant communities, but diffuses her story's power with too many points of view. Just as the ladies' books cannot match the drama in their lives, this story only begins to capture the personal cost of immigration and assimilation.