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The Ladies' Lending Library [Import] [Hardcover]

Janice Kulyk Keefer
2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Canada (April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0002007436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002007436
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,943,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not much of a library, but a satisfying read. 16 July 2009
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
While it takes some time to get engrossed, once you're in the land of the ladies lending library, you don't want to leave. Reading in short bursts won't do, there are too many names and people to remember and if you dip in, you'll never keep track. Instead, dedicate a good chunk of time to meet the Ukrainian ladies of Ontario. Enjoy their summer of 50's stoic attitudes and their carefree children's adventures. Just don't expect any reflective thoughts on their 'lending library' as books seem to be the last topic of conversation between them.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Intelligently Written but Boring 25 Sep 2009
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The best thing about this intelligently written book is its title. I would say intelligent rather than well written as it's too wordy and absolutely full of colons, semi colons etc which completely stopped me getting engrossed in the book. I got jolted out of the narrative too often as the language didn't flow. The first line of the book is 'The Ladies' Lending Library is not an institution; though communal, it certainly isn't public.' These overly constructed sentences are common and the flowery literary style mostly seemed to sit at odds with the story.

1960s Canada and the multitude of characters didn't come alive for me. The title is a bit misleading as this isn't a genteel read about ladies swapping books and discussing them, it's more the passing of racy reads in brown paper bags. Although the synopsis sounds promising I didn't find the subject matter at all interesting. The book blurb says in the style of 'Steel Magnolias' which I also think is misleading as that again was a genteel and entertaining story. This isn't. Perhaps those with a connection with the early 1960s, Ukranian housewives or Canada might find it an interesting book or those who remember the 'Cleopatra' era of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor which was no doubt scandalous at the time. For me though the writer doesn't pique enough interest to make the book compelling and I found it a real struggle to get through (and it's taken me almost 10 months). I do enjoy books which document mother, daughter relationships and the cultural and identity issues between generations that occur when immigrants settle in a new country such as Amy Tan's wonderful books like the 'Joy Luck Club' but this story fell flat for me.

I can't recommend it at all and it completely wasn't my cup of tea. I just didn't find the subject matter enjoyable or entertaining and found the overly stylised sentence constructions annoying. Sorry.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me .... 25 Mar 2009
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a story about Ukranian women living in Canada during the early 1960s.

You will know by now if this is your kind of book.

It wasn't mine in any way, but if you like the sound of it, buy it.

And then - please - write a review explaining what the ???? you liked about the book!

Seriously, very much an acquired taste.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what it seems 10 Feb 2009
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It seems churlish not to praise any book which is sent for review and looking at the voting outcomes, those that do not recommend a book seem to receive more negative responses than those giving five stars.

However, for me this is not a five-star book. I confess that my preferred reading is rather more down market; blood and thunder books as my old father used to say.

And, as others have stated, the title is definitely misleading. The story has been detailed earlier so I, too, was disappointed to find that the style of writing makes for slow reading. For English readers, it is always more difficult to absorb the foreign names of the characters which means pausing for a moment to try to connect who's who.

This, of course, is not a criticism of the author, more of the English reader, like me. I was around in the summer of '63 (I think) but not in Canada. On the whole, as the blurb says on the back of the book,'the perfect summer read for your mother or your best friend', this is a book for more tender appreciations of female family realtionships. I'll definitely pass it on to my best friend and see what she makes of it. Regrettably for review purposes, she takes several months to read a book by which time, I'll have forgotten I passed it on to her.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A tad confusing at times... 4 Feb 2009
By LittleReader VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Set in the 1960's in Canada, 'The Ladies Lending library' is an interesting read.
I think the first confusing factor regarding this book is that, on reading the blurb, you assume it's going to be a tale of women sitting around on the beach discussing the books that they have read and relating them to their lives. And while there was mention of books, the theme is more about women and their families and how they interact, particularly while their husbands are away working through the week.
The second confusing factor was all those names!!! It took me half the book to remember who was who - there was a litany of adults and children and mothers and sister in laws with similar sounding names - it was hard going at times.
Aside from this, I did enjoy this novel - the writing was tender and the characters believable (a couple were so vile you couldn't help but dislike them) and there was a real sense of tension as the story drew towards it's climax.
Certainly worth a read in my opinion...
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3.0 out of 5 stars Don't be misled by the brief product description 25 Jan 2009
By Book Addict TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
After reading this book's synopsis, like the previous reviewer, I believed "The Ladies' Lending Library" would predominantly centre on a group of women swapping literary works and discussing their views; however this is not the case. Instead this book describes a summer spent at Kalyna Beach, Canada in 1963 by women who have emigrated from the Ukraine and who are constantly at odds with each other, their husbands or their Canadian born children.

Sonia Martyn and her family take up the most pages. A beautiful ex-model with 4 young daughters, Sonia hasn't the ability to stand up to anyone; even her young daughters who trash a beautiful dress she intended to wear at the end of season party. Locked in her grief over her mother's death and constantly aware her life would have turned out differently if she hadn't married Max, this character is difficult to understand, sympathise with, or empathise with as she agonises over her inability to express her feelings to her husband or children.

Sonia and the women she surrounds herself with have left the Ukraine in order to provide a better life for their children; yet they seem unable to accept and at times appear almost envious of the freedom their Canadian children have been raised in. Instead of embracing a new way of life, these forty something women seem unwilling to relinquish the hardships they endured during their own childhoods and as a result misunderstand or plain cannot understand their own children (excluding the free spirited and founder of their club Sasha).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars The Ladie's Lending Library
It was the last summer of innocence, a summer when everything changed. That's what it says on the front cover, so I was surprised and disappointed when nothing overly exciting... Read more
Published on 21 Mar 2009 by Kevin Roche
2.0 out of 5 stars But where's the story?
A book of excellent description and first class characterisation through dialogue, the novel nevertheless fails through too little narrative progression. Read more
Published on 21 Mar 2009 by Ray Blake
3.0 out of 5 stars Good beach reading
This novel is set in the summer of 1963: the year that the Burton/Taylor film "Cleopatra" is released ; and the women of the Ukranian Canadian community are holidaying at the beach... Read more
Published on 20 Feb 2009 by BusyReader
4.0 out of 5 stars A slightly blurred snapshot of the 1950s
Anyone put off by the title of this book really shouldn't be! The Lending Library is a very small part of the novel and to be honest the title is a bit of a misnomer. Read more
Published on 14 Feb 2009 by Littlepig Littlepig
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful read.
From the title I imagined this book would be an easy to read little chick lit about middle-aged women having innocent drinking sessions and sharing their books. Read more
Published on 2 Feb 2009 by kehs
1.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea.....
I have waded through 200 pages of this book and I have found it such a hard slog that I can go no further! Read more
Published on 31 Jan 2009 by Free Spirit
2.0 out of 5 stars ashamed to say...
that I didnt even finish this one. I tried very hard to but I just couldnt get into it and eventually gave up after 100 pages. Read more
Published on 28 Jan 2009 by Sian Louise
4.0 out of 5 stars Summer secrets!!
'The Ladies Lending Library' is a story of a group of Ukrainian housewives who now live in Canada, and their families. Read more
Published on 28 Jan 2009 by laineyf
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