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The J. M. Barrie Ladies' Swimming Society Paperback – 5 Apr 2012


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The J. M. Barrie Ladies' Swimming Society + The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society + The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Short Books Ltd (5 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780720408
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780720401
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 240,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

The feisty members of the J.M. Barrie Ladies' Swimming Society are a cast of characters to delight all readers. --The Lady, Must Read of the Month

Zitwer's fabulous cast of warm, funny and feisty characters would tempt anyone to jump in and swim in a lake of icy water with them. I adored this book. --Cathy Woodman, author of It Must Be Love

Think Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society... Joey finds a pond and a group of feisty old ladies, friends for life, who exchange wisdom and wisecracks around the ritual of a freezing daily dip. Love, enlightenment and risk of frostbite follow --Wendy Holden, Daily Mail

5/5 --Daily Express

A book that really had to be... The story is lovely, and Barbara J. Zwiter balances different plot strands and different themes beautifully... I loved Joey s story, and the spirit of The J. M. Barrie Ladies Swimming Society made it even more wonderful. --Fleur Fisher

A slow and leisurely read, thoroughly satisfying. It's a great book for exploring the value of friendship and also for celebrating ladies of a certain age... Very readable. --Book Bag

A love story, but also a tribute to a unique breed of English old lady. --The Times

Wonderful characters. Lovely, quirky story. --Sidmouth Herald

Illuminating... Delightful... Charming... The book has become an international phenomenon. --www.thecultureconcept.com

A slow and leisurely read, thoroughly satisfying. It's a great book for exploring the value of friendship and also for celebrating ladies of a certain age... Very readable. --Book Bag

About the Author

Barbara J. Zitwer is an international literary agent. Prior to working in publishing, she
produced films including Vampire s Kiss. She lives in New York City with her husband and their two dogs. This is her first novel.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By B. Richmond-O'Neill on 17 July 2012
Format: Paperback
I like a good romance now and again and this book has all the right ingredients.
Joey Rubin is a 30-something New York architect. After a broken love affair she is commissioned to renovate Stanway House in the Cotswolds, the manor house that J M Barrie rented from the Earl of Wemyss whose daughter, Lady Asquith, was a friend of his. Stanway's dour Scottish caretaker, Ian McCormack, takes agin her but she is befriended by the J M Barrie Ladies' Swimming Society, they of the title who, mostly in their eighties and with a penchant for swimming in icy lake water, ensure that all's well that ends well. Miss Zitwer also tells us that Barrie wrote Peter Pan at Stanway House but his play for adults `The Little White Bird', later to become Peter Pan, was written in 1902 and several additional drafts were made well before he stayed in the Cotswolds. However, anyone hoping for anything beyond a mention of Barrie in the title will be disappointed.
On the up side it is ably written with some nicely observed characters but there are just too many mistakes to make it a good, absorbing read. Without wishing to disparage, the author has no flair for (or knowledge of) English or Scottish speech rhythms, expressions, behaviour or customs. The Scots do not say, `Jaysus!' that's the Irish. Haggis is always served with `neaps and tatties' and no self-respecting Scot would eat it with salad.She clearly knows nothing about horses either because if Joey had actually gripped her horse hard with her knees she'd have been in the next county by teatime!
Then there are the American expressions not commonly used in England and certainly not by elderly ladies of a certain class.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mary M on 10 April 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I dove right into this novel and literally could NOT put it down, falling under the spell of the English countryside--the Costwolds--where I learned I could visit because it's only two hours from London by train or bus! The way in which the author wrote about the locale makes me think of UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN or TOUJOURS PROVENCE....I identified with the main character, Joey Ruben, who is a regular gal trying to figure out what life is all about -- even though many women her age are married with children and settled down. Joey is a loner and has grown up too fast and not until she finds a secret hideway -- an outdoor swimming pond where a group of eighty year old women go every day to swim-- does she find the true magic of comraderie, life, and,in turn, real love with the most unlikely man she could ever imagine. The book is a page turner and takes you to a magical place --- a real life neverland with a cast of smart, funny, quirky and unique characters. This novel celebrates friendship, sisterhood and women of all ages who interact together. The ladies that make up the swimming society are unforgettable indeed. This is truly a great birthday gift and gift for celebrating a girlfriend, mother, aunt, sister, cousin, or daughter in your life. What strikes me particularly about it, is that it goes to the heart of what good, real women are all about. This is also great for a book club full of thought provocative themes. Thank you to Barbara J Zitwer for my pick of the year.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Piper on 11 May 2012
Format: Paperback
I bought this book as the most promising of a limited selection with no prior knowledge. I have read it and it is a sweet little romantic story. Granted this bit of it is sweetly and fairly skilfully dealt with but the women who make up the swimming society are not developed at all. The bones of these characters we are given make them tantilisingly close but the reader is left with virtually no real insight and the whole thing seems to exist soley as a prop for the aforementioned (and granted very sweet) little romantic love story. Other major storyline props such as the development of the house and the riding (both the pony club rally and the ride the two main characters go on together) are so full of total howlers that I found myself fearing for the windows as I resisted the urge to throw the book accross the room.... Perhaps it is just unfortunate that my own unusual skill set means that I spotted each and every painful one.

So, I was astonished to find the book so generally well recieved, in particular I was horrified to find this compared by the Daily Wail to the brilliant Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, it just isn't even in the same ball park. A quick look at the back of the book and I find that Ms Zitwer is a literary agent and apparently quite a good one, marvellous, very pleased for her and for me this explains a great deal!

If you are looking for a contemporary, unchallenging, one dimensional romantic story to while away a few hours then look no further, but if you are hoping that the tantalising title and promise of the back cover might deliver more then think again.

Downgraded to one star as after several conversations about this book (people asking if it was worth reading) I realised how truly dreadful it was in almost every way and just how much I loathed it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By bunbun24 on 26 April 2012
Format: Paperback
This is such a fun life enhancing novel. Joey the heroine is so easy to relate to even though she is a New Yorker, I love they way she loves her dog and cannot handle her best friends kids, she has an open mind and is very honest. The ladies in the society are eccentric and an eclectic mix and their average age is 80.
Please do go and buy this jolly book for a rollicking and entertaining read.
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