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The Ludlow Ladies Society Kindle Edition
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At the beginning of the book we meet Connie. Her husband has died and whilst she is grieving, she soon learns that he was hiding something from her. Her husband has bought Ludlow Hall in Ireland. As they were living in America and this place in Ireland is something Connie has heard nothing about, she is confused as to what her husband’s motives were and why he kept something like this from her. Bravely she leaves her life in America behind to go to Rosdaniel, Co. Wicklow and see the property for herself. Ludlow Hall is not what it once was. It’s boarded up, closed down. But Connie sees the opportunity to bring the place back to life – and that’s where the Ludlow Ladies’ Society comes into it.
At Ludlow Hall, Connie meets Eve and Hetty. All three of these women are trying to deal with their own losses in their own way, and each of them have their own very individual story and background, but they bond together so well. They also all have a love of sewing and quilt making. This is a hobby that, whilst rewarding to actually do, might not sound like the most entertaining to read about but this was such a powerful part of the book. Through sewing, and making patches of a quilt, Connie, Eve and Hetty help each other through the toughest of times. Here they learn to evaluate their grief, understand how it can affect in different ways and that it’s ok to feel pain and sorrow but also, that any moments of happiness should be grasped with both hands. For anyone who has felt grief, or is still grieving, I think this is an absolute brilliant choice of book to read. Seeing the way these three women handle their grief really left an impression on me.
I absolutely loved getting to know all three characters, but Connie was just about my favourite. They were all very different and I think Eve came across as the most easily likeable of the three, but it was Connie’s character I seemed to warm to the most. Connie has been dealt a real shock at the beginning of the book but I loved how she didn’t just sit and wallow, instead going to Ireland to tackle things head on. I really admired how she came through her apprehension and worries about being judged and not fitting in, to the level where she makes such true friends in Hetty and Eve.
I’ve said it before, but Ann O’Loughlin is a real favourite author of mine. I always look forward to her new book and I don’t believe they will ever disappoint. I love the beauty of her storytelling and how each layer of her books is full of emotion and honesty and characters who feel like close friends come the end of the book. The chapters in The Ludlow Ladies’ Society are quite short and impactful. Because of this and because of how much I was enjoying the book, I never once put it down, something I cursed when the book was over so soon, but it was a real pleasure to read. Full of emotion, secrets, intrigue and friendship, this book has it all and I loved every moment of reading it. I am looking forward to reading the next book by this author, but The Ludlow Ladies’ Society will prove a difficult one to top!
I felt I was being taken on an extraordinary journey through the lives to three different women and I found myself rooting for all three as they strived to overcome the pain they had endured in their lives.
Connie Carter turns up at the gates of an old mansion on the outskirts of an Irish village. A young American dance teacher, she is still reeling from an extremely traumatic family event in the US. All she has left in the world is this big old house which she never even knew existed until a short time ago.
The former owner is a woman named Eve who has lost everything. Eve now lives in a small house in the village where she ekes out a living as a dressmaker.
A third woman, Hetty, is a widow whom has suffered in secret for too long.
All three women will undertake a shared project, along with other women, in a group named the Ludlow Ladies's Society.
While it may appear that the tough experiences of these women might make for grim reading, the talent of the author ensures the reader is intrigued, entertained, and treated to a lively story that had me laughing out loud on several occasions. She has a finely tuned ear for a humorous phrase.
As a fan of O'Loughlin's previous novels, I was delighted to discover she had lost none of her zest for telling a well-rounded story. There were twists and revelations that caused sharp intakes of breath.
And I loved some welcome similarities in all three books concerning O'Loughlin's eye for beauty in the intricate yet commonplace detail in our everyday lives. In The Ballroom Cafe, she evoked the glistening beauty of a woman's brooch collection. In The Judge's Wife, the artistic lines of high fashion garments of the 1950s. In The Ludlow Ladies' Society, there is the exquisite detail of the creation of memory quilts which exults in the colours and textures of the fabrics in the lives of these women.
As a male reader, I did not feel excluded from the circle of these women in a corner of rural Ireland. There were several male characters, some of whom were emburdened with a surplus of failings. I was glad that other men, however, did not leave the side down.
This is a book for all who believe in the solidarity of friendship, the overcoming of painful pasts, and the joy of new beginnings.
I thoroughly recommend this book.
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