Cover Image: The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle

The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle

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Member Reviews

With thanks to Net Gallery and the publishers for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

What an absolute gem of a book.  Set in the early 80s in Australia in a beautiful place called Shelly Bay this book tells the story of 4 women who through their desire to swim become the closest of friends.  Each of the 4 women has their own tale to tell and with the support of the other three they are able to get through it.

These are my favourite sort of books.  Funny in places but incredibly moving and uplifting. Superb writing that captures the emotion just right.  A beautiful spotlight shined upon the joy of female friendship. Every one needs a swimming circle!
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This book took me straight to the seaside when lockdown means that I cant’t visit it in person.

I found the start a little slow and despite the introduction to each of the main character; Marie, Theresa, Elaine and Leanne it took me a while to get to grips with who was who. However, once I did I loved each one of them!

Marie  is recently widow. and financially struggling swims in Shelly Bay come rain or shine. It is a way of life for Marie and it’s only once she asks for help that she realises what life still has to offer. 

Marie takes Theresa under her wing, recognising a lost soul. Swimming together in silence at first whilst Theresa learns the art of sea swimming and, over time the true nature of her relationships.

Theresa in turn had seen the need for friendship in Leanne a nurse at the hospital Theresa volunteers at. Quiet, unassuming and ready to brave the depths of the sea after a crash course in swimming at the local pool. Is she ready to brave the world around her?

Elaine is a new to Australia, having relocated from England with her surgeon husband. Finding it difficult to adjust to a new life, new friends and being away from her family Elaine turns to swimming and ... Gin

Swimming brings these ladies together and they learn that whilst they can survive without swimming when they have to, they cannot live without the friendship they bring to each other’s lives.
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I thought that this one was ok but it did loose my interest in parts and I found myself skipping parts. Not really for me.
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There is nothing to complain or really criticise about this book and it’s a gentle comfortable read but not my favourite story for all that. I could find a mild level of interest in the lives of the four lady swimmers but no more than that. It had an original idea as the plot but I think I need a lot more excitement to hold my attention.n
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Really enjoyed this book thank you. Vibrant, believable, characters and an absorbing plot. I will ensure I look out for this author in the future!
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Wonderful book full of twists and turns and grest heart warming characters. Must read I couldn't put it down.
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Having read and enjoyed The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club, I jumped at the opportunity to read and review this novel by the same author.

Focusing on four women with swimming in common, we find ourselves a part of all their lives. As they grow closer, their problems and successes are shared. They each need the others for varying reasons and become closer and begin to rely upon each other.

As with the previous book, this is a story to be savoured and enjoyed. Each of these women have very different lives but they all need a friend or two and the importance of good friends shines throughout. This is a book which will make you smile, and laugh - and even feel a tear or two slide down your cheek. The author has created several rounded characters and woven each of their tales in with the others into a warm, wonderful read, and one I really enjoyed. I'm very happy to give this four stars.

My thanks to the publisher for my copy via NetGalley; this is my honest, original and unbiased review.
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Nice easy going book to read. Interesting and well written. It flowed well. 4 women we can all relate too. It was a great book to read.
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1980s Australia.

4 women.

Marie - widow. Takes to the waters of the bay pretty much every day at sunrise. Swimming is her constant, the reason she gets up every morning.

Theresa - housewife. Needs some space for herself and to be herself. No husband demanding, no children wanting. No being pulled in all directions. Theresa would like to get fit and swimming seems a good option.

Elaine - housewife. Recently moved from England leaving everything she knows behind apart from her Australian husband. She needs to clear her head from the gin bottle every day.

Leanne - nurse. The youngest of the four women. Quiet and determined. Can only rely on herself. Especially in deep water.

All brought together by swimming in Shelly Bay.

The water brings them together, the act of swimming gives them a purpose and out there on the water no one seems to be judging as they share lives and friendships begin to develop.

Friendships that can be the reason why it transcends those early morning swims and becomes something much deeper, much warmer and much more important.

This is a slow start, think of those slow first moves of breast stroke as you get going within the water. It does pick up a bit of pace as we change to freestyle and front crawl and then the story really does get going as the women all come together. You go through many differing experiences that any women might have at any age, death, divorce, illness, aging parents, new love, old love as well as laughter and tears. Sophie Green packs a lot into her stories. But there was something missing for me. 

Not as strong as her first novel but I was drawn to the healing properties of swimming that the author used with these women and whilst the south coast of England does not have the same warm, clear waters of Australia, when I swim outdoors I can imagine myself somewhere else where all the problems are simply put on hold as the water soothes and solves as it does for these four women.
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I really got into these 4 characters. Marie the older lady who is an accomplished sea swimmer, Theresa the homely wife and mother who takes up swimming every morning before her children get ready for school, Elaine the English lady who has come to live in Australia with her doctor husband  and Leanne the youngest one who has left everything behind. They are all brought together by their love of swimming in the sea and become the best of friends who are there for each other in the face of all that is thrown at them

Thanks to netgalley and little brown books for an early copy in return for an honest review. I hope this is acceptable.
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This is an engrossing read about the four women - Marie, Theresa, Elaine and Leanne who have on the surface nothing in common yet each are lonely in their own way until they gradually  bond over early morning swims in the sea. There’s some humorous and uplifting moments in this as well as some soul searching ones too and the way the women met and got to slowly become friends was thoughtfully written. Their contrasting personalities were well balanced however I did feel there was an unbalanced representation of the males featured in this, there were some positive ones however a few felt a bit stereotypical 80s Aussie bloke however to be fair attitudes have altered a lot regarding women’s roles so the old fashioned views are more noticeable. Overall though this was a strong representation of women as wives, mothers, daughters and above all friends.
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What a fantastic read - I was hooked right from the start of this story of friendship between 4 very different women. The characters were so well written and believable, I felt their triumphs and despairs along with them. It made me want to move to Australia and swim in the sea every day!

Definite 5 stars, and I can't wait to read The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club which I picked up in a charity shop at the weekend!
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A lovely book with much more than meets the eye. It started slowly and I thought it was going to be another Ove (which just wasn’t my cup of tea). I persisted as I loved her previous book! It picks up quite quickly once the four main characters are established and becomes an easy and enjoyable read with the ups and downs of life. Then bam! Plot twist (as you’d expect in every decent book but no spoilers here) and the pace of the book steps up and the engagement and absorption factors jump considerably. From a pleasant book to one which made me block out the world around me and even shed a tear. Really well written - like you are chatting with your friends. Love the friendships and the interactions between the ladies.
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Thanks to netgalley  and little  brown books for an early copy in return for an honest review. 
This is the second  book I've read by this Author   and thoroughly enjoyed  4 ladies 4 different perspectives 4 lonely  people  an excellent  read I can highly recommend.
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Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher.  4 different women with different outlooks and lives.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and all the characters.
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i loved it !! great story lines throughout . i would love to meet these women for real .stayed up way too late reading and not wanting it to end .
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