The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle by Sophie Green
Disclaimer: there are not enough nice words in the English vocabulary (or any vocabulary for that matter) to properly describe the absolute beauty of this book.
Sophie Green, author of The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club returns to our shelves with the glorious The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle. I have read 50+ books this year and this one is way, way up there with the best of them.
Told from multiple perspectives, The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle is a story centred around four very different women. Different as they may be, they find each other through a mutual love and respect of the ocean. It is a truly sensory novel and on more than one occasion I found myself closing my eyes mid-sentence, transporting myself to the very same sand the characters were standing on, looking out to the very same ocean. Green has absolutely mastered ‘setting the scene’ with clear pictures ebbing and flowing with each new page.
I couldn’t help but fall madly in love with each and every one of the women that Green introduces us to; Theresa the housewife (who has a complete dog a husband, by the way), Marie whose husband passed away, Leanne the young nurse with a painful secret and Elaine, who recently moved to Australia from England and who is partial to a daytime gin (or twelve). What I loved is the patience, acceptance and love that the women showed one another through each of their ups and downs. This is a novel that celebrates female friendship, which is something that I feel we could do with a lot more.
This is an author that has mastered the art of storytelling, gifting us a book that Maes you feel GOOD and HAPPY while you are reading it and for a long while after. The way that ocean-swimming is described and celebrated in the book actually inspired me to head out to the beach the day after I finished the book. Mum, Hunter and I went to Balmoral Beach and although the water was absolutely freezing, I dove beneath its surface. Instead of being a deterrent, the temperature of the water was incredibly satisfying, and refreshing and healing.
This is a book to read, love and remember.