Book Review: Fair and Tender Ladies
Book Title: Fair and Tender Ladies
Author: Lee Smith
Review: I picked up this book because NoveList said it was a "read-alike" for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society which my sister and I had read aloud to each other during a long road trip from Michigan to New Jersey. We enjoyed it, and as we were planning another long trip - Michigan to Virginia, I was looking for something similar. We ended up NOT reading it on this trip, but I was caught up in it after reading the first few pages, and decided to read it myself. I'm mentioning this because this is not the type of book I would normally pick up. I am more a mystery, thriller, action lover. This was none of those, but I thoroughly enjoyed it!
It is the story of Ivy Rowe, told completely through the letters she writes to friends and relatives. It begins when she is a child growing up in the Appalachian Mountain region of Virginia at the turn of the century and ends just before her death around the 1970s. Her letters narrate the story of her life - her loves, family, travels, disappointments, failings and triumphs - and times - how strip mining effected the land and the people, the coming of electricity, telephones and TV, young people leaving for a better life...
In the beginning, Ivy writes with a strong rural, down-home dialect, but through the story she grows into an articulate woman. It is so gradual and well-written, that you don't even notice it - until you do.
This was a beautiful story.
Reviewed by: Lynn D.
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