The Radcliffe Ladies’ Reading Club by Julia Bryan Thomas: 4.5****

What an excellent book by Julia Bryan Thomas. Unlike so many other books that use the word books, or book club, etc in the title, this book is not really about the books that are mentioned, but rather the Reading Club is the background for a look at 4 freshmen girls at Radcliffe College in the mid-1950’s. Four so very unique and mismatched girls are dorm neighbors at Radcliffe and this book takes a look at the formative friendships and then the ups and downs that they all experience during their first year at Radcliffe. We first meet Tess as she wanders into a book store and eventually the owner discusses a reading club with Tess. Eventually all 4 of the girls join this group which meets once a month and the books read deal with various examples of women and how they deal with growth, their future, the place of women in society, etc. It is an extremely well written and thoughtful book. To me this reads like a classic Greek Tragedy. This is not at all like other books that have titles like Bookshop, Booklist, Library but instead is a wonderful coming of age novel that any reader will enjoy. I read one chapter each day to my wife and after that we probably talked about the book, the characters and the plotting for at least 30 minutes every day. Julia Bryan Thomas is a wonderful writer, and this newest book is a true gem. We get immersed in all the girls, their lives, their sorrows and their experiences. It is filled with numerous realistic twists in these girls lives that the characters are truly believable. Just an outstanding work by Julia and a real joy to read. 4.5****

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