The Newport Ladies Book Club is a new series that is co-authored by good friends (and great writers) Julie Wright, Josi S. Kilpack, Annette Lyon, and Heather B. Moore. Each author has taken one character and made her their own, and while each book mentions all four characters, each book has a special focus on one character’s storyline. The first book in the series, Olivia, is written by Julie Wright.
The very first thing that struck me as I began reading Olivia was the strength in Julie Wright’s writing. I’ve been a fan of Julie’s for years and have seen this evolution, and in this book, I felt like she had really come into her own. The word placement is deft and sure, and her descriptions and the way she conveys emotion are spot-on.
Olivia is a forty-one-year-old woman who is hanging on to life by a thread. She has spent years of her marriage trying to cope with her husband’s poor treatment of her, and as the book opens, we see her sitting alone at her dining room table, waiting for him to come home to a sumptuous anniversary dinner she has prepared and he doesn’t bother to come home to eat. She realizes that her compulsive cleaning has been an effort to make him happy with her, and she determines that she’s going to do something for herself—something she really wants to do, something that will help her feel like an individual instead of an extension of a man who doesn’t care about her.
By chance, she stumbles upon a flyer for a book club, and decides to join. Ruby, the president of the club, is a sweet older woman who just wants everyone to feel welcomed and loved, and Olivia finds herself pulled into a world where there is acceptance and belonging. Her husband resents the time she spends away, but she knows she needs to build herself back up emotionally, and that it’s through friendship with these good women that she’ll find the strength she needs to remain herself instead of getting swallowed whole.
Through the club, she meets Daisy, Athena, and Paige, and they begin to lean on each other for support in their trials. These three women are the characters who will star in the other books of the series.
I very much enjoyed reading Olivia. I’m friends with authors Julie, Josi, Annette, and Heather, so of course I was excited to hear about their project, and I was even more excited to see how well the series has been accepted by the public and how well it’s been executed. This is a series I can and will wholeheartedly endorse as one that women from all walks of life—and all faiths—can enjoy.
You can visit the Newport Ladies Book Club here.
And you can purchase Olivia here.