Mini Reviews: Britt-Marie was here, The Thursday Murder Club & The inaugural meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club

Posted February 28, 2021 by elzaread in Mini Reviews / 12 Comments


Greetings you all! No, it’s not quite a Sunday Post today, we don’t have enough to tell you. At least nothing new. Mommy still works hard and there’s not enough hours in the day to get to the blog as much as we would love to. I can tell you that she does stay on schedule with reading though, and that’s why we decided to start this new monthly feature here on the blog. 

Please tell me you love my graphic? I thought I was very clever. Get it? Mini Reviews = Minnie Mouse. I really wanted to make a graphic with me catching Minnie Mouse and dropping her on a book, but Mommy just gave me a thrown and a stern no
The idea of this monthly post, will be to feature the books we’ve read from Book Club for the month. Yes, sometimes we do write full reviews on our Book Club books, but most of the time, there’s only time for a short, mini review. Mommy took 4 books for Book Club this month, but we only finished 3. Believe me, that was quite the accomplishment if you take the month she’s had. 

Title: Britt-Marie was here

Author: Fredrik Backman
Published: May 2016 (English Translation)
Pages: 324
Format: Paperback
Read: 13 February 2021
Content: Some violence and swearing
Synopsis: Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. A disorganized cutlery drawer ranks high on her list of unforgivable sins. She is not one to judge others—no matter how ill-mannered, unkempt, or morally suspect they might be. It’s just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention. But hidden inside the socially awkward, fussy busybody is a woman who has more imagination, bigger dreams, and a warmer heart that anyone around her realizes.

When Britt-Marie walks out on her cheating husband and has to fend for herself in the miserable backwater town of Borg—of which the kindest thing one can say is that it has a road going through it—she finds work as the caretaker of a soon-to-be demolished recreation center. The fastidious Britt-Marie soon finds herself being drawn into the daily doings of her fellow citizens, an odd assortment of miscreants, drunkards, layabouts. Most alarming of all, she’s given the impossible task of leading the supremely untalented children’s soccer team to victory. In this small town of misfits, can Britt-Marie find a place where she truly belongs?

Although this book started off strongly, it lost my interest about 25% in. I can’t really give you a definite answer to why. I normally don’t like to set Book Club books aside, because then I can’t discuss it as much as I want to in Book Club, so I pushed through. So glad I did! This book ended up being just as lovely and enduring as its cover. I love that cover with the rat on the soccer ball. 
“Football is a mighty game in that way, because it forces life to go on.”
I haven’t read the tie-in, My Grandmother asked me to tell you she’s sorry, but I will try to get a copy as soon as possible. I really want to read more books by Fredrick Backman. 
Will I recommend this book to the rest of the Book Club ladies? It’s definitely not for everyone and some readers might find it incipit with not a strong enough storyline. If you can get passed that and mainly focus on the excellent writing style and how the characters develop, this will be worth the read. I’m glad I can also say: “Britt-Marie was here”. And she touched me deeply. 
“I want a job because I actually don’t think it’s very edifying to disturb the neighbours with bad smells (dead body for 3+ days). I want someone to know I’m here.”

Title: The Thursday Murder Club

Author: Richard Osman
Published: September 2020
Pages: 382
Format: Paperback
Series: Thursday Murder Club #1
Read: 21 February 2021
Content: It’s a retirement village. If you expect disturbing content, search for a different setting.
Synopsis: Four septuagenarians with a few tricks up their sleeves

A female cop with her first big case

A brutal murder

Welcome to…

The Thursday Murder Club

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves The Thursday Murder Club. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.

When a local developer is found dead with a mysterious photograph left next to the body, the Thursday Murder Club suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case. As the bodies begin to pile up, can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it’s too late?

I was so looking forward to this book and it didn’t disappoint. What’s not to like? Murders being solved in a retirement village by a bunch of really old people who obviously lead very interesting lives. It’s obvious that this will be a series, as you are introduced to all the main characters in a thorough enough manner, but you do keep wondering and wanting to know more.
There are a couple of red herrings in this book and it almost bothered me. Every herring could easily have been a book all by itself. It did come together quite nicely though. 
The members of The Thursday Murder Club is what makes this book the best seller that it is. My humble opinion. Elizabeth reminds me of Blanch from The Golden Girls, with maybe just a bit more savviness. Rose, aka Bettie White, would be the perfect Joyce. This series will definitely make a lovely adaptation.
“I asked Elizabeth what favour Joanna owed us and she said the universal guilt of a child who doesn’t see their Mum often enough.”
Will I recommend this book to the rest of the Book Club ladies? Yes! I believe just about all of them will enjoy this one. 

Title: The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club

Author: Sophie Green
Published: August 2017 (Hachette Australia)
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Read: 27 February 2021
Content: Clean
Synopsis: Books bring them together – but friendship will transform all of their lives. Five very different women come together in the Northern Territory of the 1970s by an exceptional new Australian author.
In 1978 the Northern Territory has begun to self-govern. Cyclone Tracy is a recent memory and telephones not yet a fixture on the cattle stations dominating the rugged outback. Life is hard and people are isolated. But they find ways to connect.
Sybil is the matriarch of Fairvale Station, run by her husband, Joe. Their eldest son, Lachlan, was Joe’s designated successor but he has left the Territory – for good. It is up to their second son, Ben, to take his brother’s place. But that doesn’t stop Sybil grieving the absence of her child. With her oldest friend, Rita, now living in Alice Springs and working for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and Ben’s English wife, Kate, finding it difficult to adjust to life at Fairvale, Sybil comes up with a way to give them all companionship and purpose: they all love to read, and she forms a book club.
Mother-of-three Sallyanne is invited to join them. Sallyanne dreams of a life far removed from the dusty town of Katherine where she lives with her difficult husband, Mick. Completing the group is Della, who left Texas for Australia looking for adventure and work on the land.

A surprisingly enjoyable read. And I mean that in the nicest, positive way. I didn’t expect much from this book as I haven’t heard anything about it. I’ve heard about Sophie Green on one our fellow book blogger’s posts, but nothing about this book. Seeing that Book Club is just about the one thing I look forward to the most every month, I thought a book about a Book Club should be worth it. And it was.
It was a quick read for me and I finished it within a day. What I liked most about it, was the wonderful descriptions of the Australian Northern Territory. Farvale is a cattle station about 25km outside the town, Kathryn. A small, nothing special little town. Not so much different than most small towns in South Africa. I think just about every South African knows at least one person/family who immigrated to Australia. If you read books like The inaugural Meeting of the Farevale Ladies Book Club, it does make a lot of sense. 
The women of The Farevale Ladies Book Club all come from different backgrounds and their lives in the Northern Territory are also quite diverse, but through their love of books and reading, they get together as often as possible and formed close friendships that span over years, age and the vast landscape of Australia. 
Will I recommend this book to any of the Book Club ladies? Most of them, yes. We’ve also come together for a couple of years by now and you have an idea of who will read what. Not all the ladies will enjoy this book, but I do know who I will recommend it to. 
“Books give us the benefit of a lot of people’s experiences. They give us more options to choose from – more ways to live – than we could ever find on our own”.

Have you read any of our Book Club books for February? My Mommy has Book Club on Tuesday night and I can’t wait to see with what books she will be coming home. 
Have a wonderful week ahead!
Lots of Love,

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12 responses to “Mini Reviews: Britt-Marie was here, The Thursday Murder Club & The inaugural meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club

  1. Wow, all 3 books got 4 snow flakes! I'm glad Thursday Murder Club turned out well, I still haven't picked it up. February was a rather slow month for me, didn't do much reading. I hope I'll be able to start Thursday soon! ~ Lex

    • Hi Lex! It was a slow month for me too. At least my Book Club picks were worth it. Hopefully March will be better. Let me know when you've read The Thursday Murder Club, I really enjoyed it.

  2. I love the graphic with Minnie. 🙂 I want to read all three of these, especially The Thursday Murder Club. I didn't know My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry is related to Brit-Marie Was Here. I have read the first book and really enjoyed it (although I still take issue with feeding the dog chocolate). I love Backman's A Man Called Ove. I hope to read his Anxious People soon. The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club is a new title to me, but sounds wonderful. I'll have to look for it. I hope you have a great week! Enjoy your reading!

    • I will easily recommend The Thursday Murder Club to just about anybody. Such a fun read. I still need to read some more books by Fredrik Backman as I've only read two by now. I think I might have gotten into Britt-Marie a bit easier if I've read My Grandmother asked me to tell you she's sorry before Britt-Marie. But I still enjoyed it. Anxious people are on my TBR too!

      Farevale Ladies Book Club was an unknown title to me too and I suspect that one of the Book Club ladies most probably bought it on sale. I will read more books by Sophie Green though. She has a lovely writing style.

      Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!

    • Hi Helen! Yes, you will definitely like The Thursday Murder Club. Let me know when you've read it!

      I love The Golden Girls! I can remember being a young girl when it first aired and my Mom and my Gran used to love it. We've watched it not that long ago again and we couldn't wait to get into bed at night to watch an episode or two.

  3. The last two look fantastic. I haven't fallen under the spell of Backman that most people seem to have and have been kind of meh about his books and I'll probably pass on this one too. However, The Thursday Murder Club looks like my kind of book!

    • Hi Katherine! I've only read two by Backman and I did enjoy them both. So I might still find the one I don't like. Britt-Marie truly isn't for everyone. If it wasn't for the wonderful writing style and the enduring character, I might not have liked it at all.

      You will love The Thursday Murder Club! I'm sure of it. And probably The Farevale Ladies Book Club too. Easy read.

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope you are well!

    • Hi Debbie! Great minds think alike. That is my intention. I don't have a lot of time for reviewing during school terms, but I also do try to get to my book club books. That's why I also don't take on too many ARC books. So a monthly Book Club wrap-up will work perfectly.

      I might turn it into a meme, let's see how it goes!

  4. I had a hard time with a few of Backman's books but then there's a few that keep you coming back for more. I loved 'the man called ove' movie and I bet if any one of his books were made movie, they'd be awesome. the foreign settings give me great hope for travel.

    • I've noticed that Backman is a bit of a love/hate character. I've only read two so far and both were hits for me. Not quite 5 stars, but solid 4 stars. Yes, the foreign settings does make us want to travel….