New Release Book Review: A Month of Sundays by Liz Byrski

A Month of Sundays…

About the Book:

For over ten years, Ros, Adele, Judy and Simone have been in an online book club, but they have never met face to face. Until now…

Determined to enjoy her imminent retirement, Adele invites her fellow bibliophiles to help her house-sit in the Blue Mountains. It’s a tantalising opportunity to spend a month walking in the fresh air, napping by the fire and, of course, reading and talking about books.

But these aren’t just any books: each member has been asked to choose a book which will teach the others more about her. And with each woman facing a crossroads in her life, it turns out there’s a lot for them to learn, not just about their fellow book-clubbers, but also about themselves.

A Month of Sundays reminds us of the joy, the comfort and the occasional challenge we can find in the pages of a book.

My Thoughts:

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to any of you that a book about reading books was always going to be a winner for me. Liz Byrski’s latest novel, A Month of Sundays, proves just what I’ve believed for my whole life: that books are therapy. If you read the right book at the right time, it can change your life. And so it was for Ros, Adele, Simone and June, each at an individual crossroads, coming together to meet in person for the first time, each armed with a book that told the others something important about themselves.

“She can feel the warmth of the fire in front of her and the comforting presence of the other women, and knows she is in the right place…
…And she sees that this is where she might mend herself, where she will stitch together the seams that are strained or have already come apart.”

This is very much a novel about the joy of reading, what we draw from books, why we read, and the many ways in which it connects us to others and the world around us. I loved how each woman not only realised things about themselves while discussing their own books, but also through reading the ones put forward by the others. As their time together progressed, they realised that not only were each of them at an individual crossroads, but collectively, as a group, they needed to consider where they would go from here, as they had all grown rather fond of each other’s company. The book discussions were of course the highlight for me with this novel, but I also drew a lot from the emotional journeys each woman traversed. I loved the connectivity and parallels they made between their chosen books and their own lives. I also appreciated the dissemination of the individual responses to the books read, particularly when there was contention between these responses. It made me think of my own reading and reviewing, and the reviewers that I follow, and all the different reactions we usually have to the same books.

“Ros stares down at the book on her lap, thinking about what’s been said about liking or not liking a book. ‘I suppose that this is part of the magic of books, you can read something you don’t actually like but still be impressed or moved by it. And even something that is quite distasteful can strike some profound note within you, so you still read on. Liking or not liking is not always the most important thing about a book, is it?’”

A Month of Sundays is the perfect novel to curl up with on a winters day; just make sure you do so with a big cup of tea – the ladies are always drinking tea in this story. Liz Byrski has crafted a glorious celebration of reading to mark her tenth novel, and I assure you, it’s a story that will warm your heart.

“This is us, this is what we do. We talk about books, we make them work in our own lives: walk through the doors they open for us, cross the bridges they lay out for us, and pick and choose what we need to take away from them.”


Thanks is extended to Pan Macmillan Australia for providing me with a copy of A Month of Sundays for review.

About the Author:

Liz Byrski is the author of ten novels and a number of non-fiction books. Her work has been published in the UK, France and Germany. She has worked as a journalist and a broadcaster with ABC Radio and has been an advisor to a minister in the Western Australian Government. Liz is an Associate Professor in the School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry at Curtin University, where she is also the Senior Fellow in the China Australia Writing Centre.

A Month of Sundays
Published by Pan Macmillan Australia
Imprint – Macmillan Australia
Released 26th June 2018
Available in Paperback and eBook

12 thoughts on “New Release Book Review: A Month of Sundays by Liz Byrski

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  3. I loved the concept behind the story, of books delivering insights into our lives, opening up opportunities for us to explore, particularly with other women. It is refreshing to read a book about women older than those in the 30 to 50 years range. The characters were reasonably well drawn. The book overall was sentimental and not very dramatic. It was over written in the sense that much was overstated; the reader was told instead of being shown. I found some of the writing quite boring because of this. Also there were examples of poor editing throughout. I’ll be very interested in my own book club discussion of the book next Thursday.

    Liked by 1 person

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