It is August 1963 and tongues are wagging about Elizabeth Taylor’s on-screen role as Cleopatra – the most desirable woman in the world – and her scandalous off-screen affair with Richard Burton. Ideas about identity, marriage and sex are all changing rapidly for the women and girls of Kalyna Beach, a Ukrainian vacation community in Canada. The events of one summer in this small world of immigrants mirrors the seismic social shifts of the sixties that are about to explode the domestic habits of the 1950s and dramatically alter the nature of relationships between husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, and the girls’ and women’s own complex relationships with one another.
Like Burton and Taylor’s unseemly public affair, one long-simmering passion within the holiday community will finally erupt, calling into question long-held social patterns and changing the destiny of the families of Kalyna Beach.
Winner of the 2008 Kobzar Literary Award
A Chatelaine Best Beach Read
“[The Ladies’ Lending Library] satisfies in the way the best sort of summer reading does—like wild strawberries, or blueberries gathered in the sun, or cold spring water gulped on a hot day.”
—Quill & Quire
“The Ladies’ Lending Library is as advertised, ‘a story for anyone who has longed for the sweet and heady days of bygone summers and the risky promises of change,’ but it’s also deeper, more vital.” —The Globe and Mail
“Kulyk Keefer’s narrative has historical and generational sweep... A masterful rendering of a group of women in crisis.” —National Post
“An intense period portrait ... well-crafted and thoughtful.” —Good Book Guide (UK)
Length: 286 pp
Setting: rural Canada
Canadian rights, HarperCollins Canada
UK rights, Atlantic UK
US rights, HarperCollins
For all other rights contact The Cooke Agency.
|| Janice Kulyk Keefer is a recipient of the Marian Engel Award and a two-time winner of the CBC Radio Literary Competition and the National Magazine Award and has been shortlisted for Canada’s Governor General’s Award twice. She has been widely praised for her novels, short story collections, poetry and non-fiction.