I'm someone who believes that how much you like a book, mostly depends on what you go looking for in a book. The Reading Group is a perfect example. I went in looking for a novel about five women who tackle the problems in their lives, while having books and each other for company. And that's almost exactly what I got, though the emphasis given to the 'reading group' discussions is disappointingly low.
Elizabeth Noble is a brilliant writer and I love her style, her no-fuss way with words. It helped me enjoy a book that was a little too long. Noble is excellent with character development too. Initially, there were too many characters and the narrative shifted from one to another abruptly. But once I got used to it, it was exciting to see each of them handle their lives. I didn't always agree with what some characters said or did, but I was fascinated by them and I was rooting for a happy ending.
The book isn't typical chick-lit, if chick-lit means a lot of romance and hilarity. The book is much more emotional and refreshingly, not a 'middle-aged women whine about their lives' story. It stretches and rambles unnecessarily in parts and isn't as much about the 'reading group' as the members themselves. But I enjoyed it more than the last novel supposedly about books and book-lovers I read, which was Sue Gee's Reading In Bed.
The books selected for the reading group, that include Rebecca, The Girl With A Pearl Earring, I Capture The Castle, Heartburn, Atonement, Guppies For Tea seem to be excellent choices. There's nothing extraordinary about the plot. It's a simple but well-written story and quite a good first novel. Though several reviews I've read aren't quite positive, I enjoyed this book for what it was: a pleasant, comfortable read about female bonding, though a little too long. Elizabeth Noble is an author whose books I'm definitely looking forward to reading!