Book Reviews of Fair and Tender Ladies

Fair and Tender Ladies
Fair and Tender Ladies
Author: Lee Smith
ISBN-13: 9780345362087
ISBN-10: 034536208X
Publication Date: 8/13/1989
Pages: 336
Rating:
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 48

3.8 stars, based on 48 ratings
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

22 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Fair and Tender Ladies on
Helpful Score: 7
Being in letter form, I didn't think that I would enjoy this book. I was wrong. It is a very sweet and touching book. I fell in love with Ivy and her family and hated for the book to end. Definitely will be reading more Lee Smith.
reviewed Fair and Tender Ladies on + 39 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Readers will be thoroughly captivated by Ivy Rowe, the narrator of this epistolary novel, and will come to the end of her story with a pang of regret. Smith ( Oral History , Family Linen ) has produced her best work here, creating a fully rounded heroine and other vivid characters who inhabit Virginia's Appalachia region. The letters begin around the turn of the century when Ivy is a child living with eight siblings on the family farm on Blue Star Mountain. Written with quaint misspellings and in the vernacular of Southern speech, the missives reflect the harsh poverty of farm life, as well as the simple beauties of the land: "This is the taste of spring," her father tells Ivy, and she never forgets it, even when the family must move to the boom town of Majestic after her father's death. Ivy's talent as a budding writer is recognized early on, but just as she is about to realize her dream of going North to school, she is betrayed by her passionate nature. Though pregnant and "ruint," she marries a childhood friend who takes her back to the family homestead, where she bears several children and endures the endless toil of a farmer's wife. Just when life seems drearily predictable, she succumbs in middle age to an irresistible passion that brings tragic consequences. Ivy is a woman of bewitching appeal and endearing faults: bright, with a poet's eye and soul; spunky, impetuous, sensual and proud. Following her heroine over seven decades, Smith conveys the changing conditions of life in Appalachia, during which time, as Ivy laments, "everybody has took everything out of herefirst the trees, then the coal, then the children." In the old tradition of oral storytelling, Smith has fashioned a dramatic, magical, poignantly true-to-life tale.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
reviewed Fair and Tender Ladies on + 526 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I have just finished reading this amazing book and I am so tenderly moved. I want to grieve over losing Ivy, as her life came quietly to an end. No, her life itself wasn't quiet- it was far from it â" but I fell as though I have lost a friend. The fact that it is written in perfect Appalachian language (the book takes place within an hour of where I now live), helps make it even more authentic. This book, told entirely by letters written by Ivy Rowe, gives a true voice to the Appalachian life that exists still today. This is a wonderful book, rich and full, and I highly recommend it to anyone to read. A real piece of Americana and excellent writing. It made me laugh many times (I rarely laugh out loud while reading or listening), and I shed a tear or two as well. Lee Smith is from Grundy, VA (near my hometown), and I do hope one day to be able to meet her. She is a magnificent writer, in my opinion!
reviewed Fair and Tender Ladies on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This was one of the best books I have ever read. I live in Kentucky and the stories and songs and even "sayins'" were so familar to me. I could not put it down,whether I was laughing, sighing, or even crying...I could not put it down!! Wonderful book.
reviewed Fair and Tender Ladies on + 526 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I have just finished reading this amazing book and I am so tenderly moved. I want to grieve over losing Ivy, as her life came quietly to an end. No, her life itself wasn't quiet- it was far from it - but I feel as though I have lost a friend. The fact that it is written in perfect Appalachian language (the book takes place within an hour of where I now live), helps make it even more authentic. This book, told entirely by letters written by Ivy Rowe, gives a true voice to the Appalachian life that exists still today. This is a wonderful book, rich and full, and I highly recommend it to anyone to read. A real piece of Americana and excellent writing. It made me laugh many times (I rarely laugh out loud while reading or listening), and I shed a tear or two as well. Lee Smith is from Grundy, VA (near my hometown), and I do hope one day to be able to meet her. She is a magnificent writer, in my opinion!
reviewed Fair and Tender Ladies on
Helpful Score: 1
For a fiction book it felt real. The writer had some insights about life that made you understand the complexities of life. Ivy the main character is the book was always thinking, thinking, thinking. She thought too much I can relate to that. I don't read a lot of fiction so when I do pick up a piece of fiction it has to grab me right away or I will put it down. This book pulled me in.
reviewed Fair and Tender Ladies on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Lee Smith is a beautiful writer of southern fiction and this is a wonderful book with a glimpse into the thinking of uneducated people in Appalachia. You will love it.
reviewed Fair and Tender Ladies on + 577 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
The story of Ivy Roe, born near the turn of the century in the Virginia Mountain enclave of Sugar Fork, is told entirely throughj letters Ivy is forever writing family and friends.
A very heartwarming book.
reviewed Fair and Tender Ladies on + 38 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Story of four generations of a mountains family in Virginia. I read this to get a better understanding of what it was like for my grandparents growing up in a similar place and time. Very good book.
reviewed Fair and Tender Ladies on + 54 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Charmingly written as letters from a girl - and later woman - in Appalachia to friends and family. I got toally caught up in Ivy's life and those of the people around her. Only complaint is the title which to me seems weirdly undescriptive of the book. But a great read, nonetheless - highly recommend!
reviewed Fair and Tender Ladies on + 40 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
The story of Ivy Rowe, born near the turn of the century in the Virginia Mountain enclave of Sugar Fork, is told completely through letters that Ivy is forever writing family and friends..
Great book by a great author!
reviewed Fair and Tender Ladies on + 6 more book reviews
This book will go down as one of my all-time favorite reads. Loved it and now want to read more of Lee Smith...
reviewed Fair and Tender Ladies on + 77 more book reviews
From the back of the book--The story of Ivy Rowe, born near the turn of the century in the Virginia Mountain enclave of Sugar Fork. The story is told through letters that Ivy is writing to family and friends. The author shows her understanding and affection for the traditions of the Appalachians.
reviewed Fair and Tender Ladies on + 64 more book reviews
Novel written in the style of letters and journal entries as a young girl moves through the stages of young adult, unwed (she calls it ruined)mother, young wife and matriarch of a mountain family. The story unfolds wonderfully with well developed characters and descriptions of places that come alive. Well respected author with a great writing style.
reviewed Fair and Tender Ladies on + 39 more book reviews
Very well written, and while I liked to read the history side of this, I couldn't enjoy the morally insensitive lead character. Still, I gave this 2.5 stars for the writing!
reviewed Fair and Tender Ladies on + 22 more book reviews
This is the story of Ivy Rowe's life. She was born in the Virginia Appalachian mountains and her story is told entirely through the letters she writes to family and friends over the course of her life. She shares her thoughts about her own life as she lives it as well as giving the reader a look at life in the Appalachians from the turn of the century until her death sometime in the 70's. I did enjoy this book but had a difficult time getting into it at first.
reviewed Fair and Tender Ladies on + 26 more book reviews
A great read of ppalachia
reviewed Fair and Tender Ladies on + 8 more book reviews
Very good book. A must read.
reviewed Fair and Tender Ladies on + 74 more book reviews
Lee Smith is one of the greatest authors alive. She is able to "get inside the heads," of all of her characters. You'll love anything by Lee Smith!
reviewed Fair and Tender Ladies on + 144 more book reviews
Good down home story of Ivy who tells her life through letters. Takes a while to understand her spelling, but the atmosphere and life at the time come alive.It is like comfort food, but remember the people she names and mentioned. I liked it very much!
reviewed Fair and Tender Ladies on + 20 more book reviews
Lee Smith is fast becoming one of my favorite authors and this is my favorite of her books. Ivy Rowe is so believable, and so real to me that I completely lost myself in the story.
reviewed Fair and Tender Ladies on + 88 more book reviews
Beautiful book about Ivy's life as a mountain woman living in Virginia.