July in General Fiction brought a decent haul of 57 reviews of 42 books. Thanks to our reviewers for steady winter reading and reviewing.

The most-reviewed book was new release feel-good fiction by Sophie Green, The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle, with five reviews by regular General Fiction reviewers Helen Sibbritt, Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out, Ashleigh Meikle – The Book Muse, Cloggie Downunder and Brenda. All the reviewers responded positively to this second novel by the author of The Fairvale Ladies Book Club. This new book, set in 1982, brings together a group of women around their regular ocean swim, and explores their growing friendship and its effect on their very different lives.


Our next most-reviewed title in July was Fiona McArthur’s The Desert Midwife, reviewed by Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out, Helen Sibbritt and Brenda. Reviewers were divided on this one. Shelleyrae enjoyed the deeper issues raised by the novel, which is set in the Northern Territory, but found the romantic element unconvincing. Helen, on the other hand, says it’s a must-read.

“Oh there were tears and heart-ache and then joy, pure joy and happiness that brought a huge sigh and smile, Ms McArthur really knows how to pull a reader in with her real life characters, people that become friends…”

Brenda also gave the novel 5 stars, calling it a “wonderful read which explores the life of an outback midwife; the miracle of birth; the shattering of dreams; and strong women. It also includes Indigenous cultures; the majesty and magic of Uluru and deep friendships.”


An appealing title that jumped out at me this month was Losing the Plot, by Elizabeth Coleman. Released in April 2019, this novel was reviewed by Sharon Hill in July. This romantic comedy tells the story of a single mum who makes time in her busy life to fulfil her dream of writing a romance novel. Sharon enjoyed the book and gave it four stars.


In exciting news for General Fiction readers, Melissa Lucashenko’s Too Much Lip was awarded the Miles Franklin this month. Too Much Lip has been recorded eight times by reviewers in the challenge since its release and will hopefully now gather many more reviews. This was one of my favourite books of 2018 – here’s my review.


Happy reading (and reviewing) everyone, and a special thanks to our regular reviewers who do so much for Australian women writers!

About me: I read and write across genres with a preference for smart, accessible fiction. The Australian Women Writers Challenge has opened my eyes to a whole new range of favourite authors who’ve been hiding right in front of me. You can find out more about me and my reading and writing at www.aislinnbatstone.com