Book Groups at the CAE have a long and distinguished history, cultivating community groups and delivering books since 1947. It’s that time of the year when groups sit down with Dialogue and select preferences for next year. It’s also a time for celebration and often a casual get-together before groups disperse for holidays and recommence in the New Year.  

Carol Moylan is the current secretary for Batemans Bay Book Group, with her predecessor holding the position for over a decade. The group has been active since the 1990s. They agree that their love of stories, authors and discussion is what keeps them coming back. Carol explained she originally found her group in the local newspaper, and all of the members come from diverse backgrounds. This forms a rich tapestry of life experiences and perspectives that fuel endless discussion during each meeting. 

In fact, using the CAE questions and notes alongside their own experiences is the best way to make for a lively discussion. When asked, the group had difficulty choosing their favourite novels for 2022. They agreed the most enriching ones posed difficult questions, fuelled interesting discussion and broadened their knowledge.   

These four novels stood out for the group: 

Friends, Lovers, Chocolate by Alexander McCall Smith [B2051]  

The second novel in the Sunday Philosophy Club series. Isabel Dalhousie is an Edinburgh philosopher, and when her niece Cat decides to take a holiday, Isabel agrees to help out at her delicatessen. One of her customers has recently had a heart transplant and is being haunted by memories he feels are not his own. Isabel soon finds herself following another risky investigation. 

Batemans Bay group believe this book posed serious questions around ethics and philosophy plus found the authors own story interesting. They thoroughly enjoy learning about authors with unusual or varied backgrounds like their own.  


Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells [B1682] 

When an utterly original mother-daughter team get into a savage fight over a New York Times article that refers to the mother as a ‘tap dancing child abuser,’ the fall out is felt from Louisiana to New York to Seattle. But Vivi’s intrepid gang of life-long girlfriends, the Ya Yas, unforgettable Southern belles, sashay in and conspire to bring everyone back together 

The group was surprised by how inspiring this read was and how many laughs it provided. They loved how important sisterhood was throughout the novel, and reflected on their own friendships and the importance of solidarity among women.  


The Godmother by Hannelore Cayre [B2320] 

Widow Patience Portefeux is an underpaid translator. When she interprets some wiretaps ahead of the authorities, she decides to intervene and becomes embroiled in the drug trade. An offbeat and sly crime novel with a hint of French noir. 

In this novel the protagonist is nearing retirementmembers of the Book Group found common ground with the character and could relate to many of the difficulties she was facing. Ultimately it was an entertaining read and invited much conversation about what it would be like to ‘break bad’.  

The Godmother (online)

Lilian’s Story by Kate Grenville [B0819] 

The exuberant but painful story of a child born in Sydney in 1901, who bursts beyond constraining stereotypes to make herself as large and unique as her own sense of life. Lilian will stay with you long after you finish this moving, exceptional and unique novel. A must-read for any Grenville fan.  

The discussion group really enjoyed Grenville’s storytelling style, in addition this novel is the prequel to the novel Dark Places by the same author. Which gave the group an opportunity for further reading and immersion in the story.