Inspiring women to learn new skills in a fun environment

Inspiring women to learn new skills in a fun environment

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Camberley WI currently has the following Book Groups that meet in members' homes:
Book Group


  • Wine, Women and What the Dickens! meets each month in the afternoon - contact Sally Simmons
  • BookWIse meets on the 4th Tuesday of each month in the evening - contact Helen Embley
  • Another book group wanted!

The first two groups are currently full. If you are interested in joining a book group, please contact us using the Contact Us form to register your interest. If we get enough members interested, we can set up a another group!

Please note sub-groups are for Camberley WI members only.

Here are reviews of some of the books we've read:


The Art of 
Racing in the Rain
Garth Stein

The Story of 
Beautiful Girl
Rachel Simon

The Passage 
Justin Cronin


Me Before You
Jojo Moyes
Sarah's Key
Tatiana de Rosnay
Call The Midwife
Jennifer Worth
Before I go to sleep
S J Watson
Tuesdays with Morrie Mitch Albom Alias Grace
Margaret Atwood
The Somnambulist
Essie Fox
The Book Thief
Markus Zusak


The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein


The Art Of Racing In The Rain is a beautifully written story from the eyes of Enzo the dog. He feels almost human and cannot wait for the day when after his death, he will return as a human. He has educated himself through television and listening carefully to his master Denny about the art of being a successful racing driver. He has learnt that racing is a metaphor: that by applying the techniques a driver would apply on the race track, one can successfully navigate the ordeals and trials one encounters in life.

Enzo tells the heartwarming story of his human family in his completely non-judgmental doggie way, sharing their tragedies and triumphs. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations as a dog, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family.

The Art of Racing in the Rain is a testament to a man's life, given by his dog. But it is also a testament to the dog, himself. Though Enzo cannot speak, he understands everything that happens around him as he bears witness to his master's problems. His enforced muteness only refines his listening ability, and allows him to understand many of life's nuances that are lost on most humans. With humour, sharp observation, and a courageous heart, Enzo guides the reader to the bittersweet yet ultimately satisfying conclusion.

It was generally thought to be an easy to read page turner and we all enjoyed the story, despite the perspective being a little far fetched!

Annie Hunt


The story of Beautiful Girl - Rachel Simon


The story is set in 1968 and is about a young woman Lynnie with disabilities and Homan, a deaf man who are both locked away in an institution. They fall in love and manage to escape and find there way to the home of a retired teacher, Martha. There we discover that Lynnie has just had a baby. That night the authorities come to the house to take the couple back to the institution, but Homan escapes and the baby is hidden in the house where Lynnie tells Martha to look after her as she is taken away.
The rest of the story is all about the struggles of the characters and how their lives develop over the ensuing 40 years. The ending seemed far too perfect, all the ends too neatly tied up.

I found this book an easy read. Overall most of us found this book a bit too perfect, but we did have a discussion about the awfulness of the institutions. It made us aware of how appalling institutions were and how the patients were left there by their families and rarely, if at all, visited. They were the forgotten people of an uncaring society, within our lifetime.
Sue Kemp


The Passage - Justin Cronin

Writing this review has taken me as long as it did for some to read the book.  If like me you happen to read on the kindle you don’t realize how long the book actually is BUT, if you happen to get a hard copy of it, your eyes will pop out and your mouth will drop open as you realize it is 1,000 pages (actually 940 but who’s counting?).

This book consists of 2 parts.  The first part is the past (similar to the time we live in today) and sets up the second part, which is the future.  It starts off with a "Discovery” in South America and then continues on in The United States.  In the beginning you will get accustom to the characters and the story line and then around the +/-300 page mark the story changes.  Don’t worry because the transition is fine between the 2 parts.   The problem for some then starts because they have come to enjoy what has been happening and don’t want the change or the lull of the book as you need to get some more brief history to understand what is happening in the next part.  Take heart though and read through because it does pick up again and hopefully will give you the desire to read on.

I’m sorry for being vague about the meat of the book but am trying to be brief for the website yet intriguing enough for you to want to read it.  I can say that it is something that could possibly happen and the clue to the whole thing is the “Discovery” found in South America.  If you should have any questions about it please ask anyone of the “WWWD’s” book group and they can either help you or lead you in the right direction.
Beth Smith




Me Before You - Jojo Moyes

In 'Me Before You' by Jo Jo Moyes, we read the story of a successful and affluent young man, named Will, who has lived life to the full prior to a devastating road accident. His life is changed irrevocably as he is left quadriplegic, yet mentally able to consider his situation. Those around him are determined that his pessimistic view about his future will change. With this in mind Will's mother employs an unlikely companion to provide a different perspective to his daily routine. Into his life comes an unconventional, yet naive young woman, named Lou, who has very little experience of life and comes from a completely different background.

The story goes on to describe their daily life together - the tremendous difficulties and setbacks faced by Will, their exploits (sometimes funny) and their quirky relationship which develops into a love story.

Most members of the group enjoyed the  book, while finding Will's plans for his future challenging and thought provoking.
Ann Norman


Sarah's Key - Tatiana de Rosnay

This month’s book, Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay is a book based on the Holocaust. As a group we found it understandably depressing but it was a revelation to most of us how complicit many French civilians were in the atrocities carried out against Jews in occupied France under the Nazi regime.

The book is a book of two stories, in one we hear the story of a young Jewish girl (Sarah) who is evicted from her home in Paris along with her parents and taken to the Velodrome d’Hiver before being deported to internment camps en route to Auschwitz. Throughout the book we experience Sarah’s torment about leaving her brother at home hidden in the family apartment.  In the other, we learn about a young American journalist, Julia, living and married in Paris, who is employed by a newspaper to investigate the stories surrounding the Vel d’Hiv on its 60th anniversary. Both stories are intertwined and linked by an apartment that we revisit several times throughout the book. The apartment is the original home of the Jewish family, the Starzynskis, and coincidentally is to become the new home of Julia and her family. Throughout the book we journey back and forth in time as we see-saw between the stories.  The book was well written and well researched with themes such as freedom, loyalty and betrayal all being explored. We were however, disappointed with what we thought was a rather ‘trite’ ending for a book that should have made a greater impact on us.
Monica O'Donoghue


Call The Midwife - Jennifer Worth


This book is based on the true story of a newly qualified midwife, Jenny, in the 1950's in the East End of London. We follow her as she begins work in a nursing convent, the different people she comes into contact with and her daily trials with the medical problems she faces working in the very deprived area of East London.



The book revolves around the job that the midwives had to contend with in the harsh living conditions of the tenements/slums and the poverty and plight of women of the time. It sensitively depicts the difficulties and joys of labor and delivery and the lives of these working class mothers, some who didn't have access to good medical care. The descriptions of the areas and the poverty are very vivid and certainly make you appreciate how things have improved.
It sounds like it's heavy going but it really isn't. If you have seen the television series, the book certainly is more descriptive and portrays the characters/areas in greater detail making it a very enjoyable read of a bygone era. Enjoy!
Sue Kemp

Before I go to sleep - S J Watson

This is the debut novel of an NHS audiologist who wrote it between shifts at London's St Thomas's Hospital.

Christine has survived what she believes was a car accident. Every time she goes to sleep her memory is lost. She begins each day in a state of confusion and panic and must relearn the circumstances of her life from scratch - who she is, who she lives with, her history.

She begins to believe that her husband Ben has kept key facts of her past hidden from her. Why has he done this and why does her journal tell her not to trust him? Who is Dr Nash and why is he so interested in helping her?

As the story unfolds the reader shares in the sense of panic that Christine experiences every day and we recognise the vital aspect our memory plays in shaping who we are and how we relate to others.

I felt compelled to finish the book to discover the truth of the story. I would recommend this debut novel - I couldn't put it down.
Helen Embley

Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom

I enjoyed reading this book. A well written, easy read - the right length for its subject matter.

I liked the contrast in the characters. Morrie had maintained his wisdom and same values throughout his life and dying days, even when he had so much to endure.

Mitch had become so swept up with his ambitions for advancement in his career that he had lost sight of those things which really matter in life. By chance he renewed his friendship with his old tutor and mentor. Gradually he took stock of his life and became the nicer for it , supporting Morrie faithfully to the end.

Perhaps an example to us all to stand still and reflect from time to time.
Ann Norman

Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood

This book is set in Canada and is based on the true story of the murder of Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery in 1843. Two of Thomas Kinnear’s servants – Grace Marks and James McDermott were convicted of the crime; McDermott was hanged whereas 16 year old Grace Marks was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The author bases her story several years after this event and adds a character of Dr Simon Jordon who is researching in to the sanity of Grace Marks – was she an accomplice in both murders, possibly even the ringleader, or was she an innocent bystander who was not involved, but got caught up in the murders – the wrong place at the wrong time. A victim of circumstance. Was she sane and knew what she was doing or was she mentally ill.

Dr Jordon visits Grace regularly while Grace retells her story – some of it aloud to the doctor, some of her thoughts for the benefit of the reader only.

I found the premise an interesting one and had high hopes for this book. I loved the way the author portrayed the character of Grace and Grace’s outlook on the detailed and often sad events happening around her throughout her life. Grace’s views often showed a lack of understanding and naivity leaving the reader filling in the gaps.

However, we all thought the book was far too long and left the reader with a feeling that the story was going nowhere. The story seemed padded out unnecessarily and soon lost its initial momentum.

Would I recommend this book? If it hadn’t been a book we chose for the book club, I don’t think I would have bothered with this book at all, however some aspects of Grace’s character were thought provoking and her character was well written. Some of our group didn’t finish the book but I am glad I made it to the end and would recommend it if you like a challenge!
Karen Loy

The Somnambulist - Essie Fox

Hello Ladies and welcome back to the book corner of the WWWDs! This month we took the time to read “Somnambulist” by Essie Fox and boy did it live up to its name. Our group did just that as we went through the motions of turning the pages to get the book read so that we could discuss it at the end of the month. The book revolves around a few years in the life of the main character of Phoebe and a few other characters that would come and go in her life during that time. It is set back in the Victorian era where scandals occur and are being covered up. Where innocence is lost and virtue lives on through those troubled times.  Where reality sets in and you sometimes just have to get on with it as we did in our reading.

Overall we found this book to be obvious (for some) and shallow for others. We wanted some “meat” to the story for more development into both the characters and scene backgrounds.  It was a read, but not one of those page turners that you just can’t put down and need to finish.  Would we recommend it?... Only if you wanted to sleep and needed something to put you to sleep in the first few sentences. Definitely not one of the books for our recommended list but we are up for anyone that would like to change our mind about it.  Our next book we will be tackling is “Alias Grace” by Margaret Atwood.

Here’s to reading!
Beth Smith


The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

This is a difficult read up until page 24! That is because the reader is immediately introduced to the narrator who is Death.  Once we discover that Death has a heart, the book is a revelation.   Carefully constructed and beautifully written, the book tells the story of Nazi Germany from the perspective of a poor German couple who feel real sympathy towards their Jewish brethren.  Hans and Rosa  Hubermann take in and foster a young girl called Liesel whose family have been eliminated because of their Communist beliefs and later risk all by taking in a young Jewish man, Max, whom they hide in their basement. Throughout the course of the book, Liesel discovers a love of reading and goes to extraordinary lengths to acquire books, often stealing them so that she can read aloud to Max.  The book is at times funny, often sad and always captivating as we see relationships between Liesel and a host of other characters develop. This book teaches us all valuable lessons about the strength of human relationships. It also teaches us about the importance of the written word and how we must never take it for granted. A book is a rare gift and one that should be cherished and shared just like a good relationship. Monica O'Donoghue




Last Updated on Sunday, 14 January 2018 20:58
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