OK, I am clearly NOT going to finish by 9pm so I will post then sign off as I don't want to spoil the story to come!
I think it's beautifully written so far and I love how each of the women's stories is written in a different style to reflect their different voices. I think it's a bit of a fantasy as no-one so far seems to wish the women any ill and most seem very empathetic with them.
I really like how, although the friends have all taken different paths in life, there's no value judgement of e.g. Mary who wants to go back to her life as a homemaker vs, say, Chris who is much more career driven - just a lot of support and love between the women themselves.
i really enjoyed it - it captured that hunger that women have for friendship and deep communication and how it can be lost because women's lives tend to isolate them from one another. it covered the 'big' things that effect women - pregnancy, abortion, rape, losing children, etc etc.
i think that was the main thing for me - the isolation of their lives and the power that coming together and sharing had for healing.
it is very much a fantasy i think in that it has a kind of eutopicness (made up word) which is telling given there's nothing so outlandish about the story - just women having time and space together. think that goes to show how bizarrely rare that phenomena is that it reads like a fantasy
SGM, I agree a bit about the epilogue - I didn't mind so much knowing what had happened to the characters but the pace didn't really go with the rest of the book which had let stories unfold over time. So I think it would have been better without it or with another couple of chapters devoted to 'the return'.
sAf for me, I meant the fantasy was that both families and strangers seemed so supportive of the walk (that was before I had got to the letters part of which a couple were vitriolic) but I think you are right also that having that time and space in today's world is quite a fantasy! Especially without three months of meticulous wifework-style trip planning first!
The story about the teas was just lovely. I wonder if it's a real tea (could Google but don't really want to know either way, I think!)