We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
Fair and Tender Ladies Audiobook

Fair and Tender Ladies

Regular Price:$31.47
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

Author of many novels and short stories, best-selling writer Lee Smith has received numerous awards for her works, including two O. Henry Awards. Fair and Tender Ladies is an epistolary novel that traces the life of Ivy Rowe, born in the isolated Virginia mountain community of Sugar Fork.

Twelve-year-old Ivy writes her first letter to a Dutch pen pal, who never replies. She also writes many more to her sister Sylvaney, who is mentally disabled and illiterate. Gaining more from writing than receiving any replies, Ivy continues a colorful stream of letters during her long life. Through births and deaths, marriages and funerals, the decades of Ivy's life are captured in a rich dialect that carries the sounds and sights of the Appalachians in each syllable.

Lee Smith's genius lies in her ability to create the landscape of a character's mind with economy and grace. Perfectly complementing Smith's talent, narrator Kate Forbes provides a unique voice for Ivy.

©1988 Lee Smith; (P)2004 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

"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 has produced her best work here, creating a fully rounded heroine and other vivid characters who inhabit Virginia's Appalachia region....In the old tradition of oral storytelling, Smith has fashioned a dramatic, magical, poignantly true-to-life tale." (Publishers Weekly)
"Ivy writes with a verve and immediacy which prove that her creator, Lee Smith, is a storyteller supreme." (School Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (301 )
5 star
 (172)
4 star
 (74)
3 star
 (36)
2 star
 (14)
1 star
 (5)
Overall
4.3 (176 )
5 star
 (101)
4 star
 (46)
3 star
 (18)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (3)
Story
4.5 (176 )
5 star
 (121)
4 star
 (29)
3 star
 (17)
2 star
 (6)
1 star
 (3)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Kelly Colorado Springs 10-25-16
    Kelly Colorado Springs 10-25-16

    Reading allows me to travel through time; to visit the world's unique and stunning places. To become somebody I am not... It is glorious.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    394
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    379
    376
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    12
    10
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I fell in love with Ivy Rowe! TY Smith + Forbes!"

    This is a GEM of a book which I am so grateful to have listened to rather than read on pages of paper, because Kate Forbes so beautifully narrated the accents and phrases popular in Appalachia. I know very little about the region, but when my nephew married a girl from West Virginia this summer I was the guest at the sweetest and most fun wedding I have ever attended. It was filled with music, humor and fun. I fell in love with his new family and I think I have decided that part of their loveliness comes from their home state. All of this led me to pick up a book that I probably would have never bought otherwise and I am so glad that it did. I am hoping that some of them will listen so that they can share with me their thoughts.

    The story of Ivy Rowe is told through her letters to friends and family over the course of her life from the late 1800s until the mid 1900s. We meet the people she loves and we see the places she knows. It is a story that unfolds quietly and lyrically. It encompasses many, many characters -- all people that Ivy loves -- and not once did I ever confuse one character with another. Both world wars and the Great Depression are part of the history visited in the story. The mining industry plays a part too. And still, the story isn't about any of that. It is about LOVE -- and Ivy is a fierce, strong, stubborn, uneducated, funny, loyal girl/woman who enchanted me with her zest for life and taciturn acceptance of the difficult moments.

    The story is about love. Ivy loves well. And I love Ivy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Smiroldo Corrales, NM 10-14-15
    Mary Smiroldo Corrales, NM 10-14-15 Member Since 2014

    kiddoc

    HELPFUL VOTES
    79
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    51
    32
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    5
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Transported me home!"

    Kate Forbes is wonderful! I was born and raised in Virginia, and Ms. Forbes made me feel like I was home again. The characters came alive for me as I listened to Ivy, and was introduced to her family and friends. So descriptive and revealing about life during the the years pre and post WW2. I highly recommend this book for those who want a "down home" look at the world.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharron Robinvale, Australia 02-14-13
    Sharron Robinvale, Australia 02-14-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    46
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    162
    56
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    7
    14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Entertaining"

    Ivy is an inspiration to all women. Her letters describe growing up poor in an isolated rural area without feeling sorry for herself. Just the opposite! Her observations of the countryside and people around her are delightful.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolyn Friendsville, PA, United States 07-07-12
    Carolyn Friendsville, PA, United States 07-07-12 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    211
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    73
    52
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    11
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beautiful yes, tough as an old shoe"

    Tough, had to be. You were strong or you died either in soul or body. The beauty of so many of these mountain people was inside and out. I feel this to be a complete picture of the women and men of the Appalachins lost in the photographs that often make them appear to be worn out and down. The book is a jewel and I hated to have it end. Ivy Rowe had the intelligence and spunk needed to make her life worth while. Lee Smith,
    Kate Forbes, you made Ivy live for me. In so many ways I was reminded of a favorite Nova Scotia heroine of my youth. If you liked Anne of Green Gables, I believe you will also fall in love with Ivy of Virginia.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    "unknown" Chalk Hill, PA, United States 09-27-11
    "unknown" Chalk Hill, PA, United States 09-27-11 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Completely entertaining"

    What an enjoyable story about a woman in Appalachia, full of adventure and pluck and strength. Kate Forbes was wonderful as the voice of Ivy in her letters.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice Glendale, CA, United States 09-21-11
    Janice Glendale, CA, United States 09-21-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "These are people you'll enjoy knowing"

    I loved this book, a fictional account of a woman's life in rural Virginia. The performer narrating the book did such a wonderful job -- she brought Ivy Rowe to life and I loved how her voice changed as the years passed and the character grew older. Very nuanced. I also really enjoyed that the entire book was told in letter form and I think that format is served especially well by being narrated.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E Fitzgerald Marysville, CA, United States 09-13-11
    E Fitzgerald Marysville, CA, United States 09-13-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fabulous Book"

    I absolutely was absorbed into the letters and didn't want this to end. Excellent narrator, I highly recommend this book!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruth Lambert New Haven, Connecticut 09-07-11
    Ruth Lambert New Haven, Connecticut 09-07-11 Member Since 2007

    Editor for over 25 years, for 35 books in the R.E. appraisal area & CEO of my own small biz. Got my MFA in creative writing at age 67. :D

    HELPFUL VOTES
    61
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    60
    33
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Outstanding piece of nostalgia for a by-gone time"

    This beautifully written, gorgeously read book is set in the early 1900s in the Appalachian mountains of Virginia. It is a one-sided narrative, the letters of the main character Ivy, who is a precocious 12 year old when the book begins, and an elderly lady in her 80s as it ends. What a treat this book was! Like many other readers, I was sorry to bid Ivy goodbye, and grateful for being able to spend so many happy hours in her company.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sally H. 07-18-11
    Sally H. 07-18-11 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Unforgetable!"

    This was not my first Lee Smith novel, but by far my most favorite. Ms. Forbes is a tremendously talented narrator who not only makes Ivy Rowe come alive, but also become a cherished friend. This is a book you won't want to end, but in the end, will be embedded in your memory forever.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mildred 06-20-09
    Mildred 06-20-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    36
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Wonderful sweeping story"

    Great characters and an interesting story in this life of this extraordinary woman. Enjoyed the reader.. the accent was charming. My first Lee Smith book.. and I'll look for others. She's got the Southern thang just right.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.