THE WILDWATER WALKING CLUB
by Claire Cook
Review and Giveaway
My Review of this book is very special to me. Claire Cook's SUMMER BLOWOUT that I reviewed here earlier, was my first review. It has just recently been released in paperback. I am thrilled to be reviewing Claire's newest, and I have to say, I think, her best book yet. You may know Claire Cook's work from some of her other books like LIFE'S A BEACH or MUST LOVE DOGS. If so, you will be as excited to read this book as I was. In my review, I will give you just a hint at what a fun and special book this is. Don't forget to visit ClaireCook.com for all kinds of great walking tips and info about her other books as well. And now, my review of
by Claire Cook
When I read what Anisha Lakhani, who wrote SCHOOLED, wrote about Claire Cook’s new book, I was thrilled! She said, “ THE WILDWATER WALKING CLUB reminds of us what’s important in life—the joy of friendship, the power of a brisk walk, and of course the importance of a good book. This exhilarating novel made me want to call my friends and lace up my shoe. I couldn’t put it down.”I loved SCHOOLED and Claire Cook’s other books so that was good enough for me!
Claire Cook’s delightful novel, SUMMER BLOWOUT, was the first book I reviewed when I began reviewing books. I had picked up SUMMER BLOWOUT, having loved MUST LOVE DOGS that Claire wrote, and was not disappointed. As you can see in my review of SUMMER BLOWOUT that I posted a few days ago, prior to its release in paperback this month, I loved that book as well. Therefore, I am thrilled to be reviewing Claire Cook’s newest book, THE WILDWATER WALKING CLUB that comes out in two days on May 5. So watch out Ya-Ya Sisters, Wives’ Clubbers, and Sweet Potato Queens because the WALKERS have arrived! Claire Cook’s new book THE WILDWATER WALKING CLUB and the walkers are taking over!
In THE WILDWATER WALKING CLUB, Claire Cook gives us three wonderful women who are neighbors on Wildwater Way and at first don’t even know each other. It all starts when Noreen Kelly’s “boyfriend” convinces her to take a buyout from her corporate position in a shoe company, and she thinks she has made the best choice. However, she soon realizes that her love wasn’t just working for the other company but was working her, and the boyfriend and the company BOTH dump Noreen. In a fit of frustration and shock, she uses her actually void company ID and buys up every shoe in her size at the corporate shop for 50% off. With that, Noreen takes her shoes and heads home to Wildwater Way to try and figure out what is left of her life.
Sure that her life is over, Noreen sees nothing around her but what she is missing. Not until she makes friends with Tess, her next-door neighbor, does Noreen start to realize that maybe her life isn’t over after all. Tess, the schoolteacher who is off for the summer, dealing with a college-bound daughter who isn’t speaking to her mom, and Noreen start walking together and they start to talk to each other about life. A third member living on Wildwater Way comes to the group as they meet Rosie. Rosie knows she was doing the right thing moving into her parents’ home after her mom died, bringing her family with her, and taking over the lavender farm on her parents’ property, but it isn’t what she had hoped for. In her friendship with Noreen and Rosie, she literally is able to walk into a different life.
The three women begin to walk their way into a friendship that will turn out to be more than they ever expected. They walk and talk and even start to keep track of their steps using pedometers that Noreen also picked up at the “last shoe buy” she made. Sharing some of the shoes she bought with Tess and Rosie is not the only thing that Noreen begins to share with these women. Their steps go from being more than just exercise as they take to new directions in walking and in life. Noreen attends a career coaching group for unemployed people in her company and sees things through others eyes. She begins to build a better relationship with her own mother thanks to her friendship with Tess and watching Tess’s relationship with her daughter. Hanging a clothesline becomes a political issue only found in real life in real writing like Claire Cook’s. The walkers take a road trip to Seattle for a festival about lavender and along with all this there are the twists and turns, romances and families, characters and settings that make for a great read that only someone like Claire Cook can come up with. This might be called a ‘good beach read’ but believe me, you will not want to be sitting in a chair after reading this!
The story is a fast and fun read, but also a learning experience. From this book have grown, and will continue to grow, groups of walkers who will see the value in what these women did and how it changed their lives. How Claire Cook could have known that this book would hit home with so many of us in these economically changing times is anyone’s guess. I think that people who read this book will all take away something from it. For most it will definitely be a really good read but for others is will be even more. It may be another way of looking at our neighbors, or like me, it may be a realization that walking is more than just exercise. When everyone can get their hands on THE WILDWATER WALKING CLUB on May 5th, we may find our streets are more crowded with walkers than ever before…at least there will be happier and more satisfied walkers, that’s for sure! This is a book that celebrates friendship and teaches us what Claire Cook intended and that is if you are going to walk the walk, then go ahead and take that first step to talk the talk and make the changes in your life that you can and need to do. As it says on Claire’s website “Just put one foot in front of the other”!
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