SEVEN YEAR SWITCH
BY CLAIRE COOK
Just when Jill Murray’s finally figured out how to manage on her own, her ex-husband proves that he can’t even run away reliably. After seven long years missing in action, he’s back—crashing into the man-free existence Jill and her ten-year-old daughter have built so carefully. And what’s a good mother to do? To a child, even a deadbeat dad is better than no dad at all.
Jill’s life just hasn’t turned out quite the way she planned. By now, she’d hoped to be jetting around the world as a high-end cultural coach. Instead, she’s answering phones for a local travel agency and teaching cooking classes at the community center.
Enter free-spirited entrepreneur Billy, who hires Jill as a consultant for an upcoming business trip. Is their relationship veering off in a new direction? And what about her ex? Jill couldn’t possibly still have feelings for him … could she? Suddenly, her no-boys-allowed life is anything but.
They say that every seven years you become a completely new person, but Jill isn’t sure she’s ready for the big change. It takes a Costa Rican getaway to help her make a choice—not so much between the two men in her life, but between the woman she is and the one she wants to be.
Claire Cook wrote her first book in her minivan while waiting for her daughter to finish with swim practice; she is now the bestselling author of seven novels. She teaches reinvention and writing workshops, and shares tips for both on her website, ClaireCook.com. She lives in Scituate, Massachusetts, with her husband. You can Friend Claire at http://facebook.com/ClaireCookbooks and Follow her at http://twitter.com/ClaireCookbooks.
Claire Cook never fails to come through. Since my first book review, which was for Claire’s book SUMMER BLOWOUT, she has never let me down when I pick up a new book of hers to read. She has a way of making even the toughest things in life bearable and her talented writing draws readers in through her marvelous stories, clever dialogue, and her captivating characters. In SEVEN YEAR SWITCH, readers meet Jill Murray who is one of those characters I just mentioned who captured my interest right off and had me rooting for her all the way. I found Jill to be a witty, bright, compelling and caring mother and an independent woman who didn’t deserve the agony she felt when suddenly her ex-husband pops back into her and her daughter Anastasia’s lives. Although Anastasia is delighted to have her father there, Jill is dubious of his motives and commitment.
The idea from the title that every seven years our body’s skin rejuvenates thus making us into a “new” person, goes right along with the book’s concept of personal change and growth being a positive thing in our lives. Cook surrounds Jill with intriguing characters that move the story along and fit into that principal premise of the book that was based on transformation and progression. With Jill’s neighbor, Cynthia, being almost the opposite of Jill in most ways, she provided a strong character for Jill to play off of. She was entertaining and feisty, and quite a welcome addition in the story.
Of course, there was suddenly these men surrounding Jill, quite a change from the start of the story…a feast or famine situation. Besides her ex, Seth, there is the caring and amusing Billy who is a client of Jill’s and who is hard to resist. How Jill handles all of this is to take off on her own for a gal pal trip to Costa Rica and hope to find what she is looking for there…or at least some peace for her to be able to think and relax.
How Jill deals with everything and everyone is trademark Claire Cook as she takes a serious subject and deals with it gently, with warmth and fun, and creates an answer that educates, amuses, and involves the reader. The story of SEVEN YEAR SWITCH will entertain you while it also will endear itself to you as well. If like me, you start the book early enough, you will at least get a good night’s sleep as I read it in one sitting and was happy I hadn’t started it late in the day because I couldn’t put it down. Another delightful gift, and perfect for the summer read, but wouldn’t be bad by a cozy fire in winter as well, is SEVEN YEAR SWITCH from a favorite author, Claire Cook!
BONUS BOOK GIVEAWAY:
BY CLAIRE COOK
After losing her boyfriend and her job in one fell swoop, Noreen finds it hard to know what the next step is—never mind take it. For the first time in a great many years, Noreen has time to herself. So she puts on a new pair of sneakers and a seriously outdated pair of exercise pants, and walks.
It isn’t long before she’s joined by neighbors Tess and Rosie, two women as lost as she is. As the Wildwater women walk and talk, and talk and walk, they tally their steps, share their secrets, and begin putting their lives back together. And along the way, they learn what women everywhere are finding out—time flies, and getting fit is actually fun when you’re walking with friends.MY REVIEW:
When I read what Anisha Lakhani, who wrote SCHOOLED, wrote about this Claire Cook 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. I am thrilled to again present my review of Claire Cook’s book, THE WILDWATER WALKING CLUB that is now out in paperback. So watch out Ya-Ya Sisters, Wives’ Clubbers, and Sweet Potato Queens because the WALKERS have arrived! Claire Cook’s 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, 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”!
THANKS TO CLAIRE AND THE GOOD
PEOPLE AT VOICE, I HAVE 2 SETS OF
THESE TWO CLAIRE COOK BOOKS
FOR TWO LUCKY WINNERS!
+1 ENTRY: COMMENT ON SOMETHING YOU FOUND INTERESTING ABOUT THE INFORMATION AND REVIEW FOR SEVEN YEAR SWITCH THAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU WANT TO WIN AND READ THIS BOOK
+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON WHICH OF THE TWO BOOKS YOU THINK YOU WOULD READ FIRST AS PERHAPS IT INTERESTED YOU MORE OR FOR SOME OTHER REASON
+1 MORE ENTRY: BLOG OR TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND THEN COME BACK AND LEAVE A LINK
+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON ONE OTHER CURRENT GIVEAWAY YOU HAVE ENTERED. FOR EACH GIVEAWAY YOU ENTER, COMMENT SEPARATELY AND EACH WILL COUNT AS ANOTHER ENTRY