The Wildwater Walking Club by Claire Cook steps into the life of Noreen Kelly right after she has made the life altering decision to take a buy-out from her company. She soon finds that her job is not the only thing she must learn to live without when her boyfriend stops answering and returning her phone calls. Without any direction or notion of what she should do with her life, Noreen puts on a pair of new walking shoes and takes the first step of the rest of her life. She meets two of her neighbors, Tess and Rosie, who feel equally lost in some aspect of their lives and join her in her daily walks down their street, Wildwater Way.
The threesome’s daily walks turn into group therapy sessions, debates about local issues and most importantly, a way to rack up steps on their pedometers. Cook has a knack for creating relatable characters and authentic friendships. The dialogue between the three friends is very believable and often includes the quarrels and tension that real friends experience.
Though the Wildwater Way women are in their forties, the message of taking the time to find yourself is one to which every generation can relate. The book will likely inspire the reader in some way or another, whether it be deciding to dust off your walking shoes and hit the pavement, finding the courage to leave a job that no longer makes you happy or simply recognizing that you have been living for others and ignoring your passions and desired pursuits.
Cook is the author of seven fiction novels, including Seven Year Switch, Summer Blowout and Must Love Dogs, which was made into a romantic comedy film in 2005. The Wildwater Walking Club has a slightly autobiographical tone, as Cook once wrote advertising copy for a shoe company, as Noreen did. Cook’s first novel was published when she was forty-five and she encourages women and men in their midlife who may have “buried their dreams” to “dust them off and go for it.” To learn more about her, visit www.clairecook.com.
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