Author Claire Cook
Claire Cook is a role model of mine. She’s an author who writes best selling books, but who didn’t start writing till after she was a Mom of teens. She wrote her first book in her minivan while waiting for her kiddo at early-morning swim team practice. Her book Never Too Late: Your Road Map to Reinvention helped give me the courage to start writing again, too. Then there’s her book The Wildwater Walking Club (book one now). I loved it. Loved it so much, in fact, that I contacted the publisher and did a give-away on my old blog. I’ve recommended the book far and wide. Finally, Claire is part of what is hopefully a trend of successful authors turning to self-publishing. In short, she really inspires me!
All of that to say I can’t give this book a great review. Three stars would be stretching it, I’m afraid. I hate saying that. But, honestly? It was like reading a guide to a river cruise–or listening to your aunt and uncle at dinner the night they got back from their cruise.
Noreen, Tess and Rosie are neighbors at that awkward age–of being ready for a change now that kids–or the chance of having them–is over and their parents are either dead or not yet impaired enough to need constant care. So, their solution? Take a river cruise in France. Ideas for the art teacher with a grant (Tess), for the lavender farm owner (Rosie) and for the career changer (Noreen) are bound to come up on a cruise! The premise is really good, but….
The Parts I Liked
I liked that Noreen was moving on after her buy-out and I especially loved that her boyfriend, Rick, was struggling because it was an accurate description of what happens to so many people after a buy-out, an early retirement or even after being fired. I liked the fixation he developed with Pokeman Go! –like someone who becomes too invested in watching all X-seasons of a show rather than getting up trying again for a new job. That was good. But…..
I loved Noreen starting her Health Counseling Coach training with a real mix of believable emotions. But…..
In addition to the cruise catalog stuff, the same three ladies who were fun and real in the first book were, well,…..blah this time around. Not bad, just not the bubbly, fun group they were in book one. In the first outing, these were ladies anyone would enjoy having as friends and neighbors, but now they just didn’t have an spark. This was hard because I really liked them in book one.
Then there was Joy. Joy was just a bad idea. Joy should have been cut. That whole story line was too childish for words. Joy alone took an entire star away from the book’s rating.
Finally if I’d heard the phrase “How should/could/would that look” one more time I’d have thrown the Kindle across the room. UGH. Even a rank beginner of a counselor should have more than one phrase like that.
Because I admire Claire Cook I’m giving it 3 stars. In my rating system that means not a bad book, just an average one. Every one has off days and if you write long enough you have an off book. I’m hoping this is the “off” book and that the series perks up and finds its old vitality in book three.