The Wildwater Walking Club

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Overview

"Lively and inspiring!"
--Hartford Courant "A great feel-good story."
--Philadelphia Examiner Just one step at a time. 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 So she puts on a new pair of sneakers and a seriously outdated pair of exercise pants, and walks.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...
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Overview

"Lively and inspiring!"
--Hartford Courant "A great feel-good story."
--Philadelphia Examiner Just one step at a time. 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 So she puts on a new pair of sneakers and a seriously outdated pair of exercise pants, and walks.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.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The lives of a suddenly jobless corporate executive, a teacher navigating a difficult relationship with her daughter and a young lavender farmer intertwine in Cook's straightforward novel. When a generous compensation package gives Noreen "Nora" Kelly-whose career defined her identity-18 months salary to forge a new path, she realizes she has little in common with her former work companions and strikes up a friendship with next-door neighbor Tess Tabares, who's struggling to connect with her college-bound daughter. The women begin taking daily walks and soon Rosemary "Rosie" Stockton, who owns her family's lavender farm, joins in. Despite their very different-yet all very prickly-personalities, the three women soon form a tight bond. With her easygoing style, Cook (Must Love Dogs) engages readers, drawing them into the daily lives of these new friends. Geographical inconsistencies-the novel is set in Massachusetts but has a distinctive Southern flair-may bother some readers but most will be satisfied with this breezy beach read.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Hartford Courant
Here the book braids its themes: a paean to walking, a primer on lavender (recipes included), a celebration of friendship, a salute to finding oneself in order to move forward, and a nudge toward living the green life. Happily, none of it gets preachy or spoils the enjoyment of Noreen's adventures.

Wearing pedometers and striving for 10,000 steps a day, the trio soon plan a trip, one that is lavender-scented and energizing. Then Noreen's mother, Lois, arrives unannounced for a visit, and the Kelly women begin opening up to each other.

Lois has made some life turns, too: She now calls herself Lo, has a drawer full of sexy lingerie and is all too happy to make the acquaintance of Rosie's widower dad. Meanwhile, testy Tess and sullen Hannah still can't make peace.

Noreen, of course, has a score to settle with Michael, and she also takes a few hesitant steps toward Rick, a fellow career-coaching client who's also redefining his life.

Cook knits it all up with a practiced hand, keeping the women's conversations, which are the delightful core of the book, bright and brassy. Their message? You need to walk the walk and talk the talk to make meaningful changes in your life.

—Carole Goldberg
Kirkus Reviews
Unremarkable sixth novel from Cook (Summer Blowout, 2008, etc.), who seems to specialize in stories of middle-aged women crossing the sandpits that are their lives. Noreen Kelly-mid-40s, single, childless, the owner of a perfectly decent house on the Massachusetts shore-has decided to take the buyout that Balancing Act Shoes is offering her. Eighteen months of salary and some career counseling sound pretty sweet, except now Noreen feels not just her job but her whole life is a little redundant. On a whim she buys a load of walking shoes with her employee discount, and soon she finds a walking partner in her neighbor Tess. Strangers until now (but for a brief conversation on the benefits of line-drying clothes), the two meander up to the big house on the hill and, with its owner Rosie, immediately organize the Wildwater Walking Club. Wearing Noreen's discounted sneakers and pedometers, they surpass 10,000 steps every morning on their beach walk as they air their grievances: teenage daughters (Tess); an overfull plate of responsibilities (Rosie); the general sense of displacement (Noreen). Life-coaching courses have helped Noreen realize that her identity has been too defined by her corporate title. She needs to get a life, and maybe a boyfriend too, in the form of Rick, a fellow traveler in the world of recent unemployment. Meanwhile, the Wildwater Walking Club decides to treat itself to a little vacation. After much bickering, its three members decide on a lavender festival in Washington. A few subplots round out the story: Noreen's mother comes for a visit and falls for Rosie's dashing widowed dad; Tess and Noreen become involved in a right-to-air-dry movement; all three women follow theprogress of a New Orleans teacher battling cancer who's struck up an e-mail acquaintance with Tess. None of this raises the fictional temperature to anything above lukewarm. Predictable and blandly cozy.
Jean Reynolds Page
"The women of The Wildwater Walking Club are a delightful trio, full of heart and determination. As they literally put one foot in front of the other, the three new friends find unlikely paths that point them toward more fulfilling lives. Their journey left me genuinely inspired (and with the curious urge to go out and buy a clothesline)."
Anisha Lakhani
"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 shoes. I couldn't put it down."
Kathleen McGonagle
"Summer Blowout is vintage Claire Cook -- this funny and clever novel about a makeup artist beginning a new life is sure to be in beach bags this summer. Cook has a knack for turning the mundane into the unique, and her characters are eclectic and original."
Peg Patten
"Book an appointment NOW for summer's hot read: Summer Blowout by Claire Cook. Bad hair day? Bella Shaughnessey's repartee is the quick fix! Ask your bookseller to pencil you in for the laughs. Walk-ins welcome!"
Jackie Blem
"Claire Cook has done it again--Summer Blowout is another great summer beach read that will make you laugh out loud darn near every page There are many giggles and makeup tips in this breezy summer read - it's too fun to miss (especially the 'combover intervention'--you just HAVE to read it)."
Jill Miner
"Claire Cook is one of our favorite authors. We love her fun, goofy, big-hearted reads filled with comfortably, familiarly, mildly-flawed characters that most often pass for family. Summer Blowout is Claire Cook's best novel yet. From My Chihuahua Bites lipstick to Italian/Irish family 'staff meetings' to a dyed-and-highlighted incognito pooch, Summer Blowout is poised to blow OFF the shelves -- with the paperback Life's a Beach sailing right behind it!!"
Review Journal
"A delightful look at how to handle middle-age gracefully, courageously and with a great sense of humor."
Philadelphia Examiner
"A great feel-good story."
Midwest Book Review
"Engaging... Readers who enjoy a celebration of friendship will want to walk the beach alongside the Wildwater trio."
Laura Lucy
"Leave it to Claire Cook to make being downsized sound like so much fun! When Noreen takes a buyout and gets dumped by her smarmy boyfriend, she finds herself with a lot of free time. So she starts walking and meeting new people, and planting a garden and installing a clothesline, and basically enjoying herself. The Wildwater Walking Club is the perfect summer read!"
From the Publisher
"Summer Blowout is vintage Claire Cook -- this funny and clever novel about a makeup artist beginning a new life is sure to be in beach bags this summer. Cook has a knack for turning the mundane into the unique, and her characters are eclectic and original."—Kathleen McGonagle, Buttonwood Books & Toys, Cohasset, MA

"Book an appointment NOW for summer's hot read: Summer Blowout by Claire Cook. Bad hair day? Bella Shaughnessey's repartee is the quick fix! Ask your bookseller to pencil you in for the laughs. Walk-ins welcome!"—Peg Patten, Front Street Book Shop

"Claire Cook has done it again--Summer Blowout is another great summer beach read that will make you laugh out loud darn near every page There are many giggles and makeup tips in this breezy summer read - it's too fun to miss (especially the 'combover intervention'--you just HAVE to read it)."—Jackie Blem, Tattered Cover Bookstore

"Claire Cook is one of our favorite authors. We love her fun, goofy, big-hearted reads filled with comfortably, familiarly, mildly-flawed characters that most often pass for family. Summer Blowout is Claire Cook's best novel yet. From My Chihuahua Bites lipstick to Italian/Irish family 'staff meetings' to a dyed-and-highlighted incognito pooch, Summer Blowout is poised to blow OFF the shelves -- with the paperback Life's a Beach sailing right behind it!!"—Jill Miner, Saturn Booksellers

"A delightful look at how to handle middle-age gracefully, courageously and with a great sense of humor."—Review Journal

"The women of The Wildwater Walking Club are a delightful trio, full of heart and determination. As they literally put one foot in front of the other, the three new friends find unlikely paths that point them toward more fulfilling lives. Their journey left me genuinely inspired (and with the curious urge to go out and buy a clothesline)."—Jean Reynolds Page, author of The Space Between Before and After

"Cozy."—Kirkus

"A great feel-good story."—Philadelphia Examiner

"Engaging... Readers who enjoy a celebration of friendship will want to walk the beach alongside the Wildwater trio."—Midwest Book Review

"Leave it to Claire Cook to make being downsized sound like so much fun! When Noreen takes a buyout and gets dumped by her smarmy boyfriend, she finds herself with a lot of free time. So she starts walking and meeting new people, and planting a garden and installing a clothesline, and basically enjoying herself. The Wildwater Walking Club is the perfect summer read!"—Laura Lucy, White Birch Books, North Conway, NH

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781410417398
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 8/5/2009
  • Edition description: Large Print
  • Pages: 359
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Claire Cook
Claire Cook is the best-selling author of the novels Summer Blowout, Life's A Beach, Must Love Dogs, Ready to Fall, and Multiple Choice. A teacher of physical fitness and creative writing, she has had previous stints as a copywriter, radio continuity director, garden designer, and dance and aerobics choreographer. She lives in Scituate, Massachusetts, often called the Irish Riviera, with her husband and two children.

Biography

Raised on Nancy Drew mysteries, Claire Cook has wanted to write ever since she was a little girl. She majored in theater and creative writing at Syracuse University and immersed herself in a number of artistic endeavors (copywriter, radio continuity director, garden designer, and dance and aerobics choreographer), yet somehow her dreams got pushed to the side for more real-life matters -- like marriage, motherhood, and a teaching career. Decades passed, then one day she found herself parked in her minivan at 5 AM, waiting for her daughter to finish swim practice. She was struck with a now-or-never impulse and began writing on the spot. By the end of the season, she had a first draft. Her first novel, Ready to Fall, was published in 2000, when Cook was 45.

Since then, this "late starter" has more than made up for lost time. She struck gold with her second book, Must Love Dogs. Published in 2002, this story of a middle-aged divorcee whose singles ad produces hilariously unexpected results was declared "funny and pitch-perfect" by the Chicago Tribune and "a hoot" by the Boston Globe. (The novel got a second life in 2005 with the release of the feature film starring Diane Lane and John Cusack.) Cook's subsequent novels, with their wry, witty take on the lives of middle-aged women, have become bestsellers and book club favorites.

Upbeat, gregarious, and grateful for her success, Cook is an inspiration for aspiring writers and women in midlife transition. She tours indefatigably for her novels and genuinely enjoys speaking with fans. She also conducts frequent writing workshops, where she dispenses advice and encouragement in equal measure. "I'm extraordinarily lucky to spend my time doing what I love," she has said on countless occasions. " The workshops are a way to say thank you and open doors that I stumbled through to make it easier for writers coming up behind me.''

Good To Know

In our interview, Cook shared some fun and fascinating anecdotes with us:

"I first knew I was a writer when I was three. My mother entered me in a contest to name the Fizzies whale, and I won in my age group. It's quite possible that mine was the only entry in my age group since "Cutie Fizz" was enough to win my family a six-month supply of Fizzies tablets (root beer was the best flavor) and half a dozen turquoise plastic mugs with removable handles. At six I had my first story on the "Little People's Page" in the Sunday paper (about Hot Dog, the family Dachshund) and at sixteen, I had my first front page feature in the local weekly."

"In the acknowledgments of Multiple Choice I say that even though it's probably undignified to admit it, I'm having a blast as a novelist. To clarify that, having a blast as a novelist does not necessarily mean having a blast with the actual writing. The people part -- meeting readers and booksellers and librarians and the media -- is very social and I'm having lots of fun with that. The writing part is great, too, once you get past the procrastination, the self-doubt, and the feelings of utter despair. It's all of the stuff surrounding the writing that's hard; once you find your zone, your place of flow, or whatever it is we're currently calling it, and lose yourself in the writing, it really is quite wonderful. I've heard writers say it's better than sex, though I'm not sure I'd go that far."

"I love books that don't wrap everything up too neatly at the end, and I think it's a big compliment to hear that a reader is left wanting more. After each novel, I hear from many readers asking for a sequel -- they say they just have to find out what will happen to these people next. I think it's wonderful that the characters have come to life for them. But, for now, I think I'll grow more as a writer by trying to create another group of quirky characters. Maybe a few books down the road, I'll feel ready to return to some of them -- who knows?"

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    1. Hometown:
      Scituate, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 14, 1955
    2. Place of Birth:
      Alexandria, Virginia
    1. Education:
      B.A., Film and Creative Writing, Syracuse University
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 40 )
Rating Distribution

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(12)

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(16)

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(9)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 29, 2010

    Great Read

    Claire Cook captures everyday life and spins it into a story. She's witty, and just plain good. The Wildwater Walking Club is a scream. If you want a fun read, grab any one of Claire's books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    eh, it's ok.

    They walk, and walk, and walk. Did not really keep me interested. It's pretty slow.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Get your Lavender Candle lit and sit back with this book

    I admit i saw this book at BNN Signed by the author and picked it up for that reason , read the outline and bought it. I have to admit i didnt know i was going to like it as much as i did. Along with little ideas for Lavender use thrown in here and there. Very cute book, but one question to Ms. Cook, if you make this in to a movie like you have before with past books can i be in it, any role will do, LOL. Anyhow i could relate as i became unemployeed, live in MA, Love Lavender and on a health kick and who doesnt love a romance, i know i sure do!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2009

    I enjoyed this book!

    I had just finished reading another book by this author and decided I would read this one. I like stories about women and their relationships with each other. I enjoyed how the women meet and begin walking together, especially that early on they set a goal for themselves for walking a certain distance. It is probaBly a good book to read on vacation.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2009

    A Great Story

    I really enjoyed this book about the importance of friendships that are an integral part of our lives. The subject of the job layoff of the main character was timely in this economy. Many people are trying to reframe their priorities and their identities with the loss of their jobs. This book showed that people can come out of this situation in a positive manner, but they must be willing to "step outside of the box!"

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 6, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Fun, Humor, Reinvent!

    I just love Claire Cook as between reading my serious novels, I like to catch up with some of the books I have missed by Claire. This was an enjoyable read, and as usual it is about reinventing yourself with lots of laughs along the way.

    Nora works for an athletic shoe company and it has been bought out. She makes a deal with money and perks to quit which is difficult considering she was a workaholic. She of course, meets the neighbors Rosie and Tess who work from home, and they form the Wildwater Walking Club. They are a support team for one another and band together to solve the problems of the neighborhood community, while building special friendships. During this time Noreen reflects on her life to begin over and start a new path.

    Makes you want to get up and start walking --get rejuvenated! As always, with Claire’s books – lots of fun banter, wit, humor, and sass along the way. (Nice front cover)!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    To much about walking lost interest very quickly.

    To much about walking lost interest very quickly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2012

    Loved

    A great read

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  • Posted July 17, 2012

    I guess I connected because I have a walking club of sorts. Not

    I guess I connected because I have a walking club of sorts. Not super deep but a nice summer read.

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  • Posted May 20, 2012

    great read!

    Loved the different personalities, and the story was enjoyable

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  • Posted December 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great Gal Pal or Book Club Read!

    Having read several Claire Cook novels, this is one of my favorites. Maybe I'm a little biased because I love long walks on the beach and growing lavender. I love the characters and how they develop.

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  • Posted December 9, 2010

    Love this book!

    I read this book and handed it down to friends (before I got my nook), and we all loved this book. It's an easy read and makes you sooo happy inside. You will hate for it to end!

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  • Posted July 4, 2009

    Not a disppointing read for those who like Claire Cook's books.

    An entertaining read with the typical Cook ending. Very enjoyable and great for summer/beach reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2009

    Recommended to anyone in search of a new path in her life

    A truly inspiring book!

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  • Posted May 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Wild About THE WILDWATER WALKING CLUB REVIEW by Karen Haney

    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 Noreen is dumped by the boyfriend and the company. 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 school teacher 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 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.Submitted by Karen Haney, AKA Kanellio

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  • Posted April 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The WILDWATER WALKING CLUB is an engaging look at the importance of friendship

    In Massachusetts, Balancing Act Shoes is downsizing and decides that fortyish Noreen Kelly is redundant. They offer her eighteen months of salary and career counseling, which she accepts. On her first day of work freedom, Noreen tries to call and email her lover Michael, whose company conducted the reduction at her firm, but he fails to answer her; she knows silence denotes she has been dumped. She finds daytime TV boring so she goes to her former place of work and using her employee discount for no reason she can fathom buys enough walking shoes to fill Imelda Marcos' closet.---------------

    Noreen begins walking and soon meets her neighbor Tess the teacher who is lonely as her teenage daughter is not speaking to her. They begin walking together and meet Rosie, who owns the big house at the top of the hill. She joins them as they form the Wildwater Walking Club with over 10,000 strides every morning on the nearby beach walk. They talk about their woes everyday. Tess hopes to reconcile with her daughter before she goes off to college; Rosie feels overwhelmed with too much responsibility and Noreen feels under whelmed with no responsibility. They become friends with one another and others like a cancer victim in New Orleans and unemployed Rick who especially likes Noreen.--------

    The WILDWATER WALKING CLUB is an engaging look at the importance of friendship as each of the three women finds walking as a catharsis because they have someone listening to their personal concerns, fears, and gripes. There are several other subplots involving other people, but those detract from the main theme of a friend in need sometimes only need simple acts like listening. Readers who enjoy a celebration of friendship will want to walk the beach along side the Wildwater trio.--------

    Harriet Klausner

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