The Wildwater Walking Club

The Wildwater Walking Club

4.0 48
by Claire Cook, Kymberly Dakin
     
 

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When Noreen takes a buyout and gets dumped by a boyfriend in one fell swoop, she finds herself with nothing but time to notice everything that's missing in her life. Tess is the teacher next door, who thought she'd be spending the summer with her college–bound daughter, but now that daughter isn't speaking to her. The Wildwater Walking Club is complete

Overview


When Noreen takes a buyout and gets dumped by a boyfriend in one fell swoop, she finds herself with nothing but time to notice everything that's missing in her life. Tess is the teacher next door, who thought she'd be spending the summer with her college–bound daughter, but now that daughter isn't speaking to her. The Wildwater Walking Club is complete when they meet Rosie, the dutiful daughter who moved onto her parents' lavender farm after her mother died—and dragged her family with her. As the Wildwater women walk and talk, and talk and walk, they tally their steps, share their secrets, and let life take them in some new and surprising directions. Throw in a road trip to Seattle for a lavender festival, a career coaching group filled with unemployed Boomers, a clothesline controversy that could only happen in the 'burbs', plenty of romantic twists and turns, and a quirky multigenerational cast of supporting characters, and the result is pure Claire Cook—fun, fast, and totally fabulous.

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.
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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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781609988098
Publisher:
Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
01/17/2012
Edition description:
Unabridged
Pages:
6
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.20(d)

What People are saying about this

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)."--(Jean Reynolds Page, author of The Space Between Before and After)
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." (Anisha Lakhani, author of Schooled)

Meet the Author

Claire Cook is the author of Must Love Dogs (which was made into a major motion picture starring Diane Lane and John Cusack), Multiple Choice, and Ready to Fall. She lives in Scituate, Massachusetts, with her family.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Scituate, Massachusetts
Date of Birth:
February 14, 1955
Place of Birth:
Alexandria, Virginia
Education:
B.A., Film and Creative Writing, Syracuse University
Website:
http://www.clairecook.com

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The Wildwater Walking Club 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
KimCT More than 1 year ago
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.
khalv92 More than 1 year ago
They walk, and walk, and walk. Did not really keep me interested. It's pretty slow.
missmohla More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!"
kanellio65 More than 1 year ago
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
KateUnger More than 1 year ago
This book was a great summer read. It was light (for the most part) and fun, and I read it in two days. Since I've been counting my steps, I loved the daily step counts for each chapter. I was very impressed with Noreen's ability to hit 10,000 steps almost every day. My record right now is only 5 days in a row. I also appreciated the company buyout job scenario that Noreen was in. I was able to relate give my current job situation. The occasional Victorian flower references were reminiscent of Vanessa Diffenbaugh's The Language of Flowers (excellent book!) and added to the lavender farming subplot. But the best part of the book was the instant friendships between Noreen, Tess, and Rosie. I loved that they became friends because of walking. I loved that two of them wear size 8.5 shoes since that's my shoe size too! Their day to day conversations while walking were very natural and enjoyable to read. The highlight was reading about the planning for their girls weekend. It was just so fun! I wanted to be going with them. There were a couple of odd plot points in the book: the Fresh Horizons career coaching methods, Tess' obsession with Annalisa Gordon (a teacher in New Orleans), and the clothesline ban. But overall it was a decent read. It would be a good beach book. It's just not something I'll read again. http://momsradius.blogspot.com/2015/06/book-review-wildwater-walking-club.html
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a book to read if you want something light and undemanding; it's not great literature.  The writing is sometimes witty and I laughed out loud more than once.  I doubt I would read another book by this author. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun read. Loved the various interests in this one!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Most moving for me was how I could relate to all three characters. Claire nailed it as far as bringing the main characters to the reader. So much so that I felt that I was one of them. Looking forward to reading another.
kan315 More than 1 year ago
If I could i would be part of this walking group.The conversations and the wit of these 3 women are very much the kind I have with my friends. I would love to know more about Tess and Rosie and their back stories. This is a fun read and will make you want to go out and reinvent yourself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although I loved the movie, Must Love Dogs, I am hooked on Wildwater Walking Club. I laughed (and cried) all the way through it. I look forward to the next one!!
quaintinns More than 1 year ago
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)!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To much about walking lost interest very quickly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great read
vinobear More than 1 year ago
I guess I connected because I have a walking club of sorts. Not super deep but a nice summer read.
willieAP More than 1 year ago
Loved the different personalities, and the story was enjoyable
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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