The Wildwater Walking Club
By Claire Cook
(Hyperion, Hardcover, 9781401340896, 256pp.)
Publication Date: May 2009
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Just put one foot in front of the other. Sounds simple, doesn't it? But when Noreen Kelly takes a buyout from her job of eighteen years and gets dumped by her boyfriend in one fell swoop, she finds it hard to know what that next step is--never mind take it. At first Noreen thinks maybe her redundancy package could be an opportunity, a chance to figure out what to do with the rest of her life while her company foots the bill. Sure, she may have gotten high to "Witchy Woman" and grooved to "Sweet Baby James" back when James Taylor had hair, but she isn't ready for her AARP card. Not yet. But it's the first time in a great many years that Noreen has time to herself--and she has no idea what to do with it. When she realizes that she's mistaken her resume for her personality, Noreen knows that she has to get moving, so she puts on a new pair of sneakers and a seriously outdated pair of exercise pants, and walks. She doesn't get very far at first--just to the end of her street, Wildwater Way--but she perseveres, and when she's joined by her neighbors Tess and Rosie, Noreen realizes that walking is not an extreme sport. It can actually be fun. As the Wildwater women walk and talk, and talk and walk, they tally their steps, share their secrets, and learn what women everywhere are finding out--that time flies and getting fit is actually fun when you're walking with friends. Throw in a road trip to Seattle for a lavender festival, a career-coaching group that looks like a bad sequel to The Breakfast Club, 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 an experience that's heartfelt, exuberant, and above all, real.
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.
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
"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