'The Wildwater Walking Club'



The Bookworm

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

No matter how hard you’ve tried, you know you can’t do it yourself. You’re determined to shed those winter pounds. You will wear that swimsuit. You’re going to lower your blood pressure if it … well, if it kills you. And you’re determined to de-stress before summer arrives, even if it takes till next summer to do it. 

But you can’t do it yourself. What you need is an exercise buddy, someone who will encourage you.

In the new novel “The Wildwater Walking Club” by Claire Cook, three women find friendship and lose inches.

Noreen Kelly had no plans to quit her job, but when the acquisition went through and the buyout was offered, Balancing Act Shoes made a too-irresistible offer.

Besides, Noreen’s boyfriend, Michael, painted a glorious picture of their life after job. Although he worked for the new company — in the exact same position that Noreen had — he told her that he wouldn’t be there long, either. Once they each accepted a buyout, they could travel. Nice thought. 

The morning after Noreen took the cash, Michael was mysteriously AWOL. He refused her calls. He walked out of her life. Bereft, jobless and boyfriendless, Noreen took stock of her situation. 

The mirror wasn’t kind. Late nights at the office and on-the-fly eating had taken their toll. She was 40-something and fat. Exercise and a new project — maybe yardwork — was what she needed. 

She began exploring her Massachusetts neighborhood. Walking was good exercise, right?

It was, and it led Noreen to her neighbors, who vowed to help keep her on the right path and keep her company on her walks. As they walked, they talked and hashed out the issues of their lives. 

Tess had a rocky relationship with her daughter. Rosie had an ailing father and a lavender farm that needed constant tending. And Noreen still had Michael-on-the-brain.

But sometimes, taking extra steps makes you lose pounds and gain perspective. Sometimes, a trip, a skip and a few steps in the right direction are just what every woman needs to see things in a different light.

From the first glimpse of the cover to the end of the story, “The Wildwater Walking Club” screams “girlfriend book.” You know when you’ve got it in your hand that you’ll want to pass it on when you’re done with it. You know your friends will love it as much as you will.

Though it’s light, breezy and quick to read, what I found most appealing about this book is the realness of the three main characters. 

Cook didn’t make Noreen, Tess or Rosie fabulously wealthy or model-beautiful. They’re just women trying to get through life without too many bruises. Haven’t we all walked in similar shoes?

Perfect for book groups or for tucking in your suitcase or overnighter, “The Wildwater Walking Club” is a girlfriends’ delight. If you’re someone who loves to share her favorite reads, take steps to get this book soon.

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