Jill Murray is content living a man-free existence. She's got Anastasia, her 10-year-old daughter, and a sweet little bungalow to call home. Life as a cultural coach didn't turn out quite the way she planned, but between answering phones for Great Girlfriend Getaways and teaching Lunch Around the World classes, the dust in Jill's life is starting to settle. Then her ex-husband comes back.
They say that every seven years you become a completely new person, and Jill has long ago stopped wishing her deadbeat husband would return. Now she has to face the fact there's simply no way she can be a good mom without letting him back into their daughter's life. But why can't she seem to hold herself together around him?
And then there's Billy, the free-spirited, bike-riding entrepreneur who hires Jill as a consultant. When their business relationship seems destined for something more, Jill's no-boys-allowed life is suddenly anything but. It takes a Costa Rican getaway to help Jill make her choice - between the woman she is and the woman she wants to be. It's a wild ride, sure to thrill Claire Cook's many fans, complete with laughter, revelations, and one heckuva big tarantula.
©2010 Claire Cook (P)2010 Tantor
"Cook creates an impossible-not-to-love cast of imperfect, funny, wistful, and wise characters." (Publishers Weekly)
I have read just about all of Claire Cook's novels. I appreciate her exploration of the themes of mid-life reinvention. I have enjoyed them all to varrying degrees -- but this one felt just a little unpolished. It was like reading a novel that had been polished beyond a first draft, but just not flushed out fully. I found the ending particulary abrupt. The performance by Coleen Marlo was better than the book itself. Overall, an easy listen. If you like Claire Cook you won't be completely disappointed, but you will likely be unsatisfied.
After the first five hours of this book, I am battling to finish this listen. It is as thought the author felt compelled to include every tedious fact she ever read in wikipedia. The protagonist is boring and obnoxious. I think I'm going to cut our relationship short and stop listening. Sadly for them, the characters in this book are trapped with her for an eternity.
I liked the travel information and descriptions of places around the world. I didn't like the uneven behavior of the lead character, Jill. For someone who supposedly pulled her life out of the devastation and desertion of her husband, she seems pretty darn neurotic.
Maybe. It was OK - I actually listened through to the end.
Crisp, clear, personable.
It inspired me to look into women's travel clubs.
It's not a bad story, just not very good. The author stops short of commitment to any one emotion - mad, sobbing, hopeful,neurotic, desperate, happy, professional, scramble headed.
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