Just when Jill Murray has finally figured out how to manage on her own, her ex-husband proves that he can’t even run away reliably. After seven long years missing in action, he’s back- crashing into the man-free existence Jill and her ten-year-old daughter have built so carefully. What’s a good mother to do? To a child, even a deadbeat dad is better than no dad at all.
Jill’s life just hasn’t turned out quite the way she planned. By now, she’d hoped to be jetting around the world as a high-end cultural coach. Instead, she’s answering phones for a local travel agency and teaching cooking classes at the community center.
Enter free-spirited entrepreneur Billy, who hires Jill as a consultant for an upcoming business trip. Is their relationship veering off in a new direction? And what about her ex? Jill couldn’t possibly still have feelings for him…could she? Suddenly, her no-boys-allowed life is anything but.
They say that every seven years you become a completely new person, but Jill isn’t sure she’s ready for the big change. It takes a Costa Rican getaway to help her make a choice- not so much between the two men in her life, but between the woman she is and the one she wants to be.
If you’re looking for another fun summer read, you’ve come to the right place! Claire Cook has made two appearances on our blog this year as LibraryLove reviewed The Wildwater Walking Club last month. What surprises me most about this author is she wrote her first book in her minivan while waiting for her daughter’s swim practice to end. Now she is a bestselling author of books such as Life’s a Beach, Must Love Dogs, and Summer Blowout. Now that’s impressive! After reading my first Claire Cook novel, I can see how she’s charmed so many and I look forward to reading more of her novels.
Written with a fresh wit that has that satisfying mix of sarcasm, Claire Cook writes an entertaining read. The main character, Jill, is well versed in her culture while she teaches a Lunch Around the World Class and works for a travel agency organizing Great Girlfriend Getaways (talk about fun!) for women looking to explore, get away, or discover a new place. The variety of locales and culture will scoop you off your feet and instantly put you in daydream mode.
At 237 pages (and very short chapters), it felt like there were too many story lines going on: Jill’s relationship with her boss and her boss’ decisions, the pesky neighbor, Jill’s single mom relationship with her ten year old, the Lunch Around the World class, the ex husband’s return, the travel agency job, and the new guy, Billy. Phew! Seems like a lot, right? And all of this is jammed into 237 pages.
That being said, I wish Cook would have elaborated more and explored more in depth to Jill and her emotions and connections to those around her (both from the past and in the present.) Without giving anything away, there were scenes that surprised me without having an understanding of why Jill did or had a desire to do some of the things she did. I guess I’ve just read a lot of novels this year (well, duh!), but a lot of novels that have made me (the reader) feel like I really know the characters. With Jill, it seemed to have a “going-through-the-motions” vibe throughout the whole book.
While still interesting and entertaining, I wish there were another 150 pages so I could hang out with Jill more without feeling rushed. Claire Cook has such a refreshing sense of humor that I know I’d enjoy another novel written by her. In the meantime, if you don’t know what to take to the beach or pool with you, grab Seven Year Switch and let yourself be whisked away to far away places, both near and far.
Happy Summer Reading,
The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason