Seven Year Switch ~ Claire Cook

  • Title: Seven Year Switch
  • Author: Claire Cook
  • Genre: Women’s fiction
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Source: Library
  • Reviewed by: Olga Godim
  • Rating: 3 out of 5

Description:  A high-spirited novel from the bestselling author of Must Love Dogs and Life’s a Beach that will have you planning a girlfriend getaway in no time!

Just when Jill Murray’s 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. And 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.

Review:  A nice, easy read, a tad over-emotional, just enough not to be fluffy. The plot follows a young woman Jill at a crossroad in her life, desperately trying to do what’s best for her ten-year-old daughter Anastasia. And maybe a little bit for herself.

Seven years ago, Jill’s husband Seth abandoned her and their three-year-old child. He cleaned-up their joint bank account and disappeared without a word. Since then, she had been raising her daughter on her own, struggling to pay the bills like many single mothers, with no child support payments or even a postcard.

Now, Seth has returned, and suddenly he wants to get back together, to be a family once again. Of course, Anastasia is ecstatic to have her daddy back. He buys her a cell phone and a hamster. How many single mothers could tell similar stories about absent dads bribing their kids?

It comes as no surprise that Jill is bitter and disoriented. Could she forgive Seth, welcome him back into her life for Anastasia’s sake? Or should she try for a spot of personal happiness with her new charismatic client Bill? Sparks fly, whenever Jill and Bill meet, but should she allow herself a happy dream with Bill? What is best for Anastasia? What is best for Jill?

Both Jill and Anastasia are deep and colorful characters, true to life, as are many secondary female personages of this novel. Although some of them are rather sketchy and one dimensional, they all sparkle. The male characters are more vague, especially Seth, who is almost a cardboard guy.
One element I liked the most was the subtle humor infusing this tale. Jill works for an exotic women travel company, selling their tours by phone, and her telephone conversations with potential buyers are hilarious, reflecting so many absurdities of our hectic lives.

The story is good and absorbing and it left a pleasant buzz in my heart, but the writing was not above average. Many unnecessary passages or inconsequential events could’ve been omitted without the story suffering. Of course it would have made for a much shorter book. On the other hand, some extremely important interactions, pivotal for the plot development, were only hinted at in the narrative, which weakened the overall impact of the story. It could’ve been enriched by their inclusion.

Despite its flaws, it was a good book, a delightful addition to the shelves of women’s fiction.

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