It’s the first summer of her retirement and librarian Maggie Lewis is relishing the unfolding of sweet summer days on Vashon Island: walking on the beach, reading the classics, and kayaking. But in June when a sudden storm hits the island, Maggie’s summer becomes about as peaceful as navigating whitewater. Not only does her wealthy sister arrive uninvited with a startling announcement, but Maggie finds herself entangled with her new Baker’s Beach neighbor, Walter Hathaway. A famous children’s author and recovering alcoholic, Walter has a history with Maggie they would each like to forget.Delightfully told with humor and insight, Walter’s Muse is a page turner for romantics, writers, and the young at heart at any age.
There were a lot of things to love about Walter’s Muse. The characters were awesome. The setting of Vashon Island was a character in itself. I love the way the author wrote the characters in this book down on the page. My favorites were definitely Walter and Martha Jane. Walter, because I felt he developed and changed so much from the beginning of the story until the end. Martha Jane, because I just loved her personality. Some of the things she did made me giggle, and also, I loved her approach to aging. I found it to be inspirational. At 90 years old, she could have been dwelling on the fact that her life was almost over, but instead, she’s enriching her life by taking painting classes and trying to remember some of her favorite quotes and inspiring her neighbors.
All of the characters in this book felt very real. That’s because this is definitely a character driven novel and not a plot driven one. I’m not saying there isn’t a plot, because there is, it’s just more of a quiet one, and it does take a backseat to the actions and motivations of the characters. This is a book about island life and relationships. It is subtle and grows on you. I’ll be honest and say that I wasn’t sure whether or not I would like this novel at the beginning. But by about halfway through, I had begun to feel pretty attached to these characters and I had to find out what was going to happen. I think if you go into this book not expecting a fast-paced novel, you will like it a lot more. I didn’t know what to expect and that’s why it took a bit to get going for me. Simply put, I have been reading too many young adult novels that move quickly. This book was a serious change up for me, and it ended up being quite a delight.
Things I loved about Walter’s Muse:
~The character development-They truly jumped off the page.
~The setting-You can tell it’s really a beautiful place. You can tell the author is passionate about where she lives, and the way she describes it has me really wanting to see it for myself.
~The imagery-Really. Vashon island was beautiful. I loved the way I pictured Maggie and Walter’s houses in my head. Seriously some place I would like to stay. The storm in the beginning was written brilliantly.
~The slow burn of Maggie and Walter’s relationship. Without giving away any spoilers, I’ll just say it was fun to watch unfold. I loved Walter, so this was definitely my favorite part of the book.
~Maggie and I didn’t get off to a great start. For a good chunk of the beginning of the book, I didn’t really like her. I thought she was whiny, crabby, and a complainer. I didn’t care for the way she treated her sister. Even though Leslie was a selfish person, it bothered me. That’s family you are hating on. By the end of the story, she had grown a lot and also grown on me. I knew when I finished the final pages that I would miss her voice and hearing her thoughts. She was very real, flawed, and well-developed.
Things that I didn’t love about Walter’s Muse:
~I loved the opening of the book. It was awesome. Then not much happened for awhile and I became disillusioned with the story until it got going again. The pacing was a bit off in the first eighty pages.
~There were a few times where the verb tenses switched. That threw me off and I didn’t care for it. Pick a verb tense and stick with it. Just my opinion, but there it is.
I can easily give this one 4 out of 5 stars. Not more than that because I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to. But it was a good book. I would recommend this one for fans of vivid settings, great character development, relationships, and character driven plots. I would not recommend this for fans of quickly paced stories.
To order a copy of Walter’s Muse from Amazon.com, click here: Walter’s Muse. Or you can purchase it from Barnes and Noble here.
Also, a set of up to ten copies of Walter’s Muse is going to be given away in TLC Tour’s Book Club of the Month Contest in March. If you have a book club and you want to enter, click here: http://tlcbooktours.com/book-clubs/.
Now for the giveaway. Up for grabs is a paperback copy of Walter’s Muse. This is for US/Canada entrants only. Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
5 responses to “Book Review of Walter’s Muse by Jean Davies Okimoto and a Giveaway!!”
Thank you for letting us know about the author’s approach to aging. I hope that I can continue to be involved in my life at age 90 (If I get there) as the characters were here. The review was also very complete. Thanks again.
Actually, hating a family member is easy. I haven’t spoken to my step sister since her son was 3 years old. He’s a college graduate these days.
I love books set in island settings. It adds another dimension to them. Islands bring to mind balmy nights and romance, intrigue, and other fascinating thoughts.
I really enjoyed your review and I appreciate how you kept it very balanced. The setting and characters in this sound wonderful. It isn’t often you get to read about mature characters living life to the fullest. Thanks so much for being on the tour.
I am interested in this book partially because it has to do with retirement expectations. Maggie Lewis didn’t get the calm peaceful retirement that she thought she was going to have. That’s just like me, I thought I would finally get to do more traveling and relaxing. But it has been mostly trips to the doctors office and the hospital but I still get to read a lot!
I used to leave near Vashon Island, where this book takes place. Unfortunately I never got to visit the islands when I lived in WA. 🙁