Feb 22, 2012

Book Review: Walter's Muse by Jean Davies Okimoto


Title: Walter's Muse by Jean Davies Okimoto
Paperback, Feb. 1, 2012; Endicott and Hugh Books
Objective rating: 5/5
Genre: contemporary fiction

Comments: The setting in this novel spoke to me - summer on an island in Puget Sound, with the main characters living in cottages along a beach on a scenic cove with views of the Olympic Mountains and Mt. Ranier.

The people in the novel are carefully drawn characters and relaxed retirees, for the most part, who look out for each other - Maggie, who exercises by kayaking once or twice a day; Howie and Mark, who share produce from their vegetable garden, and their generator-powered refrigerator during electric outages; Martha Jane, a philosophical and whimsical woman in her 90s who inspires others on the island with her meditative views on life; and Walter, a once successful children's writer who has come to the island to revive his writing career.

A horrific summer storm brings the island neighbors Maggie and Walter together again after twenty years, a time when she was a school librarian and he a successful writer of children's books. How they get together with the help of the others is the main romance of this novel. The novel is also about growing old, acceptance of change, and living with grace.

Here, Martha asks 90 year old Martha Jane about aging:

"How do you do it?"
"Do what, dear?"
"Be old. How do you be old?"

"Every day I wake at dawn to watch the sun rise. I wait like a child to see what nature will offer. Then I have a lovely breakfast with eggs from Howie and Mark's chickens and toast with Margaret Buckman's Jam....

"And then what?"
"And what, dear?"
"About being old."

"Oh, well, I try to do each thing with absolute concentration....
My friends and family tell me they enjoy the pleasure of my company and I suppose that connection is enough of a purpose for me now. " (ch. 13)


Visit author Jean Davies Okimoto's website. She has received numberous awards for her children's books and short stories, which have been translated into several languages. Jeanie began writing for adults when she and her husband Joe retired to Vashon Island in 2004.

Click on the link for TLC tour schedule and other reviews of Walter's Muse.

GIVEAWAY: TLC Book Tours is offering a copy of Walter's Muse to a reader - U.S. or Canadian resident. To enter, leave a comment with an email address. The winner will be notified by email and will have 2 days to respond with a mailing address, no P.O. boxes, before another winner is chosen. The contest will run through March 3.

UPDATE: The contest winner is Zibilee. Congrats!

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for a complimentary review copy of this novel and the giveaway.

23 comments:

  1. I love the sound of this book, and would like a chance to win. Thanks for the great giveaway.

    bibliophilebythesea AT gmail DOT com

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  2. I wish I had accepted this book for review from TLC Books. The setting is wonderful and the characters sound uniques and intriguing. And based on your rating this is a top-notch novel! I love that this book is about older characters who are still living and enjoying life. The message of living gracefully is a good one! I'm glad to know you enjoyed this book so much!
    Thank you for hosting a giveaway of this book.

    Aimala127(at)gmail(dot)com

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  3. I would love to read this book—thanks for the opportunity to win it!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

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  4. I'm glad that you enjoyed this one. This one was new to me. I'm not particularly fond of the cover, but the synopsis sounds good.

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  5. This sounds like a refreshing book with a good outlook.

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

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  6. this captivating book would be memorable and enjoyable. many thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  7. What a wonderful giveaway. A story that resounds with me greatly. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  8. This does sound like a quiet and lovely book, and I loved reading your thoughts on it. It sounds like just the thing I need in my life right now. No trauma and darkness, just a story that shines with hope. Please do count me in for your giveaway, and thanks!

    zibilee(at)figearo(dot)net

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    Replies
    1. March 3 - Congrats, Zibilee. You are the winner of the contest, thanks to random.org

      Delete
  9. This sounds like a really good book! Thank you for the giveaway!

    Margaret
    singitm(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  10. This sounds like a good read!

    Stefanie McMullen
    sweet_ophelia[AT]hotmail[DOT]ca

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  11. This would make a really good gift for a parent who loves to read and have the time.

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  12. I would really love to read this book. I am 65 and I still feel young, well, maybe feel like I am 40 or so.
    There are not enough books like this abour aging.

    CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

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  13. Sounds like interesting characters in this one. Thanks for the giveaway.
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

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  14. Sounds like a great book! I really want to read this! Thanks for the giveaway!

    megnate at telus dot net

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  15. I used to live near Vashon Island, and heard it was beautiful, but never got out to any of the islands. Please count me in. Thank you!

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

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  16. The setting speaks to me too, I'd love to visit that area someday. I also absolutely adore the passage you included. Please enter me.
    stacybooks at yahoo

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  17. Intriguing character, refreshing that the older ones are the well developed ones. I'm not on the Puget Sound islands...but I am on the Hawaiian islands!

    lilianxcheng AT gmail DOT com

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  18. Looks great. Would love to read it.

    itlnbrt @ att . net

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  19. Thank you for hosting this giveaway - it seems to be a wonderful read

    Louis
    pumuckler {at} gmail {dot} com

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  20. How can I resist a book about a retired librarian and a children's book writer? Thanks for the review and the giveaway!

    lacavanaugh AT appleblossom DOT net

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  21. I really enjoy books with older characters - they have so much more life experience influencing who they are and how their relationships develop.

    Glad you enjoyed this one. Thanks for being on the tour!

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  22. Sounds like an interesting book, I really like the characters and the setting. Love to read it. Please enter me. Thanks!

    ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

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I love getting comments and your thoughts...