Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Cottage on Juniper Ridge: My Review

About the Book:
How to Change Your Life… 

Can a book change your life? Yes, when it's Simplicity, Muriel Sterling's guide to plain living. In fact, it inspires Jen Heath to leave her stressful, overcommitted life in Seattle and move to Icicle Falls, where she rents a lovely little cottage on Juniper Ridge. And where she can enjoy simple pleasures—like joining the local book club—and complicated ones, like falling in love with her sexy landlord, Garrett Armstrong. 

Her sister Toni is ready for a change, too. She has a teenage daughter who's constantly texting her friends, a husband who's more involved with his computer than he is with her, and a son who's consumed by video games. Toni wants her family to grow closer—to return to a simpler way of life. 

Other women in town, like Stacy Thomas, are also inspired to unload their excess stuff and some of the extra responsibilities they've taken on. 

But as they all discover, sometimes life simply happens. It doesn't always happen simply!

My Comments:
In today's world it is so easy to become over-committed or to spend too much time on things that, in the end, just don't matter.  Email and VPNs allow us to work without going to the office--but they also make us available all the time.  Cell phones make it possible for teens to reach parents instantly, and vice-versa, but they also make it tempting to tune out people you are with in favor of the latest text message or phone call.  Video games can be a fun pastime, or consuming addiction.  Most people  have paid jobs; those who have the time and willingness to volunteer can find themselves with the equivalent of a full time unpaid job.  There is more stuff to buy than at any time in history, but is it worth the effort that we have to expend to acquire it--and then to store it?  

In a light-hearted way, The Cottage on Juniper Ridge (Life in Icicle Falls) looks at today's overly busy lifestyle, its consequences in people's lives and how we can use out power of choice to decide what to keep in our lives and what to discard.  

As noted in the summary, a book titled "Simplicity" encourages Jen to leave a life that she has grown to hate.  She moves to the small town of Icicle Falls (you can search my archives for other books about it) and while there she joins a book club that is reading the same book.  We watch how the other members of the group put the principals of the book to work in their lives.

While Jen's romance with her landlord is an important part of the story, the book goes beyond just a simple romance.  It is also squeaky clean--no bedroom scenes or mention of anyone engaging in intimate activity. 

I'd like the thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Grade:  B.

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