From the bestselling author of Between Husbands and Friends and An Act of Love comes a wise, wonderful, and delightfully witty “coming of age” novel about four intrepid women who discover themselves as they were truly meant to be: passionate, alive, and ready to face the best years of their lives.
Meet Faye, Marilyn, Alice, and Shirley. Four women with skills, smarts, and secrets—all feeling over the hill and out of the race. But in a moment of delicious serendipity, they meet and realize they share more than raging hormones and lost dreams. Now as the Hot Flash Club, where the topics of motherhood, sex, and men are discussed with double servings of chocolate cake, they vow to help each other . . . and themselves.
Faye, the artist. A determinedly cheerful widow and connoisseur of control-top pantyhose, she’s struggling with creative block and an empty, lonely house. Now she’s got a tricky problem to bring to the club’s table: how can they catch her perfect son-in-law cheating on her only daughter Laura?
Shirley, the healer. Though her yoga-slender body belie her years, decades of dating losers and the strain of being broke make her feel her age. Shirley has a secret dream: a wellness spa that nurtures body and soul. But first she needs to believe in herself, in her abilities, and in her friends at the club.
Marilyn, the brain. A paleontologist who has spent so many years looking at dried-up fossils, she’s almost become one herself. Worried that her brilliant but nerdy son is about to marry the very wrong woman, she gets some help from the HFC, who transform her from a caterpillar to a butterfly, with amazing results.
Alice, the executive. Black and regal, she soared to the top of the corporate ladder. Now her shoes are murder on her arthritic back and the younger jackals are circling in for the kill. But as the inspiration behind the HFC, she’s about to discover something extraordinary: contentment.
For Faye, Shirley, Marilyn, and Alice, the time has come to use it or lose it—be it their bodies, their brains, their spirits, and their sense of fun. Together they realize that they can have it all, perhaps for the first time in their lives. And though what sags may never rise again, feeling sexy has no expiration date— and best of all, with a little help from her friends, a woman can always start over . . . and never, ever, give up what matters most.
It's chick lit for the AARP crowd in Thayer's spirited but not very funny 14th novel. A chance meeting at a cocktail party brings four Boston-area women in their 50s and 60s together to found the titular club, in which they confess their woes and plot to help one another. Recovering alcoholic and perennial hippie Shirley, a talented masseuse, unknots workaholic Alice, who clues Shirley on how to dress for success, craft a business plan and establish her dream spa retreat. Brilliant and lovable, but a "dowdy academic," Marilyn botches her attempt to save Alice's high-power job but rediscovers her sexuality (after the Club revamps her wardrobe) and loses her insufferable husband, Theodore. Faye, a widow and blocked painter, solves a locked-room mystery while sleuthing on behalf of Marilyn and also discovers her inner art therapist. Thayer dutifully lays down her threads and weaves them into a busy plot. She bluntly and repeatedly tackles the physical consequences of menopause: hip spread ("a confetti of cellulite"), flabby midsections ("like having a sleeping puppy lying on a pillow in her lap, except that when she stood up, the puppy, pillow and lap remained") and hair loss (but "you can get a wig for your pubic hair.... Something called a merkin"). There are tender and funny moments, but the novel suffers from awkward expository dialogue, long stretches of backstory, and surprising from much-published Thayer (Between Husbands and Friends; Stepping) too many instances of telling rather than showing.