Real Women Eat Beef

Author: Tracy McArdle

Publisher: Downtown Press

Release Date: January 9, 2007

Blue Ribbon Rating: 4 blue ribbons

Format: PRINT





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Advertising executive Jillian Campbell is going through some major life changes. She’s divorced her cheating husband and traded in the fast-paced New York lifestyle for a farmhouse in Holton, Massachusetts. She’s also taken on a new and exciting job with the Boston ad agency, Wiseman Connor. Jillian thinks that she has her life on track and everything she wants or needs is right at her fingertips but her ‘new life’ just may involve a few surprises which will have her reevaluating her priorities.

Jillian fell in love with the old farmhouse the moment she saw it online. Obtaining it is the only thing that seems to be going according to plan though. The house needs some work and she doesn’t have time to do it herself. Her father’s getting remarried and Jillian doesn’t like his fiancé. Her grandfather is suddenly having less and less moments of lucid thought and his temperment resembles a petulant child. The cushy car account she was promised when she signed on with Wiseman Connor mysteriously disappears and she’s stuck having to come up with a catchy slogan for a beef account - she doesn’t even eat beef. Just to make things more interesting throw in a couple of goats, a dog, several unexpected encounters with a local man whom she’s very attracted to, and a twelve-year-old local entrepreneur with an aversion to all the trappings that would make her ‘feminine.’

Sarah Watson abhors everything about her changing body. She has no interest in any of the ‘girly’ things that her so enamor her peers. She’d much rather be outside taking care of animals or taking care of the needs of the locals through her business ‘Sarah What Not.’ When she meets Jillian and begins caring for her animals, Sarah is immediately drawn to her. Jillian represents everything that Sarah someday hopes to be. She soon realizes that Jillian’s life isn’t all roses and sunshine either and they form a special bond. Jillian helps Sarah clear the hurdles of impending womanhood, and Sarah teaches Jillian about animal husbandry. They learn that life is full of unexpected occurrences and sometimes you have to go with your instincts and hope your heart doesn’t get crushed in the end.

Tracy McArdle captivated me from the beginning of this charming coming-of-middle-age story. She’s lived such a focused life for so long that it’s difficult to change pace and enjoy the new life she could have for herself. There are plenty of scenes that will steal your breath, some that will make you smile, and others that will bring tears to your eyes. I was especially touched by Jillian and Sarah’s friendship and how easily they could relate to each other. The scenes with Jillian's grandfather struck an emotional chord with me, it's so difficult witnessing an ailing relative and knowing there is nothing you can do to help. The focus of this story is primarily on Jillian’s gradual acceptance of who she is and what she feels is important in her life. The reader will notice glimpses of a potential romance throughout the book but nothing really obvious. We are treated to some seriously cool scenes when Jillian puts her job on the line and takes a stand for what she believes in which instilled a real sense of pride for the woman she’s become.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Chrissy Dionne

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Romance Junkies Content Editor: Claudia

Romance Junkies Publishing Editor: Chrissy

 


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