Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Taking Leaps and Finding Ghosts

25797569Dreams aren’t just for the young, and Ginny Lawther is happy to prove that even at the age of fifty-eight she can still brave a leap of faith…she just needs a little prodding from like-minded individuals. Step one: place an ad in the local newspaper inviting other dreamers to form an Ideal Life Club. Step two: see if anyone shows up.

When Ginny meets four hopeful strangers at the first club meeting, she thinks they’re off to a great start.

Now it's only a matter of time before the sixty-something widow Hilda turns her crafting into a full-time career; the twenty-something Jerry becomes a professional musician; and the thirty-something housewife Lydia publishes her cookbook. That is, until the rugged divorcĂ©, Lee, sets a goal to solve his ghost problem—and upends all their lives!

Suddenly the support group isn’t just trying to navigate the ups and downs of pursuing their dreams; they’re also wrestling with a strange cast of spirits who keep interrupting their endeavors. What do these apparitions want? And why have they latched on to the Ideal Lifers?

Haunting, humorous, and hopeful, Taking Leaps and Finding Ghosts sparks the imagination and breathes unexpected life into everyday reality.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Janet DeLee experiments with the inclusion of the supernatural in everyday life, with everyday people, in her novel Taking Leaps and Finding Ghosts. The Ideal Life Club is a way for the main character, Ginny to be inspired, held accountable, and help others do the same. In doing so, each member of the group will potentially see success. This simple idea brings the members of the club together, and it does the same for readers. The book is both inspiring and entertaining, demonstrating how, no matter your age or your dream, success can be achieved.

Ginny, Jerry, Lee, Hilda, and Lydia make up the Ideal Life Club. They each have specific goals and DeLee shares their endeavors with the readers as the six months (the club's set time frame) drifts by. Ginny wants to own her own home, a very relatable goal, but she has no idea of what to do first and that ups her anxiety level. Readers will understand Ginny's anxiousness. Buying a home is a big deal, no matter your age. Through this, readers will easily connect with Ginny. 

Jerry dreams of being a musician but has terrible stage fright. The group helps him take a few baby steps before encouraging him to dive into his passion. His courage and determination are impressive. Readers will be rooting Jerry on from the beginning. 

Hilda hopes that one day she can financially support herself with her love of crafting. Her creative spirit definitely aligned with my own and I felt especially connected to Hilda. She's a loving, open-minded, supportive woman who loves to help others. It's easy to bond with Hilda's character as she works toward her goal. 

Lydia is the chef of the group and wants to create her own cookbook for a fundraising event. She's the only main character that I didn't feel a connection with. Though I thought her dream was a good one, (I can barely cook myself!) I didn't think DeLee went as in-depth with Lydia as she did with the other characters. I would have liked to have seen Lydia and her daughter cooking together and witnessing how the food preparation brought them together. 

Lee is the wrench in this solid group of Ideal Lifers as his goal is uncharted territory. He wants to find a way to make spirits leave him, and his construction business, alone. His grandmother tried to tell Lee that he had the gift, but he refused to accept it. I understand how this situation would be mighty frustrating and I think Lee's brave for acknowledging what could be happening instead of ignoring it. Readers will enjoy the mystery that Lee brings to the table, but I think the synopsis blows it a bit bigger than it is. The whole book is not about ghosts. It is about the Ideal Life Club, ghosts just happen to be a part of it. 

Regardless, I think many readers will enjoy the diverse group of characters and find a connection with at least one of them. The plot is interesting enough as DeLee does a good job eliciting an emotional response when one of the main characters take a step toward their goal. But I did feel like there was a bit left out at the end. A blossoming relationship was hinted at with Lee which was not clearly wrapped up. Neither was his 'gift.' I wanted to know if he really was able to communicate with spirits or if it was a fluke. But I can live with not knowing, it's like not scratching an itch. 

Rating: 3/5 Cups

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