Miracle in a Dry Season    Dangerous Passage



Calm, Cool & Adjusted
by Kristin Billerbeck

Reviewed by Carol Kurtz

"An easy read with a most satisfying ending."

Poppy Clayton takes pride in her health, her peaceful state of mind, and her body fat percentage. Perhaps a little too much pride. She’s begun alienating her friends with her holistic zeal and her unsolicited advice on how they can cleanse their colons and detoxify their bodies. She is a successful chiropractor, and she is also “the last one standing”. Now that her friend Morgan is getting married, she is the only single gal left in her circle of friends they call the “spa girls”.

At the age of 30, she’s furiously training for a triathlon coming up in Hawaii next month. Her friends are concerned about her though. They are quickly tiring of being embarrassed by her inappropriate advice doling and her baggy, out-of-style clothes. Why does she insist on wasting that gorgeous figure of hers? But Poppy cannot part with the faded skirts that were her mother’s so long ago. It’s her only way of staying close to the mother who died when she was just a child. They had been the perfect hippy family in Santa Cruz. Now everything has changed, except her peasant skirts, which she desperately clings to.

Poppy’s friends are threatening to set her up with a date for the wedding. If only to keep from being set up, she reluctantly bargains with Jeff, the plastic surgeon in the office next to hers. Although gorgeous, Jeff is the antithesis of all she stands for with his cutting, liposuctioning, and botoxing women. But she cannot deny the chemistry between them. As they compete for the same office space, she enlists him to be her date for all of Morgan’s wedding festivities. But then there’s Simon, her patient for the last three years. He is also extremely successful and wealthy. And he seems to be in love with her. She is losing her friends to marriage and motherhood and her father to Arizona. Will she lose the love of her life to her pride?

Each chapter begins with a calibration of Poppy’s desperation scale. A fun way to keep the story rolling. Of course, the premise of the story is unrealistic. How often do we see a single thirty-something Christian woman with two gorgeous, wealthy, and godly guys pursuing her? We wish this happened in real life! However, once you accept that this isn’t real life, the story envelopes you.

Told in the first person, present tense, it’s almost like Poppy is sitting across from you at Starbucks, filling you in on what’s happening to her. I felt the frustration right along with her as her girlfriends kept trying to change her, just as they complained she had a habit of doing to them. And I found myself missing Simon, but also wanting Jeff to come through.

Poppy says it best: “Maybe I was desperate all along, but not for reasons I might have thought. Being single was never the source of my desperation, but being alone was. It went a lot deeper than a boyfriend, and it took a bigger Man than even Simon to root it out.” The truth for many of us, whether we’re single or married.

The easy, flowing chick-lit style made the chapters fly by and left me wanting more. An easy read with a most satisfying ending, without tying up all the loose ends too neatly. Although it’s the third in the Spa Girl Collection, I was able to effortlessly slip in without having read the others. Now I’m looking forward to Billerbecks’s next installment in the series.

Carol Kurtz Darlington is a certified personal trainer and a certified group fitness instructor who works with people who want to lose weight as well as those who just want to enjoy better health. She enjoys empowering and encouraging others to reach their health and fitness goals, feel better about themselves in the process, and enjoy more energy to stay active in all areas of their lives. She is the founder of Totally Fit With Carol, a Christian weight loss website featuring workout videos, health tips, exercise advice, and more. She loves her morning cappuccino and her beloved grand-dog. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and haunting Starbucks.