by Lynne Kaufman

June 2004
ISBN: 0-7783-2054-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Mira Books
Trade Paperback

Ann, Maria, Sabrina and Deb have been friends for years, despite the demands of family and careers and the many changes and challenges life brings. The one event that has remained constant is their annual retreat to a remote cabin owned by Ann and her husband. This is a time for them to relax and relish their sisterhood in a rite they have dubbed "The Calling of the Coven". This is not witchcraft, but a magical weekend of good food and girl talk. In high spirits, the four decide this year to go to a local country bar for some dancing. There they meet an educated drifter named Hughie who seems to know what special dance they each need. After a storm comes up, they bring Hughie back to their retreat, rather than drop him off at a campsite, with the promise of massages as his way to thanking them for their hospitality.

When they wake up in the morning, with hangovers, they find Hughie dead, face-down in the hot tub. In a panic, they decide to bury him in a secluded place rather than report the incident to the police. When a logging truck digs up the body a month later, still wrapped in an expensive blanket, the cleaning tag on it leads the investigation to Ann and then her friends.

The four friends suddenly find themselves not only in big trouble, but in the middle of a media circus. They are left wondering if their families, marriages and even long-time friendship will be able to survive the trauma and secrets the case reveals.

On the surface, Wild Women's Weekend seems a rather frivolous title for a women's friendship story that addresses some serious issues. On second glance, it fits since that is the pivotal event of the novel. The character development of the four woman is excellent and vivid descriptions give the reader a sense of place. My only critique is that having a character with breast cancer has been overdone as a plot device in women's friendship books. I realize it is a serious life-threatening disease that affects way too many women, including two of my closest friends. There are other illnesses out there, such as heart disease, that need attention and could be used just as well.The story does not really have romance in the traditional sense, but sex is threaded into the plot in a variety of ways.

Wild Women's Weekend is well crafted and thought provoking. "Women of a certain age" will be able to appreciate the author's heroines and writing style.

Reviewed in July 2004 by Roberta.

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