In Help Wanted by Barbara Valentin, Claire Nelson has spent 16 years in the corporate sector, while her husband, Paul, has spent the last few years as a stay-at-home dad, resistant to all of Claire’s urging to go back to work, where he was once a high power investment banker. Feeling imprisoned in her job as well as inadequate in her role as the mother of four boys, Claire writes to the local newspaper advice columnist The Plate Spinner, who focuses on the challenges of balancing family and work. The next day, she gets informed that after all the painful work she has done for her company, she has been fired. With that, her life changes dramatically.
Coming home in defeat, Claire brings up the topic of Paul’s going back to work, which leads to another fight so bad that she can’t even bring herself to tell Paul about her lost job. After a miserable time the next day at the unemployment office, Claire discovers an email from The Plate Spinner. She has been offered a job as the new Plate Spinner columnist! In taking this job, she comes ti realize that what she really wants deeply and doesn’t find in her job is joy. Maybe now life will change. In the meantime, Paul gets challenged to get work for the state of his sons, but he doesn’t want to tell Claire because he wants to earn her respect on his own. And Claire doesn’t tell Paul about her new job either, so both dance around each other.
This book was enjoyable and deals with a key issue found in a great many people’s lives. How many people struggle with their marriage after a dozen years and children? They say that money is the number one cause of divorce, which this book so ably illustrates. The book also deals with the problem of married couples who have gone separate ways and don’t even share a bedroom anymore. Most romance novels that I’m familiar with focus on falling in love, but I appreciate that this book focuses on maintaining love.
I enjoyed the narration of Wendy Rich Stetson as she read the audio version of this book. She comes across very believably in her performance and makes me want to keep listening. Her accents and voices of the boys as well as women and men are done very well too.
Help Wanted was a very compelling read by audio. It kept me eager to listen, and I enjoyed this cute romantic comedy. I really was drawn to the whole story and the characters, who seemed so realistic as genuine people. I give this book five stars!
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author, but that in no way affected the quality or content of my review.
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