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Hot Flashes and Cold Cream    by Diann Hunt order for
Hot Flashes and Cold Cream
by Diann Hunt
Order:  USA  Can
WestBow, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Maggie Hayden thought life was going well at close to fifty - with her supportive husband Gordon, wonderful children, and a terrific best friend. But one day, the high school homecoming queen moves back to town and although she looks the same, the woman doesn't recognize Maggie at all. And Gordon has always worked long hours, but lately it seems like he's spending more and more time away from home. Maggie begins to get suspicious - he wouldn't turn from his Christian beliefs to cheat on her, would he?

With her kids away at school, Maggie doesn't really know what to do with her time. As she gets to know the young women who work at the local coffee shop, she is drawn to Jade. The two connect and as Maggie shares her Christian faith, Jade opens up to her. Is this where God wants her to be? Can Maggie learn to trust God in every situation, even her marriage? Hot Flashes and Cold Cream is chick lit for those over forty. Diann Hunt knowingly - and with well-placed touches of humor - gets into the heart and soul of her characters and her readers. Maggie is believable and deals with her shortcomings in realistic ways. We are able to feel her pain and frustration when she believes her husband could be having an affair. Yet just when things begin to get too heavy, Hunt inserts levity and has the reader laughing once again. The secondaries - from Gordon to Jade - add depth to the story and make these people seem like members of our own family or community.

The faith message is beautifully integrated. Though a prominent part of who Maggie and Gordon are, it doesn't come across as preachy. In fact, the plot as a whole makes Christians real and approachable. The one drawback is that this is a niche book. Reading about hot flashes and empty-nest syndrome won't appeal to a younger audience, which is a shame, because they will miss out on a treat. However, there's always room for a story that allows older women to reflect on changes relevant to them, and be encouraged by the fact that they aren't alone in their struggles.

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