Monday, February 7, 2011

Review: Tales from the Yoga Studio

Summary: A sparkling new series introducing five unforgettable women who flock to yoga at turning points in their lives and find the gift of lasting friendship.

The yoga studio is where daily cares are set aside, mats are unfurled, and physical exertion leads to well-being, renewal, and friendship. An aggressively expanding chain of Los Angeles yoga "experience centers," has Lee and her extraordinary teaching abilities in its sights. They woo her with a lucrative contract, a trademarked name for her classes, and a place for her handsome musician husband. But accepting the contract means abandoning the students at the homey studio Lee runs in L.A.'s Silver Lake district- and leaving behind four women whose friendships are suddenly more important to her than retirement benefits and a salary increase.

Tales from the Yoga Studio is an insider's look at the current obsession with yoga, told with enough humor, wit, and warmth to charm and delight readers, whether or not they've ever done a Downward Dog. -- Plume

Despite my best intentions, I am not someone who practices yoga. I've done a few classes here and there and I enjoyed them quite a bit, but I would have to say that I'm definitely not familiar with yoga. So I wondered if the new novel TALES FROM THE YOGA STUDIO by Rain Mitchell would resonate with me. This book tells the story of five very different women whose lives are brought together by the practice of yoga. If you're looking for comparisons, it's kind of like the Friday Night Knitting Club novels but the women do yoga instead of knitting!

I enjoyed TALES FROM THE YOGA STUDIO very much -- even though I don't "do" yoga. (In fact as I read this novel, I actually found myself wanting to take up yoga.) For the most part, the story was a fun, quick read, and there was even some humor and satire thrown in. However, the book also covered some serious topics. I especially appreciated the character development and I thought each of the five women in the novel complemented each other quite well. I also enjoyed seeing each character evolve/mature throughout the course of the book.

It will probably come as no surprise that the thing I enjoyed most about this novel was the theme of female friendships. I am such a sucker for books with this theme! While yoga brought each of these women together and no doubt helped with their mental and physical state, their friendship with each other is what made them complete. All of the characters were flawed and needed support at some point in this story, and I loved how the various women were willing to put aside their troubles to help their friends in need.

TALES FROM THE YOGA STUDIO is the first book in a new series -- Edendale Yoga. While I liked being introduced to each of the women in TALES FROM THE YOGA STUDIO, I felt as if much of this first book was setting the stage for the rest of the series. I look forward to reading the second book in the series and really getting to know each of the women better.

I wouldn't be surprised to see female book clubs picking TALES FROM THE YOGA STUDIO as their selection. First of all, there are over 16 million Americans who practice yoga and will relate to the effect that yoga has had on these characters' lives. In addition, the book will appeal to women of all ages who understand the importance of friendship. There is a reading guide available with eleven fantastic questions as well as an interesting interview with the author. Some of the things you might want to discuss include the differences in the characters, the effects of yoga on each woman, marriage, relationships, motherhood, addiction and recovery, betrayal, infidelity, honesty, and of course, friendship.

TALES FROM THE YOGA STUDIO is an entertaining book and one that I recommend to fans of chick lit and/or mom lit. Of course, those of you who do yoga will appreciate it too!

Thanks to the publisher for sending an ARC of this novel.


Beth F said...

I like the premise of this -- I can definitely relate to forming friendships through classes: I met one of my closest friends when I was still taking ballet.

Karlie said...

I think I would like this one. I would like to get back to yoga but can't find the time!!

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of this one. One of my day care moms teaches yoga and I thought of her right away. I'll have to pass on the recommend to her.

bermudaonion said...

I wondered if this would be a good match for me since I don't do yoga either. It sounds like a book I would love!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I have not been successful trying yoga either, even though I know how great it would be for me!

Rebecca Rasmussen said...

I love yoga, though I admit to being a novice and a bit of a slacker. And I love the idea of mental wellness that surrounds it. Oh, and I like friends! So this sounds like fun.

Anonymous said...

I picked this up at the bookstore, yesterday. Looks really cute.