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Source: Review copy from author

“Sure, other people go traveling by themselves. I can’t even go to the movies by myself. You know that.”

“Well, maybe it’s time to shake things up a little bit. You’re almost thirty years old. Time to spread those wings.”

(from Katwalk)

I was excited to read Maria Murnane’s Katwalk after reading Wait for the Rain and Bridges and identifying so much with the main character, Daphne White. And I was surprised, once again, to find myself identifying with the heroine in Katwalk, Katrina Lynden. Katrina is twenty-nine and has worked for nearly eight years as an accountant at an advertising agency. She doesn’t like change, and she is awkwardly shy. Her life feels stagnant since she put aside her love of painting at the insistence of her parents, who wanted her to find a practical career and a steady job. But Katrina and her best friend Deb have made a pact to quit their jobs on the same day and leave California to spend two months in New York City — an adventure before deciding what to do next.

However, things don’t go as planned, and Katrina finds herself unemployed and heading to NYC by herself — a move that is completely out of character for her, and frightens and excites her at the same time. She meets two women who live in the building where she is staying, Shana, a yoga instructor, and Grace, a jewelry designer, who immediately take Katrina under their wings. Murnane chronicles Katrina’s transformation to Kat, as she navigates the overwhelming city life solo and balances a flirtation with a charming but unavailable Wall Street banker and a friendship with a kind, observant, and attractive barista. As her time in NYC draws to a close, Katrina must determine whether to follow her heart or return home to the life she left behind.

Murnane has a knack for creating believable, relatable characters. There were times Katrina seemed overly naïve and innocent, but I could relate to her both wanting a change but not wanting to deal with change, and her excitement at the prospect of an adventure but feeling so overwhelmed by the big city. I enjoyed the secondary characters, especially Shana and Grace, who seemed like the kind of people I would befriend if I were in Katrina’s position; they were more personable and genuine than the Wall Street crowd. Even though Katrina’s epiphany about her future came about and fell into place rather quickly, it felt true to her character, and I couldn’t help but root for her.

Katwalk was an enjoyable journey with Katrina as she learns to break out of her comfort zone, embrace change, and not shy away from new, though daunting, experiences. It’s a lesson that many of us should take to heart.

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