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A Story About Speed Daters

It’s time for a book review. This time the story is One Night at the Jacaranda (2013). The plot follows eight people who find themselves at the Jacaranda Bar for an evening of speed dating. The premise is simple. In author Carol Cooper’s heterosexual example, an equal number of men and women register for the event. Everyone has a name tag. Women sit at tables. Men rotate. Couples converse for a short time, perhaps three minutes at which time the event leader tells the men to move on.

[I couldn’t help but be reminded of events at writing conferences where aspiring authors line up to meet agents. The agents sit at tables. The candidates line up. The bell rings. I digress.]

Cooper tells the stories of eight single adults. They come looking for …well…sexual encounters, and perhaps a relationship.

Among the speed daters are:

Harriet, a freelance writer looking for a story. Harriet’s unresolved issues include an eight-year relationship that has lost its juice, continued mourning for a cat named Pushkin, a frustration that she has yet to write her first novel. [I can relate to the last one.]

Laure is a lawyer masquerading as a hairdresser. She once shared a cat called Dainty with a man called Sanjay. She wanted children. He didn’t. He kept the cat.

Sanjay’s longest relationship is with the above cat. He wasn’t expecting to meet Laure at the Jacaranda – didn’t even know she was in town.

Cooper alternates voices as each person’s story unfolds intermingled with the lives of the others. Each discovers sexual encounters, no matter how satisfying, don’t fill the void within. Yet the act of exposing themselves to others ignites a new self-awareness that infuses their lives.

Featured Image: Jacaranda Flowers by Tatiana Gerus. Creative Commons Attribution. Wikimedia Commons

Carol Cooper. One Night at the Jacaranda. 2013. Available in a Kindle or Create Space edition at

One Night at the Jacaranda is Dr. Carol Cooper’s debut novel. To find out more about Carol Cooper and her medical expertise, go to her website. Carol Cooper

Kate Mirkin. “Why you should try Speed Dating.” Huffington Post. April 6, 2013. Here.


Author Sandra Wagner Wright

Sandra Wagner-Wright holds the doctoral degree in history and taught women’s and global history at the University of Hawai`i. Sandra travels for her research, most recently to Salem, Massachusetts, the setting of her new Salem Stories series. She also enjoys traveling for new experiences. Recent trips include Antarctica and a river cruise on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel.

 Sandra particularly likes writing about strong women who make a difference. She lives in Hilo, Hawai`i with her family and writes a blog relating to history, travel, and the idiosyncrasies of life.


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