J. M. Werlein - author

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Adventures of the Last Wives Club

Not one of them had imagined it would affect their lives directly, but sadly each of their husbands was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. They found themselves thrust into the role of  chief care-giver, but they also discovered a close bond developing between them as they shared the difficult journey of the deteriorating health of their spouses.  Eventually a new road faced  each one, the loneliness of being a widow. 


This story shares humor, bittersweet memories, suspense and romance as Marvel and her friends decide to accept the challenge of this new chapter in their lives and take a vacation together.  Little do they know the adventure that awaits them.  The story was inspired after watching my mother and her friends over the many years they spent together while visiting their husbands suffering from Alzheimer’s in the nursing home they shared. My mother called this group of women friends “The Last Wives Club.” Together they  provided each other support and laughter while sharing stories, going on outings and picking up the pieces after losing long-time partners. 


I believe those who read The Adventures of the Last Wives Club will find it charming and heartening, especially those who finds themselves alone after a spouse’s death. You’ll smile and chuckle as these four friends travel west together experiencing the added dilemmas faced in our golden years.  

Meet the author

   I was born and raised in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. I love the four seasons, winters and all! You may have heard the term “Minnesota nice”; it is a true phenomenon, most of us will smile and talk to anyone, even in the awkward silence of an elevator. I share this tidbit because it is at the core of what draws me to write. I am the youngest of six children. I became an observer of relationships and relating as I watched and listened as my older siblings matured into adulthood.    


My passion since I can remember is animals, particularly horses. At the age of five I began horseback riding lessons. Nothing made me happier than spending a whole day at the stable. The woman who ran the farm was tough yet tender-hearted and said things like they were. I respected and admired her greatly. She is one of many role models that shaped me into who I am now.    


Human nature fascinates me, so I studied Sociology and Anthropology at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN.   After college I was hired as a New Marketing Coordinator for a small insurance company. The people were great but the tedious day in and day out routine was not for me. That’s when my career path took an unusual turn. A friend of mine had opened her own riding stable and her clientele was growing swiftly so she contacted me to see if I would be interested in being her assistant trainer and teach the beginner program. I didn’t need much time to think it over; my office soon became a barn. 


Over the years I moved on to other horse training opportunities; traveling and showing horses in many different states. During this time, I married, had a child and unfortunately divorced. My daughter and I moved home to “temporarily” live with my parents. Due to unplanned circumstances my daughter and I remained with them until she went off to college.  One of those unexpected circumstances was the diagnosis of my dad; my daughter’s hero; with Alzheimer’s Disease. 


Feeling we needed more stability I decided to look for work that offered health insurance, retirement, you know those security pieces in life.  Enter my life into the world of state politics. While still maintaining my teaching and training on the weekends my “day job” placed me in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Let me tell you the two careers are more alike than you might think!  While working in politics, I had the opportunity to engage with constituents daily, run committee meetings, fund raise, assist writing legislation and speeches, as well as work on campaigns. I also met and worked with some very influential people on both the state and national levels. I am fortunate to continue many of those relationships today.   


When dealing with a family member who has an incurable illness our perceptions often change. Watching my loving dad slowly lose his memory and the things he cherished was heart wrenching. My mom went every day to the nursing home; long after he had no idea who she was. There she befriended many, as only she could do. I watched the relationships evolve and this is eventually what inspired my first book.  I lost my mom in July 2015, before I finished my book, but she knew I was writing it and I know it both pleased and amused her. While diligently working on the first draft I decided to make a change.  I moved to Nebraska to be a full-time assistant trainer/instructor with a good friend at her stable. It’s wonderful to be back immersed with my passion and having more opportunity to continue writing.   


My stories revolve around the inevitable trials life throws our way; challenges that many of us face day to day. The characters are engaging and easy to relate to as they face the unforeseen twists of fate.   Thank you for visiting my website and getting to know me a little bit. 

~ J~     

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