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Reluctant Entertainer, The: Every Woman's Guide to Simple and Gracious Hospitality Hardcover – August 1, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (August 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764207504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764207501
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #471,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


The Reluctant Entertainer is a helpful resource for any woman, however reluctantly she may view entertaining. I for one greatly appreciate Sandy's encouragement!

From the Back Cover

Real Entertaining for Real People

"The Reluctant Entertainer is my go-to guide for practical and inspiring ideas for opening my home to others. In her gracious and gentle way, Sandy helps us women move past our fears and personal hang-ups by providing the tools and perspective to make entertaining doable and enjoyable!"
--Melissa Michaels, creator of the Inspired Room blog

"For any excuse-making woman who avoids inviting guests into her home, this book should be required reading. The Reluctant Entertainer gently unveils common misconceptions about entertaining and guides women to the freeing truth: The art of hospitality is about connection, not perfection. I wish I could have read this book fifteen years ago."
--The Nester, creator of the Nesting Place blog

mouthwatering recipes
practical advice
thrifty tips
heartfelt encouragement

True hospitality is not about being perfect, cooking a fancy meal, or spending a lot of money. Rather, it's about an open door and an open heart. Popular blogger Sandy Coughlin offers a simple but savvy approach to help women break free of the anxieties that keep them from opening their homes. Emphasizing the forgotten goal of entertaining--connecting deeply with others--she shows how women can use the gifts and talents God gave them to reach out in love.

Customer Reviews

I was sent this book to review and from the minute I looked at it, I was excited to jump in and read it!
This is a beautiful book with gorgeous photos and good recipes, but more than that, it is a book for anyone who considers herself a "reluctant entertainer".
Books and Chocolate
I think one reason for this is the memories of times when someone showed me beautiful, heart hospitality and comforted my world when I really needed it.
Sandy Path

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
At first glance, Sandy Coughlin's THE RELUCTANT ENTERTAINER appears to be an unusual release for recessionary times. A book about gracious hospitality and entertaining others in your home (and elsewhere) hardly seems appropriate when so many people are struggling financially. But Coughlin's emphasis on simple, casual get-togethers and the need for deep and meaningful relationships is exactly what makes hers a timely and relevant message.

Though she's an accomplished and experienced hostess, Coughlin fully understands those women to whom hospitality does not come naturally and why they're such reluctant entertainers. Her approach to hospitality is found in the slogan "Real Entertaining for Real People," and she holds true to that principle throughout the book. She's no Martha Stewart, nor does she expect you to be one. In fact, the photo of a "crystal" goblet she uses on her website ([...]) and in the book symbolizes her belief that entertaining needn't be costly or impressive; the goblet is one of many she bought at a dollar store.

Her solutions are deceptively simple. Think you don't cook well enough? Order takeout or have a couple of pizzas delivered. Kids underfoot? Let them help, even if they make a mess. House isn't perfectly furnished or decorated? Who cares? You should be focusing on your guests anyway, not your house. Too busy? Who isn't? All the more reason to make time for others. Simple, maybe, but Coughlin understands how difficult it can be to let go of long-held misconceptions about entertaining. Her conversational writing style is never critical and always encouraging. She writes as if she's taking this journey with you, this transformation from reluctant entertainer to gracious hostess, all the while cheering you on and easing your fears.
Read more ›
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Victoria Kimble on September 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Yep, that's me. A reluctant entertainer. I've had people over to our tiny apartment about three times since we moved in. We just don't have the space to entertain anyone but ourselves, and honestly inviting someone into our tiny home is an embarrassment to me. I keep telling myself that once we move into a bigger place I'll entertain more, but I might be encouraging some bad habits by not practicing hospitality right now.

Then I got the chance to review The Reluctant Entertainer by Sandy Coughlin. Sandy Coughlin is a popular blogger on the subject of entertaining and hospitality. Through this book, she offers encouragement and ideas to help women break free of the fears that keep them from practicing hospitality. This book emphasizes the lost art of entertaining and, more importantly, connecting deeply with others. This book is full of meal ideas, party ideas, conversation starters and reassurance that it is okay that we are not all Martha Stewart. The heart of the book resounds with the message that people don't care if you or your house is perfect; they long to connect to others just like you do.

Read. This. Book. I still feel I can't really open our home to anyone at this time, but we do have plans to move into a little bit bigger space in the near future, and I'm very inspired to begin finding out how much hospitality is inside of me. This book will be used as a reference for ideas and a source of courage when I lose my nerve about having people over. I believe our society may have lost the art of hospitality, but that it is not lost forever. I truly can't say enough how much I loved this.

Oh, and Ms. Coughlin's blog is definitely going on my daily reading list.

Bethany House provided me with a free copy of this book as a part of their blogger review program. If you would like to participate in this program, please visit [...]
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Aleksija on October 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have not finished reading this book yet, I'm about halfway though, but I really couldn't wait any longer to share it with you! It is fabulous! I have always been a self-proclaimed hermit because I'm so socially awkward it isn't even funny. I'm bad at meeting new people and am always tongue-tied. But at the same time, I want friends! And not only that, but being a single mom makes it difficult for me to get out much and I've really been wrestling with the question: "what can I do for God when I'm bad in social situations and broke on top of that?" I want to make a difference. The Reluctant Entertainer was such an amazing answer for me! Sandy is so great at, first of all, telling you to stop trying to be perfect! Nobody cares and perfect people normally intimidate anyways (isn't that so true?). Then she gives you tips and tricks on what to do with what you have and who you are. The main focus is always the connections you are making and I definitely lost sight of that in the worries that I have Goodwill mis-matched dishes, wall with no pictures and very sad cooking skills.

If you're like me and you're terrified of inviting people into your home, then you definitely need to pick up this book and read it! Sandy has actually made me excited to invite people over and I really think God is showing me a path I can take, now, to make a difference in people's lives!

*****Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for offering me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Charis on July 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
It is here!! Sandy's book is finally here! I've been an avid reader of Sandy's blog for some time now, so I have been eagerly waiting for her book to be here, and the book did not disappoint. It is a beautifully presented book with stunning photos and attractive layout, but what I really love about this book is it is full of Sandy's tips from the heart. She shares from what she knows - she can speak with authority - you can just tell she is living out what she is writing about.
As a Christian, a Mom and a keen foodie myself I gain a lot from Sandy's 'Ten Commandments of Hospitality' - they give me direction for where to place my priorities and also great encouragement.
I hope that this book becomes a bestseller because it gives such practical advice to people wanting to reach out and connect with others - which is something I think we all need to see more of happening in our communities. Thanks Sandy for such a great tool that we can all use!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews

More About the Author

Sandy Coughlin writes the inspiring blog Reluctant Entertainer (, started in 2006 to help women get past their entertaining fears. She loves to share food and entertaining ideas, recipes, gardening tips, and encourages others in the art of hospitality. A busy mom of three teenagers, Sandy is active in various volunteer organizations. She's married to Paul, and their family practices hospitality in their hometown in Southern Oregon.