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Best Staged Plans Hardcover – June 7, 2011
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"[A] crowd-pleaser for empty nesters."―Publishers Weekly
"Fans of HGTV and of Cook's previous charming fiction (Seven Year Switch; Must Love Dogs) will adore this light, funny read."―Library Journal (Starred Review)
"Ms. Cook's writing only gets better with each new book."―New York Journal of Books
"Addicts to HGTV marathons will drool . . . well paced all the way to a genuinely delightful conclusion."―Booklist
"Cook knows the territory of secret longing and snappy dialog."―Publishers Weekly
"Claire Cook's characters aren't rich or glamorous--they're physically imperfect, emotionally insecure, and deeply familiar."―Tom Perrotta, author of Little Children
"Reading Claire Cook might be the most fun you have all summer."―Elin Hilderbrand, author of The Castaways
"Claire Cook has an original voice, sparkling style, and a window into family life that will make you laugh and cry."―Adriana Trigiani, author of Big Stone Gap
"Charming, engagingly quirky, and full of fun, Claire Cook just gets it."―Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries
"Claire Cook has knocked it out of the park with BEST STAGED PLANS! Everything she has written previously has been entertaining, fun, and funny, but this novel made me cry as well, then laugh again. Every page of this story of an almost-empty nester "Home Stager" trying to sell her own home is filled with humor, warmth, insight and humanity. Plus great tips and tricks! ... And a homeless woman named Naomi will steal your heart. I loved it!"―Joan Lang, Front Street Book Shop, Scituate MA --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Claire Cook is the best-selling author of the novels The Wildwater Walking Club, Summer Blowout, Life's a Beach, Must Love Dogs, Ready to Fall, and Multiple Choice. Formerly a teacher of physical fitness and creative writing, she has also had stints as a copywriter, radio continuity director, garden designer, dance and aerobics choreographer. She lives in Scituate, Massachusetts, often called the Irish Riviera, with her family.
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Too bad that reinventing one's own life is not nearly as easy.
Just when Sandra thinks that she and her husband can finally sell their huge Victorian home and move somewhere simpler for the next chapter of their lives, she meets one obstacle after another. First, her husband and grown son would rather play and procrastinate than do the work. And Sandra is at a point in her life when the little things, like this foot-dragging behavior and finding the right reading glasses--especially since she's just accidentally wrapped her favorite pair and sent them off in the mail to her daughter--can make or break the journey.
So what is a woman to do? Well, Sandra accepts that staging job in Atlanta...the one offered by her best friend's boyfriend. And when she packs and leaves home, her message to the guys: don't call me until the house is ready.
What Sandra meets at her destination will change her life in a whole new direction.
Full of colorful, lively characters and lots of laugh-out-loud moments, we also find those serious issues, like how one can suddenly find gratitude where one least expects to discover it. And how changing one's perspective on things can come in the blink of an eye. And how, sometimes, life dishes out something really unexpected that forces you to change how you view everything. Best Staged Plans is a blissful, highly recommended read which I've awarded five stars.
In Atlanta Sandy works on her relationship with her son-in-law, works on the hotel staging, and finds the ultimate staging opportunity in a complete stranger. With a little guidance from her GPS and some personal reflection Sandy begins to appreciate a few important aspects of her life she may have previously taken for granted.
Claire Cook is in top form as she uses her typical humor and spot on truth of the human condition to tell the story of one woman that will have many readers saying "Has she been recording my life?" I loved it!
This book could have been just another cute, lightweight read from the much-maligned chick-lit genre except for Claire Cook's sure-handed writing style. It's fun, delightful even, and it's chock full of tips about home decorating and organization as well, which I could appreciate. But there is also true wisdom written into Sandy's voice. There are places to stop and think. Rich places that are as familiar and warm and dearly loved as the faces of your own family. There is such a lot of real life in this story. It's almost as if you are sharing a long conversation, trading confidences over coffee with a friend you treasure.
Sandy Sullivan is a professional home stager, something I knew nothing about, but I ended up wanting to redorate my entire home after reading BEST STAGED PLANS. Basically Sandy creates the environment for houses, or hotels in this case, for sales appeal to buyers.
But most importantly, it's about relationships between women. What resonated most for me was toward the end of the novel when Sandy met Naomi, a homeless woman. I have to say up to that point, Sandy kind of annoyed me. I found her somewhat shallow and bossy with her family, friend Denise and the hotel workers. When she came across Naomi, she finally stopped, took a breath and talked about meaningful life issues. Up until that point, home staging was a metaphor for her life; it was a stage. I like how she began to slowly change, making the next move.
I look foward to Claire Cook's next novel.Kindle 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 3G Works Globally, Graphite, 6" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology