Best Staged Plans
By Claire Cook
(Hachette Books, Paperback, 9781401341855, 256pp.)
Publication Date: April 2012
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As a professional home stager, Sandy Sullivan is an expert at transforming cluttered rooms into attractive houses ready for sale. If only reinventing her life were as easy as choosing the perfect paint color. She's eager to put her family's suburban Boston home on the market, to downsize, and to simplify her own life. But she must first deal with her foot-dragging husband and her grown son, who has moved back home after college to inhabit the basement "bat cave."
After reading them the riot act, Sandy takes a job staging a boutique hotel in Atlanta recently acquired by her best friend's boyfriend. The good news is that she can spend time with her recently married daughter, Shannon, in Atlanta. The bad news is that Shannon finds herself heading to Boston for job training, leaving Sandy and her southern son-in-law, Chance, as reluctant roommates. If that's not complicated enough, Sandy begins to suspect that her best friend's boyfriend may be seeing another woman on the side.
Filled with characters who are fresh and original, yet recognizable enough to live in your neighborhood--plus plenty of great tips and tricks for fixing up houses, and lives--this is a wise and witty story of letting go and moving on. Best Staged Plans is Claire Cook at her most humorous and heartfelt.
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.
"[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
"Claire Cook is back with another gift for beach readers and book clubs everywhere--BEST STAGED PLANS....you'll find fun, heart and hilarity from cover to cover. This is yet another winner for Cook, most certainly."
—Jackie Blem, Tattered Cover, Denver, CO
"BEST STAGED PLANS is jam-packed with trademark Claire Cook wit and wry observations on those everyday situations that would be really comical if you could just slow down and view them from afar - or if they were happening to, well, someone else! You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll tell all your girlfriends that BEST STAGED PLANS is THE beach read of the summer. I know we are!"—Jill Miner, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI
"Another wise and witty novel from Claire Cook. There are some real nuggets of knowledge here on home staging, clearing your life of clutter and 'recipes' for creations made from prepared foods from Trader Joe's. I know this will make for some lively book club discussions for ladies of a particular 'stage' of life!"—Karen Vail, Titcomb's Bookshop, Sandwich, MA
"In true 'Claire Cook form' BEST STAGED PLANS is thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish...fun, light-hearted but moving at the same time. An uplifting and fun read."—Lisa Kennally, R. J. Julia, Madison, CT
"At the beginning of bestselling author Claire Cook's newest novel, professional homestager Sandy Sullivan has reached a mid-life crossroads, realizing that while she spends her time making other people's homes look picture-perfect, her own life could use some rearranging. Desperate for a change but with her husband dragging his feet, she takes on a job out of town staging a new hotel acquired by her best friend's boyfriend. But even the best staged plans are never perfect, leaving Sandy living with her son-in-law (minus her daughter) and wondering if her best friend's man is straying. Claire Cook has done it again with another fantastic, breezy summer read!"—Whitney Spotts, Schuler Books and Music, MI
"I'm really looking forward to recommending "Best Staged Plans" as well as your other titles, especially to our summer tourist crowd. Though I'm not a "reader in readers" quite yet, the novel spoke to me in ways I didn't expect when I read the first chapter. You provided a richness and a message within a story, subtle and powerful, without beating people over the head with a moral. Nice job!"—Kasey Cox, From My Shelf Books, Wellsboro, PA