Library Journal named Best Staged Plans one of the best Women’s Fiction Books of the year!
"HGTV addicts will drool."—Booklist
“Sandra is a professional home stager based out of the Boston area. Knowledgeable about home design and full of ideas, she somehow can’t manage to get her own house ready for the market, thanks to her slacking-off husband and son. When she gets an offer to stage a boutique hotel in Atlanta, she leaps at the chance to run away and get some distance and perspective. She soon starts to wonder whether her whole life, not just her home, needs a makeover. Fans of HGTV and of Cook’s previous charming fiction (Seven Year Switch; Must Love Dogs) will adore this light, funny read.”—★ STARRED Library Journal review!!
"Ms. Cook's writing only gets better with each new book."—New York Journal of Books
Sandy Sullivan is a professional home stager who lives and works in the Boston suburbs. So getting rid of her own house and downsizing should be a breeze, right? Well, best staged plans and all, Sandy's husband, Greg, is dragging his feet and their son, Luke, has returned home and moved into the "bat cave" in the basement. Sandy reads them both the riot act and takes a job staging a boutique hotel recently acquired by her best friend's boyfriend. The good news is that she can spend time in Atlanta with her recently married daughter, Shannon. The bad news is that Shannon soon receives a promotion and heads back up to Boston for training, leaving Sandy and her Southern son-in-law, Chance, as reluctant roommates. And Sandy finds herself in another delicate situation when she suspects her best friend's boyfriend may be seeing another woman on the side. Fixing up houses may turn out to be easier than fixing up lives.
“Conflict between happy family memories and the need to move forward is tempered by a great running gag about reading glasses, realistic relationships with friends and children, and much needed perspective from a stranger in need... Addicts to HGTV marathons will drool over Sandra’s tips for paint samples and thrift-store bargains. Cook’s likable heroine is charming without being silly, and her story is very well paced all the way to a genuinely delightful conclusion.”—Booklist
“Midlife craziness...crowd-pleaser for empty nesters...charmer...Cook knows the territory of secret longing and snappy dialog.” —Publishers Weekly
“Genuine, deftly drawn characters…[Cook’s] poignancy and sassy humor resonate with readers; her theme of reinvention uplifts and inspires….It’s the perfect companion for an afternoon under a beach umbrella with sand between your toes.” —Savannah Magazine
“The exuberant and charming Claire Cook is one of the sassiest and funniest creators of contemporary women’s fiction,”—The Times-Picayune.
Midlife craziness careens into a happy ending in this crowd-pleaser for empty nesters. Sandy is a suburban Boston home stager with a to-do list to give you nightmares. She's selling the rambling home where she's raised a family, gently booting her slacker son into real life, saving her best friend from a cad, bonding with her inscrutable Southern gentleman son-in-law, and saving a marriage that's lost its way. Cook (Seven Year Switch) knows the territory of secret longing and snappy dialogue, and though she gets this charmer off to a slow start, lovable busybody Sandy more than pulls her weight as she discovers a post-mom identity, settling a goofy score with an officious Post Office worker, and tossing a lifeline to an unlucky woman in dire need of an act of faith. There's a lot going on in this sometimes wacky tale of an ambitious micromanager forced to accept that the whole world cannot be staged, but there's never any doubt Sandy will finally embrace her less than perfect life.
Best Staged Plans
Fun, light reading, interesting decorating ideas. Apparently there really is a truwhip (I googled it), sold at our local healthfood store. I am looking forward to trying it. Four stars instead of five because the characters needed more depth. Overall, good book.