Wallflower in Bloom: A Novel

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From the acclaimed bestselling author of Must Love Dogs comes a winning and witty new novel about a woman who emerges from the shadow of her overbearing family and finds herself “dancing with the stars.”

Deirdre Griffin has a great life; it’s just not her own. She’s the around-the-clock personal assistant to her charismatic, high-maintenance, New Age guru brother, Tag. As the family wallflower, her only worth seems to be as gatekeeper to Tag at his New England seaside compound.

Then Deirdre’s sometime boyfriend informs her that he is marrying another woman, who just happens to be having the baby he told Deirdre he never wanted. While drowning her sorrows in Tag’s expensive vodka, Deirdre decides to use his massive online following to get herself voted on as a last-minute Dancing with the Stars replacement. It’ll get her back in shape, mentally and physically. It might even get her a life of her own. Deirdre’s fifteen minutes of fame have begun.

Irresistible and offbeat, Wallflower in Bloom is an original and deeply satisfying story of having the courage to take a leap into the spotlight, no matter where you land.
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About the author

Claire Cook wrote her first novel in her minivan when she was forty-five. At fifty, she walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the film adaptation of her second novel, Must Love Dogs, starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. She is the bestselling author of nine other novels and divides her time between the suburbs of Atlanta and Boston. Visit her at ClaireCook.com.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Jun 5, 2012
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9781451672787
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Contemporary Women
Fiction / Family Life
Fiction / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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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

Don't Miss Book 2, The Wildwater Walking Club: Back on Track!

"The Wildwater Walking Club is a quick smart read that will get you thinking about walking, friendship, and making time for the things you love."—Bookreporter.com 

By the New York Times bestselling author of Must Love Dogs, a fun and inspiring novel about women and friendship—and how even big changes happen one step at a time. 

Join Noreen, Tess and Rosie as they walk and talk, talk and walk, tally their steps, share their secrets, and begin putting their lives back together. You'll be lacing up your own sneakers in no time. 

"Lively and inspiring!"—Hartford Courant 
"A great feel-good story."—Philadelphia Examiner 

After losing her boyfriend and her job in one fell swoop, Noreen has no idea what her next step is. So she puts on a new pair of sneakers and a seriously outdated pair of exercise pants, and walks. Before long she's joined by two neighbors as lost as she is and figures out time flies and fitness is actually fun when you're walking with friends. Throw in a road trip to Seattle for a lavender festival, a career-coaching group that looks like a bad sequel to The Breakfast Club, some terrific romantic comedy twists and turns, a quirky multigenerational cast of supporting characters, and the result is a tribute to female friendship that will inspire you to pick up the phone and call all your old friends—or maybe even start your own walking group. 

Walking Group Guide and Book Club Questions included. 

"Readers who enjoy a celebration of friendship will want to walk the beach alongside the Wildwater trio."—Midwest Book Review 

"The Wildwater Walking Club reminds us of what's important in life - the joy of friendship, the power of a brisk walk, and of course the importance of a good book. I couldn't put it down.—Anisha Lakhani 

"The woman of The Wildwater Walking Club are a delightful trio, full of heart and determination. As they - literally - put one foot in front of the other, the three new friends find unlikely paths that point them toward more fulfilling lives. Their journey left me genuinely inspired (and with the curious urge to go out and buy a clothesline)."—Jean Reynolds Page 

From Claire Cook, New York Times bestselling author of the novel turned romantic comedy movie starring Diane Lane and John Cusack, comes Must Love Dogs: A Howliday Tail, Book 6 of the hilarious and heartwarming Must Love Dogs series.

 

In the charming small beach town of Marshbury, Massachusetts, preschool teacher Sarah has the heartbreak of a messy divorce behind her and the promise of a second chance with John ahead. When she finds out that buying the family house also means hosting the holidays, her only goal is survival. They’ve got a house full of animals and a renovation in full throttle. Sarah’s single and pregnant teaching assistant Polly is staying with them, too, as is her brother Johnny, whose marriage is on the rocks, and Sarah has just been made chair of the Bayberry Preschool holiday performance. Can she and John survive all this?

 

 

THE MUST LOVE DOGS SERIES:  
Must Love Dogs (#1)  
Must Love Dogs: New Leash on Life (#2)  
Must Love Dogs: Fetch You Later (#3) 
Must Love Dogs: Bark & Roll Forever (#4) 
Must Love Dogs: Who Let the Cats In? (#5) 

Must Love Dogs: A Howliday Tail (#6)
  
Nobody drives you crazier than family, and nobody loves you more.

 
PRAISE FOR MUST LOVE DOGS:  

 

“Must Love Dogs has already been a major motion picture, and now New York Timesbestselling author Claire Cook’s hilarious and heartwarming series is begging to hit the screen again as a miniseries or a sitcom.”-Nancy Carty Lepri, New York Journal of Books

“Reading about how life goes for this wacky marvelously lovable family becomes addictive.”-Pamela Kramer, Examiner
 
"Funny and pitch perfect." -Chicago Tribune  
 
"Wildly witty" -USA Today  
 
"Cook dishes up plenty of charm." -San Francisco Chronicle  
 
"A hoot" -The Boston Globe  
 
"A hilariously original tale about dating and its place in a modern woman's life." –BookPage  
 
Praise for Claire Cook:  
 
"Claire Cook (Must Love Dogs) has built a brand writing light-hearted women's fiction blending kernels of the absurd and comedic in compulsively readable combinations." -Shelf Awareness  
 
"The exuberant and charming Claire Cook is one of the sassiest and funniest creators of contemporary women's fiction." -The Times-Picayune  
 
"[Cook's] poignancy and sassy humor resonate with readers; her theme of reinvention uplifts and inspires." -Savannah Magazine 

“[A] beach chair worthy read."—New York Times 

"[A] hot summer beach book."—USA Today

"Bestseller Cook charms again in this lively, warm-hearted look at changing courses mid-life."—People 

Just when Jill Murray has finally figured out how to make it on her own, her husband Seth is back, proving he can't even run away reliably. Now Jill has to face the fact that there's simply no way she can be a good mom without letting her ex back into her daughter Anatasia's life. They say that every seven years you become a completely new person, and it takes a Costa Rican getaway to help Jill make her choice - between the woman she is and the woman she wants to be. 

"A beach tote couldn't ask for more."—Kirkus Reviews

"Seven years ago, Claire Cook told us we 'Must Love Dogs." But must we also love ex-husbands?…Cook takes a closer look at a complex situation."—New York Post

“Roll out your beach blanket for this sweet summer read about making mistakes and moving on.”—Publishers Weekly

"A lot of fun to read? Definitely!"—Redbook 

"With wit and tenderness, Claire Cook sweeps us into the life of Jill Murray, a feisty single mom trying to stitch together a future after being abandoned by her husband. This is a delightful story of love, loss, and the surprising events that healed her heart. I cheered for Jill the entire way."—Beth Hoffman

"A perfect beach read. Claire Cook once again demonstrates that she's a master in creating funny, warm, relatable characters you root for from the very first page."—Allison Winn Scotch

"Smart, truly hilarious, and entirely sympathetic. Like a hot bubble bath or a holiday at the beach, you won't want it to end."—Cecily Von Ziegesar


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

The Must Love Dogs series:
Must Love Dogs (#1)
Must Love Dogs: New Leash on Life (#2)
Must Love Dogs: Fetch You Later (#3)
Must Love Dogs: Bark & Roll Forever (#4)
Must Love Dogs: Who Let the Cats In? (#5)

From Claire Cook, New York Times bestselling author of the much-loved novel-turned-movie starring Diane Lane and John Cusack, comes Must Love Dogs: Bark & Roll Forever, Book 4 of the hilarious and heartwarming Must Love Dogs series.

Sarah and John are finally going to move in together. But where? And what’s up with Sarah’s ex enrolling his twins at Bayberry Preschool and Sarah’s wasband’s wife trying to sell Sarah’s house right out from under her? Sarah’s new teaching assistant has a secret, her niece Siobhan has a boyfriend who could be trouble, and her dad has a new job working for the Bark & Roll Forever ladies as well as plans to date at least one of them!

PRAISE FOR MUST LOVE DOGS:

“Wildy witty"—USA Today

"Cook dishes up plenty of charm."—San Francisco Chronicle

"Funny and pitch perfect."—Chicago Tribune

"A HOOT"—The Boston Globe

"A hilariously original tale about dating and its place in a modern woman's life."—Book Page

"This utterly charming novel by Cook is a fun read, perfect for whiling away an afternoon on the beach."—Library Journal

"These characters are so engaging I would probably enjoy reading about them sitting around discussing dish soap, but fortunately, the plot here is fresh, heartfelt, and always moving forward—not to mention laugh-out-loud funny."—Stephanie Burns, Book Perfume

(5 stars!) "If you haven't read a Claire Cook book yet, start with this one. You don't need to have read the first book, but why not grab that one, too, and read it? Her books are like potato chips—you can't have just one!"—Pamela Kramer, National Book Reviewer, Examiner.com

 

A More Magazine Don’t Miss pick by the New York Times bestselling author of Must Love Dogs. 

"Her quirky voice and sense of humor are as strong as ever." -The Orlando Sentinel 

March Monroe and her daughter Olivia are going to college. March knows that Olivia is going, naturally, since she and her husband have just made their first exorbitant tuition payment. But Olivia doesn’t exactly know the arrangement . . . yet. Imagine Olivia’s surprise when one day she shows up for training at a local radio station and finds out that one of the other interns is . . . her mother. 

"very funny...with plenty of giggles." -The Hartford Courant 

“Cook has a gift for telling an entertaining and funny story that is light enough for a beach read, yet weighty enough to get under your skin and into your heart. Her characters are quirky and inconsistent, good-hearted folks who make mistakes and have regrets, but none of the damage is lasting. Love and forgiveness beat out hate and revenge.” —Patriot Ledger 

“Cook’s ability to make families foibles ring true -- and funny -- ensures a delightful read.”—Library Journal 

“Claire Cook infuses her novels with that sassy kind of off-beat humor that makes you giggle, shake your head, and then keep reading. And isn’t that what you want a beach book to do?” —Florida Today 

“Cook's characters are delightful and quirky, and the storyline is fast paced and lively with just the right touch of humor and romance.” —Fresh Fiction 

“Nobody does the easy-breezy beach read with a lighter hand than Claire Cook.” —Hartford Courant  

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