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"Meeting" Claire Cook

Posted by Nancy Carty Lepri on June 20, 2011 at 12:12 PM

I recently had the pleasure of "meeting" Claire Cook. I not only enjoy her writing tremendously, but the fact that we share our love of New England (Massachusetts in particular) gave us a bond.

Claire is a down-to-earth author who just happens to have great literary talent. Reading and reviewing her book Best Staged Plans (the review I wrote for New York Journal of Books is below) proved to be one of the best books I've had the opportunity to read and review.

Claire has the knack for putting the reader into the middle of her story, making the reader feel part of her book. Not only does she involve the reader, but she makes the reader feel as though she knows them well.

I highly recommend reading Claire's books, and I look forward to seeing more of them become movies.

Way to go,'s been an honor and a priviledge to get to know you.


Best Staged Plans


  by Claire Cook


     June 7, 2011



     256 pages

     Contemporary Women's Fiction


Claire Cook wrote her first novel in her minivan outside her daughter's swim practice. She is now the bestselling author of Seven Year Switch, The Wildwater Walking Club, Summer Blowout, Life's a Beach, Multiple Choice, Must Love Dogs, and Ready to Fall. Claire teaches reinvention and writing workshops and shares tips for both on her website. She lives in Scituate, MA, in an area known as the Irish Riviera, with her husband.



Middle-aged Sandy Sullivan works as a home-stager in the suburbs of Boston. But Sandy is frustrated. She desperately wants to sell the huge home she and her husband Greg bought many years ago. Greg needs to be constantly prodded into making the necessary updates and repairs before their home can be presentable to buyers. And, their gown son, Luke, appears to be a permanent fixture, living in the basement in what he calls his "man cave."


Sandy's best friend, Denise discloses the fact that her boyfriend wants to offer her a job in Atlanta updating a rundown boutique hotel he just purchased. Sandy jumps at the chance to get away, not only to perform a different and exciting assignment, but also to spend time with her married daughter, Shannon, and her new husband Chance, who happen to live there.


Depressed and frustrated, Sandy wonders where the next phase in her life will turn, so she takes advantage of the job offer for a change of scenery. As she leaves home, she informs Greg and Luke not to contact her until the house is ready to be put on the market.


When Sandy meets Josh, Denise's younger boyfriend, she experiences serious doubts about him, both as a mate for Denise and as the owner of the hotel he purchased and hired Sandy to renovate and stage.


Not long after Sandy arrives in Atlanta, Shannon receives a promotion and must go to Boston for training, leaving her alone with her well-mannered Southern son-in-law...a young man that seems to set her teeth on edge.  


Struggling through doubts about her marriage and her future, Sandy meets Naomi, a woman who teaches her a few things about life, proving the grass is not always greener on the other side.


Ms. Cook relates Sandy's story in the first person, making the reader privy to all her inner thoughts and expressed needs. Infused with humor and middle-aged angst are some very valuable tips on home staging, showing Ms. Cook's writing only gets better with each new book. 


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