I’ll admit it took me a little while to like Sandra Sullivan in Claire Cook’s Best Staged Plans, but by the end of the book, I was laughing aloud at her antics with her best friend, Denise. Cook, author of Must Love Dogs and Life’s a Beach, takes a woman into a mid-life crisis that will leave readers laughing.
Sandra Sullivan is a professional home stager. She’s made over her career time after time. Now, she’s ready to make over her life. She wants to simplify it, and move on to the next stage. What’s standing in her way? Her husband, Greg, and her son, Luke, who moved home after college. Greg’s slow to help with the staging of their house. While she wants to move on to the next stage of life, he wants to know what’s wrong with this one.
Greg and Luke drag their feet one too many times for Sandra, though. She packs her suitcase, and heads to Atlanta to take a job staging a boutique hotel, with plans to stay with her married daughter, Shannon. Even those plans fall through, since Shannon has to train for a new job. She’s leaving town, and Sandra is left staying with the son-in-law she barely knows.
The job at the hotel is just what Sandra, and the reader, needs. Sandra’s relationship with a homeless woman, and her escapades when her best friend, Denise, arrives in town, are priceless. The innuendos as the two women go paintball shopping are wonderful.
It takes time, distance, and a friend, to bring Sandra to her senses. And, once the reader gets into the story, Best Staged Plans becomes a treat. Sandra and Denise prove you can’t stage life. But, it certainly can be entertaining along the way.
Claire Cook’s website is www.ClaireCook.com.
Best Staged Plans by Claire Cook. Hyperion Books. ©2011. ISBN 9781401341176 (hardcover), 241p.
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