Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Wallflower in Bloom by Claire Cook

What would you do if you were in your thirties, a middle child, and trapped in the shadow of your famous older brother? When Deirdre Griffin has finally had too much of her demanding family, she takes one flying leap in Claire Cook's Wallflower in Bloom.

Deirdre has spent years as a gatekeeper, the personal assistant for her guru brother, Tag, handling his travel arrangements, his online media presence. While everyone is gaga over Tag and his rock star aura, she's always felt as if she was the wallflower in the family with no life of her own. She answers to Tag 24/7, and lives in a converted sheep shed on his property. Tag is the family business. Even his ex-wives live in houses on his property. But, Deirdre can't take it anymore when Tag even tries to interfere in her love life. It takes a lot to shove Deirdre over the edge, but that embarrassing moment in front of a man she liked was it. She quit her job with Tag, refused all messages from the family, and flew home to get drunk.

While in the midst of her pity party, Deirdre came across a notice that the TV show Dancing With The Stars was looking for one replacement for the season, and people had the chance to vote online for the selection. As a child, she was the best dancer in the family, so she took her Internet skills, went online, and asked Tag's Facebook and Twitter fans to vote for his sister to get on DWTS. And then "the family wallflower" was on her way to LA for her own fifteen minutes of fame.

However, even in Hollywood, Deirdre was still "Tag's sister." And, preparing to compete isn't as easy as her tap dance lessons as a child. It will take a blow-up fight with Tag, an interview disaster, and a loss to make Deirdre finally take a look at where she is in life. "I had a choice here. I could spend the rest of my life worrying about how I didn't measure up. Or I could get in the game and dance my ass off."

Claire Cook's latest novel is funny, and touching, with a few heartbreaking moments. At the same time, it's a story of courage, the courage of a woman who finally makes a break for it in midlife. Even if Deirdre made her original decision in a low moment of anger, embarrassment and self-pity, she finally found the spirit to dance out of her brother's shadow. It's difficult to confront the family dynamics that have rooted a person in a role, but to do it after living with an overbearing family for years takes guts. Readers will vote to keep Deirdre dancing through life in Cook's charming Wallflower in Bloom.

Claire Cook's website is

Wallflower in Bloom by Claire Cook. Touchstone. 2012. ISBN 9781451672763 (hardcover), 257p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Ratan Kaul said...

Hi Claire, congrats for a great review. Best wishes for the success of your book.

Ingrid King said...

I love Claire Cook's books, and I'm happy to see there's a new one for me to enjoy!