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The Reluctant Entertainer: Every Woman's Guide to Simple and Gracious Hospitality

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  • Posted November 3, 2010

    Great advice and encouragement makes hospitality easy

    The Reluctant Entertainer by Sandy Coughlin is a must-read for anyone who wants to host a party. Coughlin is an experienced hostess who spent years perfecting her technique of making people feel welcome in her home. She shares this advice with her readers, especially focusing on those who are perfectionists. Coughlin is always upbeat and encouraging, making the book read like an intimate conversation with a good friend. She includes several tried and true can't fail recipes, as well as formats for parties, and ideas for jump-starting good conversation. Coughlin also wants readers to extend their hospitality outside of just family and friends, as Jesus calls his followers to, and gives directions on how to set up providing meals for a sick or hurting family, teacher, or elderly neighbor. I am just the woman Coughlin has written the book for. I'm always nervous having people in my home, because I want everything to be just perfect, and if it isn't, I can't enjoy myself, but with Coughlin's book in my library, I'm having people over in just a few days, and I plan on incorporating her ideas immediately, especially her directive to relax. With it's beautiful color photos, terrific recipes, and conversational writing voice, this book would make a terrific housewarming, bridal shower, wedding, or any time gift.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 24, 2010

    A Definite Keeper

    The Reluctant Entertainer is not only filled with delicious, mouth-watering recipes, but it's also rich with simple solutions in overcoming anxiety when it comes to opening your home and sharing heart-warming hospitality.

    I have no idea what drew me to Sandy Coughlin's book. Maybe it was the simple and cozy cover that invited me into its pages. Maybe it was the title, The Reluctant Entertainer.

    I'm so reluctant at entertaining that my hopes were slim to none that Coughlin could help me. Surprisingly, thanks to Sandy Coughlin and her book, I now look for opportunities to share my hospitatlity, even if it is outside of my home.

    "One of the main reasons we remain reluctant and isolated is that we have bought in to the thinking that perfection is required in order to be hospitable".

    I love how Sandy dispels this myth. In the course of reading this book I had several opportunities to entertain in my home. The first opportunity was unexpected. And as much as I wanted to turn my guests away, I couldn't because I kept hearing Sandy's words.

    "The best way to impress others in your home is through genuine care and authenticity-something no killer centerpiece will ever do."

    Sandy brings comfort to the reluctant entertainer. She invites us in and shows us compassion. She shows us simple steps we can take to share hospitality. And she makes us believe, that even someone as reluctant as many of us are, we can be successful.

    I highly recommend The Reluctant Entertainer for yourself and for that unique, perfect gift. It is a book every woman should have in her household.

    By the way, I wanted to try one of Sandy's recipes to see how my family would like it before I tried serving it anyone else. I chose her Slow Cooker Chicken, because it was something I could definitely adapt to my gluten-free diet.

    The recipe was not only the easiest thing I've made, it was a big hit with my group of picky eaters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2012

    Enjoyable! Uplifting! Forgiving! Hospitality abundant!

    Heartfelt story-telling strolling through easy how-to's remind us of fotgotten lessons of what grace really means that staves off angs of doubt. Go ahead. Give it a small try, even if it is just for your partner.

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  • Posted December 19, 2010

    The Art of Hospitality

    The Reluctant Entertainer is based on Sandy Coughlin's blog about the art of hospitality. And it is a great book. If you're looking for a last minute Christmas gift for someone in your life who loves to entertain, or better yet, WANTS to entertain but has some reluctancy (i.e. conversation is hard, not a good cook, house is too little, etc.), this book would be one that would be well worth the buy. Coughlin emphasizes simplicity, finding one's entertaining style (or, I like to say, entertaining "voice"), creating warm environment that pleases all of the senses, and most importantly- entertaining as a way of practicing the ancient discipline of hospitality. Especially in this day in age when so many people are lonely, hurting, and longing for real-life, face-to-face connection, we can be inviting others into our lives and starting (or nurturing) those important relationships. Not only is this book really well-written, it is also a beautiful book. The pages are well-designed and it includes some yummy-looking recipes, along with some suggestion things to keep in your pantry. I must admit that i probably like this book a lot because she shares how Henri Nouwen has taught her more about hospitality (see his book The Wounded Healer).

    Note: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. Thanks so much for allowing me to enjoy it!

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  • Posted October 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Reluctant Entertainer

    Many women struggle with the idea of entertaining in their own homes. Perfectionism is engrained into many of us at a young age and continues to manifest itself in our adult lives. Author Sandy Coughlin invites all women who are reluctant to invite others into their homes to experience the freedom and joy of entertaining. Hospitality does not include the idea of being perfect, spending a lot of money or having to impress others. Coughlin shows that true hospitality and entertaining is about reaching out to those around us and opening ourselves to them. The Reluctant Entertainer also includes recipes, practical advice and tips to save money. I appreciated The Reluctant Entertainer because I am a very reluctant entertainer. My husband's parents visit about twice a year and occasionally I will have a girlfriend over to hang out. I would never invite someone who I don't know well over for dinner. Coughlin spends a lot of time in the book talking about perfectionism and for good reason. Perfectionism is rooted in fear and probably a tremendous factor in the reluctance of many would-be entertainers. I appreciated how she also gave ideas about hospitality and entertaining outside of just inviting people into my house. Personally, I think the idea of taking a meal to someone is a lot more appealing then having guests over. At least it's a good place to start. This book would make a great housewarming or wedding gift. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishing as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Reluctant Entertainer

    Written by the wife of the author of the "No More Christian Nice Guy / Girl" books, Coughlin makes a name for herself in the book industry. Originally a blogger that deals with hospitality, she has taken her advice and put it into a cute hardcover book. The chapters deal with entertaining in the real world, engaging the five senses, conversation, parties, decorating, and more. Interspersed are easy yet decadent recipes, as well as other tidbits. The photos included are of the utmost quality and engage readers. The book isn't overtly religious, but there are some Christian undertones. The best thing about this book is that it claims entertaining at its best is making others feel comfortable.

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  • Posted August 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Reluctant Entertainer Review

    Book: The Reluctant Entertainer
    Author: Sandy Coughlin
    Publisher: Bethany House
    ISBN: 978-0-7642-0750-1
    Genre: Women, self help

    I recently read The Reluctant Entertainer and was very impressed. First impression: it was very well presented. The book has sections in which Sandy talks about her experiences with entertaining and how we need to change our mindset towards hospitality. It is broken up with recipes at the bottom and full of practical tips along the way. If you struggle with being reserved or afraid to entertain, this book will set you free.

    What I loved about this book: No pressure! In fact, Sandy states that "One of the main reasons we remain reluctant and isolated is that we have bought in to the thinking that perfection is required in order to be hospitable" (pp.1). I loved the way it was presented, how it was broken up with recipes. And I LOVED how it was full of practical, useable ideas to make entertaining a more "entertaining" idea :)

    What I didn't like about this book: There is very little in this category. If I could come up with any criticism I suppose it would be that most of the recipes are a little complicated for me. In a way, this is nice because it means that you will be able to create that perfect, unique masterpiece for your guests. But on the other hand, if entertaining is already a challenge for you, trying to create something complicated will only add more stress to the situation. I believe that it is possible to just throw together a chicken and rice casserole and make your guests feel like the king of the castle.

    Who this book is good for: This book is good for ANY woman! Especially good for a wedding gift or new mom. Anyone who is new to the world of entertaining and really any woman who has been doing it for years. We don't ask people over because we are afraid of judgement, however we miss out on so many friendships and blessings along the way. If you struggle with insecurity in the area of entertaining or just want to check out some great recipes, than get this book: you won't be disappointed.

    **I received a complimentary copy of this book through Bethany House

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    Posted January 21, 2011

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    Posted July 25, 2011

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