Best Staged Plans

Best Staged Plans

4.1 47
by Claire Cook
     
 

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As a professional home stager, Sandy Sullivan is an expert at transforming cluttered rooms into attractive houses ready for sale. If only reinventing her life were as easy as choosing the perfect paint color. She’s eager to put her family’s suburban Boston home on the market, to downsize, and to simplify her own life. But she must first deal with her…  See more details below

Overview

As a professional home stager, Sandy Sullivan is an expert at transforming cluttered rooms into attractive houses ready for sale. If only reinventing her life were as easy as choosing the perfect paint color. She’s eager to put her family’s suburban Boston home on the market, to downsize, and to simplify her own life. But she must first deal with her foot-dragging husband and her grown son, who has moved back home after college to inhabit the basement “bat cave.”

After reading them the riot act, Sandy takes a job staging a boutique hotel in Atlanta recently acquired by her best friend’s boyfriend. The good news is that she can spend time with her recently married daughter, Shannon, in Atlanta. The bad news is that Shannon finds herself heading to Boston for job training, leaving Sandy and her southern son-in-law, Chance, as reluctant roommates. If that’s not complicated enough, Sandy begins to suspect that her best friend’s boyfriend may be seeing another woman on the side.

Filled with characters who are fresh and original, yet recognizable enough to live in your neighborhood — plus plenty of great tips and tricks for fixing up houses, and lives — this is a wise and witty story of letting go and moving on. Best Staged Plans is Claire Cook at her most humorous and heartfelt.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Midlife craziness careens into a happy ending in this crowd-pleaser for empty nesters. Sandy is a suburban Boston home stager with a to-do list to give you nightmares. She's selling the rambling home where she's raised a family, gently booting her slacker son into real life, saving her best friend from a cad, bonding with her inscrutable Southern gentleman son-in-law, and saving a marriage that's lost its way. Cook (Seven Year Switch) knows the territory of secret longing and snappy dialogue, and though she gets this charmer off to a slow start, lovable busybody Sandy more than pulls her weight as she discovers a post-mom identity, settling a goofy score with an officious Post Office worker, and tossing a lifeline to an unlucky woman in dire need of an act of faith. There's a lot going on in this sometimes wacky tale of an ambitious micromanager forced to accept that the whole world cannot be staged, but there's never any doubt Sandy will finally embrace her less than perfect life. (June)
Tom Perrotta
"Claire Cook's characters aren't rich or glamorous--they're physically imperfect, emotionally insecure, and deeply familiar."
Jacquelyn Mitchard
"If I had a sister, I'd want her to be Claire Cook . . . Claire Cook is wicked good."
Elin Hilderbrand
"Reading Claire Cook might be the most fun you have all summer."
Adriana Trigiani
"Claire Cook has an original voice, sparkling style, and a window into family life that will make you laugh and cry."
Meg Cabot
"Charming, engagingly quirky, and full of fun, Claire Cook just gets it."
New York Journal of Books
"Ms. Cook's writing only gets better with each new book."
Booklist
"Addicts to HGTV marathons will drool . . . well paced all the way to a genuinely delightful conclusion."
Joan Lang
"Claire Cook has knocked it out of the park with BEST STAGED PLANS! Everything she has written previously has been entertaining, fun, and funny, but this novel made me cry as well, then laugh again. Every page of this story of an almost-empty nester "Home Stager" trying to sell her own home is filled with humor, warmth, insight and humanity. Plus great tips and tricks! ... And a homeless woman named Naomi will steal your heart. I loved it!"
Jackie Blem
"Claire Cook is back with another gift for beach readers and book clubs everywhere--BEST STAGED PLANS....you'll find fun, heart and hilarity from cover to cover. This is yet another winner for Cook, most certainly."
Jill Miner
"BEST STAGED PLANS is jam-packed with trademark Claire Cook wit and wry observations on those everyday situations that would be really comical if you could just slow down and view them from afar - or if they were happening to, well, someone else! You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll tell all your girlfriends that BEST STAGED PLANS is THE beach read of the summer. I know we are!"
Karen Vail
"Another wise and witty novel from Claire Cook. There are some real nuggets of knowledge here on home staging, clearing your life of clutter and 'recipes' for creations made from prepared foods from Trader Joe's. I know this will make for some lively book club discussions for ladies of a particular 'stage' of life!"
Lisa Kennally
"In true 'Claire Cook form' BEST STAGED PLANS is thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish...fun, light-hearted but moving at the same time. An uplifting and fun read."
Whitney Spotts
"At the beginning of bestselling author Claire Cook's newest novel, professional homestager Sandy Sullivan has reached a mid-life crossroads, realizing that while she spends her time making other people's homes look picture-perfect, her own life could use some rearranging. Desperate for a change but with her husband dragging his feet, she takes on a job out of town staging a new hotel acquired by her best friend's boyfriend. But even the best staged plans are never perfect, leaving Sandy living with her son-in-law (minus her daughter) and wondering if her best friend's man is straying. Claire Cook has done it again with another fantastic, breezy summer read!"
Kasey Cox
"I'm really looking forward to recommending "Best Staged Plans" as well as your other titles, especially to our summer tourist crowd. Though I'm not a "reader in readers" quite yet, the novel spoke to me in ways I didn't expect when I read the first chapter. You provided a richness and a message within a story, subtle and powerful, without beating people over the head with a moral. Nice job!"
From the Publisher
"[A] crowd-pleaser for empty nesters."—Publishers Weekly"

Fans of HGTV and of Cook's previous charming fiction (Seven Year Switch; Must Love Dogs) will adore this light, funny read."—Library Journal (Starred Review)"

Ms. Cook's writing only gets better with each new book."—New York Journal of Books"

Addicts to HGTV marathons will drool . . . well paced all the way to a genuinely delightful conclusion."—Booklist"

Cook knows the territory of secret longing and snappy dialog."—Publishers Weekly"

Claire Cook's characters aren't rich or glamorous—they're physically imperfect, emotionally insecure, and deeply familiar."—Tom Perrotta, author of Little Children"

Reading Claire Cook might be the most fun you have all summer."—Elin Hilderbrand, author of The Castaways"

Claire Cook has an original voice, sparkling style, and a window into family life that will make you laugh and cry."—Adriana Trigiani, author of Big Stone Gap"

Charming, engagingly quirky, and full of fun, Claire Cook just gets it."—Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries"

Claire Cook has knocked it out of the park with BEST STAGED PLANS! Everything she has written previously has been entertaining, fun, and funny, but this novel made me cry as well, then laugh again. Every page of this story of an almost-empty nester "Home Stager" trying to sell her own home is filled with humor, warmth, insight and humanity. Plus great tips and tricks! ... And a homeless woman named Naomi will steal your heart. I loved it!"—Joan Lang, Front Street Book Shop, Scituate MA"

Claire Cook is back with another gift for beach readers and book clubs everywhere—BEST STAGED PLANS....you'll find fun, heart and hilarity from cover to cover. This is yet another winner for Cook, most certainly."
Jackie Blem, Tattered Cover, Denver, CO"

BEST STAGED PLANS is jam-packed with trademark Claire Cook wit and wry observations on those everyday situations that would be really comical if you could just slow down and view them from afar - or if they were happening to, well, someone else! You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll tell all your girlfriends that BEST STAGED PLANS is THE beach read of the summer. I know we are!"—Jill Miner, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI"

Another wise and witty novel from Claire Cook. There are some real nuggets of knowledge here on home staging, clearing your life of clutter and 'recipes' for creations made from prepared foods from Trader Joe's. I know this will make for some lively book club discussions for ladies of a particular 'stage' of life!"—Karen Vail, Titcomb's Bookshop, Sandwich, MA"

In true 'Claire Cook form' BEST STAGED PLANS is thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish...fun, light-hearted but moving at the same time. An uplifting and fun read."—Lisa Kennally, R. J. Julia, Madison, CT"

At the beginning of bestselling author Claire Cook's newest novel, professional homestager Sandy Sullivan has reached a mid-life crossroads, realizing that while she spends her time making other people's homes look picture-perfect, her own life could use some rearranging. Desperate for a change but with her husband dragging his feet, she takes on a job out of town staging a new hotel acquired by her best friend's boyfriend. But even the best staged plans are never perfect, leaving Sandy living with her son-in-law (minus her daughter) and wondering if her best friend's man is straying. Claire Cook has done it again with another fantastic, breezy summer read!"—Whitney Spotts, Schuler Books and Music, MI"

I'm really looking forward to recommending "Best Staged Plans" as well as your other titles, especially to our summer tourist crowd. Though I'm not a "reader in readers" quite yet, the novel spoke to me in ways I didn't expect when I read the first chapter. You provided a richness and a message within a story, subtle and powerful, without beating people over the head with a moral. Nice job!"—Kasey Cox, From My Shelf Books, Wellsboro, PA

Library Journal
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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781455811427
Publisher:
Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
06/28/2011
Edition description:
Unabridged
Product dimensions:
7.12(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are saying about this

Adriana Trigiani

"Claire Cook has an original voice, sparkling style, and a window into family life that will make you laugh and cry." --(Adriana Trigiani, author of Big Stone Gap

)
Elin Hilderbrand

"Reading Claire Cook might be the most fun you have all summer." --(Elin Hilderbrand, author of The Castaways)

Tom Perrotta
Best Staged Plans is Claire Cook at her most humorous and heartfelt.

Praise for Claire Cook

"Claire Cook's characters aren't rich or glamorous—they're physically imperfect, emotionally insecure, and deeply familiar." --(Tom Perrotta, author of Little Children)

Meg Cabot

"Charming, engagingly quirky, and full of fun, Claire Cook just gets it." --(Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries)

Jacquelyn Mitchard

"If I had a sister, I'd want her to be Claire Cook . . . Claire Cook is wicked good." --(Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean)

Meet the Author

Claire Cook is the bestselling author of the novels The Wildwater Walking Club, Summer Blowout, Life’s a Beach, Must Love Dogs, Ready to Fall, and Multiple Choice. Formerly a teacher of physical fitness and creative writing, she has also had stints as a copywriter, radio continuity director, garden designer, dance and aerobics choreographer. She lives in Scituate, Massachusetts, often called the Irish Riviera, with her family.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Scituate, Massachusetts
Date of Birth:
February 14, 1955
Place of Birth:
Alexandria, Virginia
Education:
B.A., Film and Creative Writing, Syracuse University
Website:
http://www.clairecook.com

Customer Reviews

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Best Staged Plans 4.1 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 47 reviews.
danell More than 1 year ago
I read this book in a matter of hours yesterday afternoon. It was an easy read and really enjoyable. The characters seemed like they could be anyone in my hometown. There were several passages that made me laugh out loud. I am eager to read other Claire Cook books after reading this one.
JackieValentine More than 1 year ago
I loved Claire Cook's latest book, Best Staged Plans. It was a fun read and so real with great, fulfilling twists.
AllieL More than 1 year ago
I'm a huge fan of all of Claire Cook's books, and I think this may just be my favorite! Sandra is such a wonderful, relatable character. BEST STAGED PLANS is warm, fun, and smart - an absolute joy to read! I love the insider info on home staging and the decorating tips. As someone who is trying to de-clutter my life, I love how practical Sandra is and think I will put some of her strategies to work for me. I plan to become a dinner "assembler" too! I'd love to know what happens to Sandra next!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes, I admit it. We talk, we fight. I have even named her! Claire Cook has done it yet again. She has created characters that you can relate to so well, you wonder if you are being spied on! LOL JK. Sandra (the main character) has even helped me cook this weekend, and that is no easy task. This book is filled with ideas for meals, dressing your rooms and, of course, giving you the entertainment of a light, beachy read. Great job Claire Cook! I look forward to the next one, Wallflower!
Lynettj More than 1 year ago
I recommend Best Staged Plans. The story is solid and engaging. It has funny parts (losing glasses!) but also tackles some of the serious side of a woman's life (moving, older kids who need motivation). I found the book easy to read and enjoyable. I enjoy Claire Cook's style of writing and look forward to any future books!
ktl422 More than 1 year ago
I love all of Claire's books; just like the rest I could not put this one down. It is so easy to get involved in the book and relate to all the characters. My favorite part was when Sandy was helping Naomi get back on her feet, so many people just walk by and not give a second thought about the homeless. It was really resfreshing to read and watch their relationship grow from strangers to friends. I can't wait for her next one!! I preordered this book for my Nook Color, recommend the nook color for all books it makes for easy, portable reading!!
WritergalBea More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I've read by Claire Cook, but it certainly won't be my last. It was a fun (and funny!) book. Great summer time reading!
librarianjudy More than 1 year ago
Home stager Sandy Sullivan is frustrated. Her husband and son are not with her on the same decluttering page and her goal of selling her home and simplifying her life is stalled. Asked to take on a challenging renovation job on an Atlanta hotel, she leaves her husband and son to continue sorting through the clutter, and she takes off on an adventure. It isn't long before her plans begin to go awry. Her arranagements to stay with her married daughter and her husband are the first snafu-her daughter has to go to Boston for a month to work, leaving Sandy and her new son-in-law to develop a relationship. Next, while working with the current boyfriend of her best friend on the hotel renovation, she is dubious that he is remaining faithful to Denise. Sandy's ability to transfer her talents for renovation to a new city is awe inspiring and as she meets each new challenge, more of her personality and inner self is revealed. She is a character who shares a characteristic with Claire Cook's other female protagonists, in that in many ways she is Everywoman of a certain age and stage of life. The other characters are well developed and the story is carefully laid out to insure Cook's trademark humor and emotion. How Cook weaves together the many threads of Sandy's life as well as the plots of this book, is a tour de force. Definitely a good read and a chance to meet a new friend in Sandy Sullivan.
lovesthosebooks More than 1 year ago
Best Staged Plans is the story of a middle aged women who finds herself wondering if what she thought she always wanted is what she still wants now. I found myself relating to Sandy even though I am not yet at that middle aged stage of life. I could see myself in her need to control everything around her. This is something I have been working on myself! I wanted to tell her not to sweat the small stuff! I enjoyed taking the journey to figuring out what was next in her life. For me this was a quick and very enjoyable read, perfect for a lazy day at the beach!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I always enjoy Calire Cook because I am guaranteed a solid story, real characters, good values, and real life experiences without major drama. There are always simple life lessons in each book! This one was no exception!
lyonspride More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy reading Claire Cook's books! Once you read one you can't stop reading her!!
ALaRue More than 1 year ago
Perfect reading for this "stage" in my life; and relates to all ages! So much fun to read and just what I needed. I would give it MORE than 5 stars.
Xasha More than 1 year ago
Good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Claire writes how I think. Weird, stream of consciousness, that hits life on the head.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I always start by reading the lowest reviews first and work my way up to the five-stars. In this case the lowest reviews were probably written by younger readers looking for more action, romance, relateability. This book is sweet and smart and funny. It covers current societal issues thoughtful people care about as well as the feelings and anxieties both humerous and painful that go with an emptying nest. It's an extremely enjoyable and easy read. Had me hooked from page one. I will be getting this authors other books and watching for new ones. Lots of fun.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LC112648LC More than 1 year ago
This was a great fun read! First time I have read this author and I have already ordered more of her books ! Enjoy!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. A lot of fun to read and interesting information as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
quaintinns More than 1 year ago
As usual, enjoyed Claire Cook’s humor, her rich characters, and home staging was delightful, since I am a home stager and a marketing consultant for boutique hotels, and best of all centered in Atlanta Midtown) where I lived most of my life! Loved the interior design and gourmet tips, as well as the quick wit of Sandy and her best friend Denise. The banter between mother and daughter and son in law was so much fun. Best of all was Sandy taking Naomi under her wing and saving her life. Would highly recommend Best Staged Plans (audiobook), as Janet Metzger was outstanding, as the narrator and performer. I look forward to reading more of Claire’s books as always full of humor and heartfelt stories for women-very entertaining!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Instead of staging a house, try staging your life. But, stand back because life might have other plans. Great believable characters in a fast paced story. Well worth a read
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