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Wallflower in Bloom

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Overview

From the acclaimed bestselling author of Must Love Dogs comes a winning and witty new novel about a woman who emerges from the shadow of her overbearing family and finds herself “dancing with the stars.”

Deirdre Griffin has a great life; it’s just not her own. She’s the around-the-clock personal assistant to her charismatic, high-maintenance, New Age guru brother, Tag. As the family wallflower, her only worth seems to be as gatekeeper to Tag at...

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Wallflower in Bloom: A Novel

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Overview

From the acclaimed bestselling author of Must Love Dogs comes a winning and witty new novel about a woman who emerges from the shadow of her overbearing family and finds herself “dancing with the stars.”

Deirdre Griffin has a great life; it’s just not her own. She’s the around-the-clock personal assistant to her charismatic, high-maintenance, New Age guru brother, Tag. As the family wallflower, her only worth seems to be as gatekeeper to Tag at his New England seaside compound.

Then Deirdre’s sometime boyfriend informs her that he is marrying another woman, who just happens to be having the baby he told Deirdre he never wanted. While drowning her sorrows in Tag’s expensive vodka, Deirdre decides to use his massive online following to get herself voted on as a last-minute Dancing with the Stars replacement. It’ll get her back in shape, mentally and physically. It might even get her a life of her own. Deirdre’s fifteen minutes of fame have begun.

Irresistible and offbeat, Wallflower in Bloom is an original and deeply satisfying story of having the courage to take a leap into the spotlight, no matter where you land.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Cook’s newest novel (after Best Staged Plans) is a fun and inspiring read. Family wallflower Deirdre Griffin has played second fiddle her entire life to her siblings, none more so than brother Tag, “a cross between a guru and a rock star,” according to Deirdre. “Think Deepak Chopra meets Bono.” With Deirdre working as Tag’s personal assistant and gatekeeper, her status doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon, especially since Tag is on the cusp of becoming America’s “next big thing,” putting Deirdre in charge of managing his “brand” 24/7. During an event in Austin, Tex., the two have a heated exchange, and Deirdre impulsively quits, taking advantage of an unexpected opportunity to appear on Dancing with the Stars, a move that might help her come out of both her shell and her brother’s shadow. Cook’s humor and narrative execution is impeccable; Deirdre’s increasing self-consciousness elicits support for her to overcome insecurity and endure in her journey to find happiness and fulfillment on her own terms. Agent: Lisa Bankoff, ICM. (June)
San Francisco Book Review
“A fun-filled romp of a middle-aged womancoming into her own. Through Claire Cook’s skilled narrative, [readers] won’trealize till the very end they’ve been taught a wonderful lesson. It is nevertoo late to find your place in the world.”
Working Mother
A Working Mother "Summer Beach Read"
New York Journal of Books
“Cook’s penchant forhitting the emotional sore spot and combining it with humor hits the mark. ...A thoroughly enjoyable and amusing read, this story is sure to delight.”
From the Publisher
“A fun and inspiring read . . . Cook’s humor and narrative execution is impeccable; Deirdre’s increasing self-consciousness elicits support for her to overcome insecurity and endure in her journey to find happiness and fulfillment on her own terms.” —Publishers Weekly

“Filled with sweet humor and all the eye-rolling moments of jumbled yet ultimately loving family relations, romance, and coming into one’s own, this women’s fiction is a definite pleaser for devotees of the genre.” —Booklist

Indie Bound
"This is a very funny read that will make you roll your eyes about family!"
Kirkus Reviews
Cook, author of the bestselling Must Love Dogs (2002), delivers a minor comedy featuring a trod-upon woman who finds herself a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. Deirdre has a bit of a jet-setter's life: As personal assistant to Tag (one name only, please), a wildly popular self-help guru, she flies around the country, stays in chic hotels and lives in an adorable cottage on Tag's well-appointed estate. The only problem is that Tag is her older brother, and her job feels like an extension of her childhood, with Tag always bossing her around. Tag was the star then too, and life for Deirdre got stuck a couple of decades ago. At an event in Texas, she's finally had enough: Tag is his usual self-centered self as he sabotages a first kiss between Deirdre and Steve, an old college friend of Tag's. Deirdre quits, flies back home to Massachusetts, and runs into Mitchell, her on-again, off-again, marriage-shy boyfriend, who breaks the news he's getting married to his pregnant girlfriend. Like any rational woman, Deirdre goes home and gets drunk. While in such a state, she signs up to become Dancing with the Stars' first noncelebrity contestant (people vote for the winner online). But Deirdre has a huge advantage--Tag's hundreds of thousands of Facebook and Twitter followers, who she cleverly enlists by pretending to be Tag. She wins by a landslide and is soon in L.A. practicing with Ilya. Meanwhile, no one is running Tag's empire, and the family, all employed by Tag (including both his ex-wives), wants Deirdre back. Can Deirdre find an identity away from her family? Can she get past the first round of the competition? There are few surprises here (though there is some insider DWTS trivia), so much is left to Cook's ability to charm the reader, which she does most of the time. Amiable fluff for poolside.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451672763
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication date: 6/5/2012
  • Pages: 260
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Claire Cook

Claire Cook wrote her first novel in her minivan when she was forty-five. At fifty, she walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the adaptation her second novel, Must Love Dogs, starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. She is the bestselling author of eight other novels and divides her time between the suburbs of Atlanta and Boston. Visit ClaireCook.com.

Biography

Raised on Nancy Drew mysteries, Claire Cook has wanted to write ever since she was a little girl. She majored in theater and creative writing at Syracuse University and immersed herself in a number of artistic endeavors (copywriter, radio continuity director, garden designer, and dance and aerobics choreographer), yet somehow her dreams got pushed to the side for more real-life matters -- like marriage, motherhood, and a teaching career. Decades passed, then one day she found herself parked in her minivan at 5 AM, waiting for her daughter to finish swim practice. She was struck with a now-or-never impulse and began writing on the spot. By the end of the season, she had a first draft. Her first novel, Ready to Fall, was published in 2000, when Cook was 45.

Since then, this "late starter" has more than made up for lost time. She struck gold with her second book, Must Love Dogs. Published in 2002, this story of a middle-aged divorcee whose singles ad produces hilariously unexpected results was declared "funny and pitch-perfect" by the Chicago Tribune and "a hoot" by the Boston Globe. (The novel got a second life in 2005 with the release of the feature film starring Diane Lane and John Cusack.) Cook's subsequent novels, with their wry, witty take on the lives of middle-aged women, have become bestsellers and book club favorites.

Upbeat, gregarious, and grateful for her success, Cook is an inspiration for aspiring writers and women in midlife transition. She tours indefatigably for her novels and genuinely enjoys speaking with fans. She also conducts frequent writing workshops, where she dispenses advice and encouragement in equal measure. "I'm extraordinarily lucky to spend my time doing what I love," she has said on countless occasions. " The workshops are a way to say thank you and open doors that I stumbled through to make it easier for writers coming up behind me.''

Good To Know

In our interview, Cook shared some fun and fascinating anecdotes with us:

"I first knew I was a writer when I was three. My mother entered me in a contest to name the Fizzies whale, and I won in my age group. It's quite possible that mine was the only entry in my age group since "Cutie Fizz" was enough to win my family a six-month supply of Fizzies tablets (root beer was the best flavor) and half a dozen turquoise plastic mugs with removable handles. At six I had my first story on the "Little People's Page" in the Sunday paper (about Hot Dog, the family Dachshund) and at sixteen, I had my first front page feature in the local weekly."

"In the acknowledgments of Multiple Choice I say that even though it's probably undignified to admit it, I'm having a blast as a novelist. To clarify that, having a blast as a novelist does not necessarily mean having a blast with the actual writing. The people part -- meeting readers and booksellers and librarians and the media -- is very social and I'm having lots of fun with that. The writing part is great, too, once you get past the procrastination, the self-doubt, and the feelings of utter despair. It's all of the stuff surrounding the writing that's hard; once you find your zone, your place of flow, or whatever it is we're currently calling it, and lose yourself in the writing, it really is quite wonderful. I've heard writers say it's better than sex, though I'm not sure I'd go that far."

"I love books that don't wrap everything up too neatly at the end, and I think it's a big compliment to hear that a reader is left wanting more. After each novel, I hear from many readers asking for a sequel -- they say they just have to find out what will happen to these people next. I think it's wonderful that the characters have come to life for them. But, for now, I think I'll grow more as a writer by trying to create another group of quirky characters. Maybe a few books down the road, I'll feel ready to return to some of them -- who knows?"

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    1. Hometown:
      Scituate, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 14, 1955
    2. Place of Birth:
      Alexandria, Virginia
    1. Education:
      B.A., Film and Creative Writing, Syracuse University
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 22 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 26, 2012

    Must Read Page Turner

    If you've read previous books by Claire Cook, this page turner should be added to your bookshelf. Deidre Griffin is a character you want to root for and follow along with her life's (mis)adventures. She pushes past her insecurities and puts herself out there. Ms. Cook's witty characters and story-telling keep the reader hooked.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 11, 2012

    Another great read!

    Claire Cook never disappoints. Her books are clever and witty, yet truthful and heartfelt. I’m always excited to read her newest, and always a bit sad when I turn the last page.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 9, 2012

    Cute Summer Read

    The premise of "Wallflower in Bloom" makes for a great story. How often do we each feel as though we are invisable? Coming into our own is wonderful and I loved reading about Deidre's transformation. Sometimes the banter between two adult siblings was too much and the modern day cliches a little over the top, but I did like the story. It is a nice light read for a summer day.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Too Funny!

    As usual, Claire Cook know how to make you laugh in “Wallflower in Bloom”! I listened to the audio version read by Cassandra Campbell which I love as well – so perfect for the part.

    Love the way Claire always has her strong women characters inventing themselves and the wonderful journey along the way, full of obstacles and stepping stones. The sense of humor in all her books make them fun to read or to listen to and inspires you to be your best!

    Bringing in DWTS was so cool, as Deirdre has lived in the shadows of her famous brother Tag, and uses social media to get her the spot on the famous show. You will be delighted with this one, as all of Cook’s funny tales and full of adventure!

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  • Posted November 10, 2012

    Deidre Griffin has a life many dream of, flying around the world

    Deidre Griffin has a life many dream of, flying around the world being a personal assistant to her high maintenance New Age Guru Brother, Tag. This role seems to make her the wallflower of the family. Deidre decides to use Tag’s millions of online followers to get her a spot on Dancing with the Stars. Maybe stepping in front of the camera will help her mentally and physically earning her 15 minutes of fame.

    Wallflower in bloom is a perfect summer read, although I read it in the fall and it is still perfect. Starting with the title, showing there is hope for a wallflower to come into her own. Most of us either know or are a wallflower, someone who goes out but stays in the shadows. I loved watching Deidre come out of the shadows and bloom into a self ensured, non-pushover woman.

    The “chiasmus” at the beginning of each chapter were great. They gave a little insight into what was coming in the chapter and often made me smile and nod my head. If you don’t know what a “chiasmus” is you definitely will by the end of the book.

    I loved that this was a story of family and that even when someone seemingly changes the game plan they still come together and support each other wanting each other to succeed.

    Whether a Dancing with the Stars fan or not everyone will love this book. Claire Cook’s great sense of humor shines through. If you have a family that sometimes drives you crazy you will definitely relate.
    Actually, anyone who is looking to read a great chic-lit book will love Wallflower in Bloom.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2012

    Boring

    But maybe good a book if you want to know in advance what is going to happen... and with a happy ending of course

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  • Posted September 17, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Wallflower in Bloom is the first novel by Claire Cook that I ha

    Wallflower in Bloom is the first novel by Claire Cook that I have ever read. Thank you to Touchstone Books and Netgalley for an opportunity to read it. I am excited to share this novel with you because it includes some of my favorite elements: Dancing with the Stars, Reinvention, and Humor.

    Synopsis:

    Deidre is Tag’s little sister and his personal assistant. She organizes everything for Tag from his living expenses to business and social media. Tag the Rock star guru is the family money maker and not only employs Deidre but his parents as well. One evening Deidre has decided she has had enough and quits. She rushes home from the business trip to find out that Dancing with the Stars is looking for a replacement for an injured celebrity. Her thoughts lead to a way to get back at Tag and do something for herself for a change. She writes a letter to Dancing with the Stars asking about the possibility to of Tag’s little sister have a chance to dance as Tag. Will Deidre make the cut? How will she deal with her brother and the rest of her family? Most important what will she learn about herself through this experience?
    Product Details
    My Thoughts:

    I was very excited to read this book. I had an opportunity to meet Claire in June on her tour. Claire also appeared on Writer’s Corner to share about reinvention and this novel in an interview. I found some humor in this book. I loved the character development of the Protagonist as the pages turned. I found the author’s descriptions of emotional eating a little uncomfortable to read. I did find myself routing for Deidre in the end. Over all I feel that Wallflower in Bloom has a very positive message.

    What would you do if you had an opportunity to be part of Dancing with the Stars? Would you respond like Deidre or would you have a different goal in mind? I would love to be part of Dancing with the Stars and look forward to the people I could meet.

    Claire would love to hear from you please stop by her Facebook page, twitter @clairecookwrites, and her we

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  • Posted July 31, 2012

    With short chapters, witty prose, and little poetry peppered in

    With short chapters, witty prose, and little poetry peppered in for color... Claire Cook's Wallflower in Bloom is great for busy people who need to inject a little comic relief into their days. I can't tell you the last time I chuckled almost constantly throughout and entire book. While finishing this book in one rainy day, I often laughed out loud with many loud laughs! Too.Funny.

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  • Posted July 30, 2012

    I'm Blooming

    I love when a book cover catches my attention, but I really love when the books lives up the excitement. Acclaimed Best Seller, Claire Cook introduces to an array of characters that you can relate to. Deidre works as a personal assistant to her brother, Tag whom she describes as Deepak Chokra & Bono. Deidre is used to living in the shadows of life, including being in an on and off relationship with her flight by night boyfriend, Mitchell. When Mitchell delivers the ultimate blow to Deidre, she decides to make some major changes in her life. Deidre finds out it’s an uphill battle learning self-acceptance and living life on her terms.


    Claire Cook does an excellent job of writing a story full of life gems; there were times I did find myself laughing out loud. Isn’t that what Life is all about, the ability to weather the storms and become stronger individuals. We all have been Wallflowers in certain situations in our lives, but it never too late for us to Bloom.


    I would definitely recommend this book.



    4 Stars
    Orsayor
    Book Referees

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  • Posted July 30, 2012

    Great summer read, well developed characters and the book keeps

    Great summer read, well developed characters and the book keeps you wanting to read. You may think that Claire Cook has met your family and based her characters off them! If you have not yet read anythign by Claire Cook start with this book and I knwo you will be buying the rest of her books!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2012

    A great read! The wit of Claire Cook is like no other author in

    A great read! The wit of Claire Cook is like no other author in the "romantic" class of fiction. This story is laugh out loud funny and almost believable. The tale of a dysfunctional family at its best. The brother/sister relationship is certainly a sketch of its own and mixed with the other family memebers, the story takes dysfunctional to a new level. With quick wit and one liners, the book is difficult to put down.

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  • Posted July 17, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This was a perfect read to start while waiting at the airport to

    This was a perfect read to start while waiting at the airport to start my much needed beach vacation! While on Huntington Beach I got to love Deirdre and her journey to find herself without being in charge of her brother's life and career. I found myself rooting for her to overcome insecurities and break free of her family and start living her life. Some of my family and the people next to me on the beach gave me some odd looks as I laughed out loud.

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  • Posted July 11, 2012

    This is a really cute book, and I enjoyed reading. The character

    This is a really cute book, and I enjoyed reading. The characters where funny and loved the interaction of the family. I laughed out loud at several of the chiamus. I would have liked to see more interaction between the herion and love interest, but that was not the main point of the book. I liked that the book made the point of accepting who you are, without banging you over the head with it.


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  • Posted July 7, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Wallflower in Bloom was a fun read. Deirdre Griffin has gotten

    Wallflower in Bloom was a fun read. Deirdre Griffin has gotten herself in a world wind of doing everything for everyone. She is even a personal assistant to her Guru brother named Tag, who happens to think he is gods greatest gift to man kind. It's about time for Deirdre Griffin to take her life into her own hands and stop being in her brothers shadow. Claire Cook has a new fan!!

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  • Posted June 30, 2012

    Dancing with the Stars

    Deirdre Griffin is on top of her game, she is a first rate personal assistant to her guru brother Tag, she is a the ideal daughter, and all around go to girl. With all these qualities you would think that Deirdre would be on fire, but she still hides in the shadows while others get the glow.
    In Wildflower in Bloom: A Novel the central character Deirdre takes a risk to fill a slot in famed show Dancing with the Stars. With a little help of her social media finesse, Deidre takes a risk to blaze her own path and win a spot on the show. This story has wit, love, and you sense a desire to live dreams. Will she tip toe across stage a winner or fall flat on her face to humiliation?
    Author Claire Cook does it again to root for the underdog, those who always do the right thing but seldom celebrate in the glory. Watch as Deidre portrays the everyday woman.
    Wildflower in Bloom is a sweet and joyous tale of taking a chance on living your dreams.
    Best known for her book, Must Love Dogs, Cook again sprinkles her magical dust of writing to bring life to a world of possibilities.
    Wildflower in Bloom is a sure bet to pass these dog days of summer.

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  • Posted June 21, 2012

    I LOVED it!!!

    I LOVED it!!!

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  • Posted June 11, 2012

    What a fun read! Have you ever felt invisible? Everyone take you

    What a fun read! Have you ever felt invisible? Everyone take you for granted? Well, that's the story of Deidre who works for her famous brother Tag.

    Fan of Dancing With the Stars? You'll love this...our Deidre gets mad, gets drunk and manages to land on the show.

    The story is good in you root for her to be free and to work things out. I couldn't wait to see what happened.

    Enjoy!

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  • Posted June 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Title Tells It!

    While it took me a little bit to get into this book, I found it to be a compelling page turner. I had a love/hate relationship with the main character Deirdre, well hate is not quite right more like "sorry".
    Deirdre is the do it all girl/personal assistant for her motivational speaker/musician guru. She is extremely bright girl with very little self esteem.
    The book will give you some really good chuckles, and you will be cheering her on in some of her antics! At other times you will be in tears for her. I loved how she went about getting herself on DWTS!! Once we start our journey there we find Deirdre starting to bloom.
    Don't miss this great summer read, and have a box of tissues handy for your tears from joy and sadness!

    I received this book from the Publisher Simon & Schuster, and was not required to give a positive review.

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  • Posted June 4, 2012

    I was lucky to get my hands on a pre-release copy of Wildflower

    I was lucky to get my hands on a pre-release copy of Wildflower in Bloom, and I read it in one day. Claire Cook knows how to spin a tale in ways that are as unique as her characters and their circumstances. This was is a fun, wonderfully quirky read, and Cook’s trademark humor is at its best. It’s a story that proves how freeing it can be to break through the barriers of insecurity, take a chance, and dance to the beat of your own drummer.

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  • Posted June 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Don't look at me like that. Sure, 3 stars means I did like this

    Don't look at me like that. Sure, 3 stars means I did like this book, and I'm not even in the target demographic (a bit too male). I'm allowed to read something different once in a while. And enjoy it. So there. Besides, I like Dancing with the Stars.

    What worked for me: The deadpan voice of the first-person narrator. Given her messed up personal situation and her hapless reactions, she could have some across as whining. By keeping her reasonably level-headed, the author makes it possible for us to stick with her. And by not making her too empowered or snarky, we don't get put off, either. Beyond that, the prose, dialog, settings, and descriptions are all first-rate. There is nothing to complain about in terms of basic writing skills.

    What didn't really work for me, once it occurred to me, is believing that this powerful, effective personal assistant for a popular pop figure is so easily reduced to a hapless, clueless shlub. I was also put off by the completely inane relationship she has with her brother and the rest of her family. Sure, this is the source of conflict for the story. But this is one of those conflicts that could be resolved in about two minutes if just one of the participants would act like a grown up, instead of a thirteen-year-old.

    As for all of the rigmarole dealing with Dancing with the Stars and Hollywood: this is reasonably believable and mostly fun. In some ways, I wish it could have been richer. Just as it all seemed to get rolling, everything is resolved. This is perhaps due to the short length of the book. I read it in only a few hours, spread over several days. This will be a fun beach read for those in its target audience. As for the rest of us, you may like it, too (especially if you are a DWTS fan, like me).

    Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review.

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