Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Wallflower in Bloom by Claire Cook

4 Star

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. 

Lydia - 4 Star

Wallflower in Bloom is another delightful novel by Claire Cook. A fun, easy read, this novel is about family and discovering who you are amidst an incredibly tight knit (read: overbearing) family, and is perfect for your summer beach plans!

Deidre is a smart heroine, albeit a she's a bit of a pushover when it comes to her family. As the youngest of three children to hippy parents, she constantly feels like she takes the backseat and becomes the family wallflower and remains such even as a forty something adult. I enjoyed Deidre’s character. She is overworked, underpaid and stuck in a rut that she had no idea how to get out of. I loved the dive off the deep end into a pool of vodka and how her debacle unfolds. I didn't grow up in a family that even remotely resembled the Griffin's but somehow I could relate to aspects of their family. I really wanted to smack her brother, Tag, upside the head and really rooted for Deidre to get out of his tangled web and for her to gain independence from him...and her entire family actually. Cook has a gift for delivering memorable characters with minimal scenes and I really appreciate that - even the few scenes with the costume designer and the make up artist stand out. There were times that all the characters seemed somewhat caricature-ish though and they were all a bit immature at times, especially Tag, but Cook makes it work somehow.

The plot of Wallflower in Bloom is unique and kept me intrigued. I've never really enjoyed Dancing with the Stars, but this didn't prevent me from enjoying the novel although I think fans might enjoy it that much more.  The behind the scenes look was intriguing, as were the chiasmus's, which I loved and started trying to come up with them on my own. I really enjoyed that unusual aspect of the story.

Anyone who has ever felt under appreciated and invisible or comes from such a flamboyant family and feels undervalued will appreciate this novel. Pick this one up and take it to the beach today! You'll appreciate the quick, easy and non-taxing read.

Thank you to Touchstone for our review copy!

Connect with Claire Cook here:

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