WALLFLOWER IN BLOOM - Claire Cook
ISBN: 978-1-4516-7276-3 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 978-1-4516-7278-7 (Kindle Edition)
Texas & California - The Present
Middle-aged Deirdre Griffin works as personal assistant to her handsome brother. Tag does seminars about life and passion and sells many self-improvement videos. His national success keeps his family together. Deirdre, however, feels resentment. Yes, she has a good, secure, well-paying job, but Tag controls her life. She lives on his property and devotes most of her time to making plans, reservations, transportation, and meetings for Tag. She has no life of her own. When she meets a friend of Tag's at a Texas spa resort, she is attracted enough for a meeting to lead to a kiss. Tag warns his friend off, and infuriated, Deirdre leaves. Once home (which is a redesigned sheep shed on Tag's property) she impulsively fills out a form to be on Dancing With the Stars. The producers have an open call for the first non-celebrity dancer, and they've been trying to get Tag on for years. Surprise, next thing Deirdre knows, she practicing the tango with her coach Ilya.
Although she tries to keep her rebellion a secret, Tag shows up at a practice. Of course, he thinks she is participating to promote him, and everyone fawns over him and everything he says. Events slide downhill for Deirdre from that point.
While I empathized with Deirdre, she was often prickly and a sometimes unlikable character. She and Tag occasionally engage in tit-for-tat verbal exchanges that come straight from their childhoods. Yet it was entertaining to watch Deirdre develop, not so much into her own person, for she was definitely that to begin with, but as someone willing to risk everything to free herself from her past. As she emerges from Tag's shadow, she is finally determined, win or lose, to be seen as an individual. WALLFLOWER IN BLOOM is humorous, sarcastic, sassy, and often poignant as the heroine attempts to reclaim a life that has overtaken her.