Happy Thursday, guys!
Welcome back to the blog tour for The Flower Arrangement by Ella Griffin!
Today, we're reviewing this beautiful book about one woman who decides to open a florist in the aftermath of a tragedy, and a look at how that flower store begins to impact the lives of a few specific people throughout the years.
Read on for more!
Expected publication: October 4th 2016 by Berkley (first published June 20th 2015)
Among the buckets of fragrant blooms, beneath the flickering candles and lanterns, Lara works her magic, translating feelings into flower arrangements that change hearts and lives.
She is no stranger to the power of flowers herself. They gave her hope when she was a child who lost a mother. And again, when she was a mother who lost a child.
But old wounds take time to heal and life has more heartbreak in store. What will it take for the woman who can unlock everybody else’s emotions to open up her own heart?
Things that worked:
While the idea of a character starting over post-tragedy isn't necessarily new to fiction, it's Lara's wholehearted faith in her love of flowers that makes her stand out from the crowd.
Lara is steady and unabashed as she crafts arrangement after arrangement, even in the aftermath of several waves of terrible family-related events. Griffin is very careful to make her an object of admiration and steadiness verses an object of curiosity - especially after a relationship issue - and it's easy to see why so many strangers - including some who literally stumble in off the street, find her and the shop to be such a rock in their day-to-day lives.
It's also easy to see how Lara's steadying influence guides secondary characters, who have their own arcs, obstacles and victories throughout the book - all of which will inspire readers.
While the book felt a bit disjointed - more on this later - there's no denying that Griffin is a spectacular writer. She writes characters with thoughtfulness and profundity, and her world-building is immaculate. I felt like I was traversing the streets of Dublin alongside the characters, and I also felt like I received a much-appreciated education in the art of flowers as the book progressed.
Relationships are at the heart of The Flower Arrangement, including the formation and the break-up of many a relationship. Griffin dissects each of these relationships with much appreciated nuisance; showing just how characters began their attraction, and the very moment that attraction was lost.
She's careful to remind readers that the formation or dissolution of each of these relationships are not done easily, and how the role of someone like Lara and the flower shop can only help positively or negatively influence the foundations of what was already there. It's a fascinating dissection of the anatomy of human relationships, and readers will likely enjoy seeing the ebbs and flows of each of these relationships.
On darker issues:
The Flower Arrangement delved into some fairly serious issues, including chronic disease, single parenthood and more. Griffin handled all of these issues beautifully, particularly the break-up of a certain relationship. Naturally, the flower shop helps influence the development of several of these issues, but Griffin helps use it as a positive reminder of the importance of moving on.
The ending. Is pitch perfect.
Things that didn't work (for me):
While yes, Lara and the shop were the cornerstone of all of these characters' lives, Griffin paced the book in a way where whenever she jumped to a new character, it would take quite a bit of description (and pages!) before you could figure out just where the connection began and ended. It made it hard to keep track of people, and I also ended up having to flip back and forth several times, so I could refresh my memory on specific characters.
Even though all of these individual stories were compelling, the disjointed connections did make my attention wander a bit by the final quarter of the novel.
As always, I would love to hear what you have to say about this!
Readers will most definitely love this story, and be moved by the magic of the flowers. Recommended for fiction fans.