My rating: 1/5 Stars
Publisher: Berkley Trade (June 2014)
Length: 320 pgs
Format: E-book, courtesy of NetGalley
Goodreads Synopsis: Ruby Jewell knows flowers. In her twenty years as a florist she has stood behind the counter at the Flower Shoppe with her faithful dog, Clementine, resting at her feet. A customer can walk in, and with just a glance or a few words, Ruby can throw together the perfect arrangement for any occasion.
Whether intended to rekindle a romance, mark a celebration, offer sympathy, or heal a broken heart, her expressive floral designs mark the moments and milestones in the lives of her neighbors. It’s as though she knows just what they want to say, just what they need.
Yet Ruby’s own heart’s desires have gone ignored since the death of her beloved sister. It will take an invitation from a man who’s flown to the moon, the arrival of a unique little boy, and concern from a charming veterinarian to reawaken her wounded spirit. Any life can be derailed, but the healing power of community can put it right again.
I was excited to receive this title from NetGalley as I thought it would be a fun and easy beach read. Unfortunately, this book fell short of my expectations.
This novel was hard to get into, partially due to the slow pace and partially due to the lack of characters readers can relate to. The protagonist has gone through some tragedy, and her back story is interesting and deals with the serious topics of drug and alcohol abuse in her family, I felt her hard to connect with as she was so unbelievably sheltered and reserved, as she’s a grown woman with almost no romantic experience, yet she has a role as the town “matchmaker” or “therapist” giving others advice when she herself lacks experience. The first half of the novel itself seems to lack a foreseeable plot, as most of the chapters focus on Ruby’s interactions with her customers and brief introductions to their stories rather than an overarching plot that draws the reader in. About 30% into the novel, Ruby gets an exciting invitation to attend a really interesting and important function, and I was hopeful that the book was going to pick up, yet she leaves for the function at the end of a chapter and the next chapter begins with her return- the readers never get to read about her exciting adventure, rather they only get to see her prepare for it. It was at this point that I became solidified in my disappointment with the book.
Despite this book not being impressive to me, I was interested in the passages where the different healing properties and emotive influences certain flowers had. I enjoyed reading about Ruby’s actual work as a florist, yet was disappointed that her actual everyday occupational work was more interesting and exciting than any of the actual events in the story.
Overall this book fell short of its potential by glossing over potentially interesting plot points and by stereotyped characters that didn’t feel as though they had much depth to the reader. The book held glances of intrigue for me, such as the severity of Ruby’s tragic back story, but these elements were muddled by the slow storyline and uninteresting plot.
I received this e-book from NetGalley for free with no expectations or compensations and have given it an honest review.