The Flower Arrangement by Ella Griffin (Amazon link)
Rating: Very Good
Description: Golden peonies bowing their heads beneath blue delphinium bells. Delicate pink anemones threaded between freckled green orchids. Soft apricot roses woven together with velvety purple irises. Every bouquet tells a story. And every story begins at Blossom & Grow, a tiny jewel-like flower shop in the heart of Dublin. Here, 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. But what about her own heart? Has she really healed since she lost her chance to be a mother? What will happen when her own story takes a sudden turn? Can the flowers that heal the customers work their magic on the florist? Drawing together a delightful cast of characters, Ella Griffin brings her warmth, wit and wisdom to a captivating tale woven around a Dublin florist.
Why I Picked This Book: Between the setting in Dublin and the cover how could I resist?
My Impression: This book was not at all what I expected from the cover and the blurb. I was expecting a fun story about Lara with some heartwarming elements and maybe a a tear or two. There were definitely heartwarming elements and there were definitely tears though both were in higher numbers than I expected them to be. I don't know if I would call this story fun and while Lara is a main character she is definitely not the focus.
Instead the focus is on the flowers and how they touch the lives they appear in. We see Lara with her struggling marriage, her hidden devastation, and the flower shop she pours everything into. We see her father, her brother, and her customers in there lowest and their highest moments and into their most personal moments.
I had a few issues with this one. For starters it took me awhile to get used to all the head jumping. Each chapter change always pulled me out of the story a little before I was able to get back in. I'm not sure exactly what happened but I would become very aware for two paragraphs of each new chapter that the writing was in present tense. After a minute or so I'd forget all about it and be back in the story but it was a little jarring. I also didn't feel like the book really takes place in Dublin. Other than the occasional reference of the currency it could have been any city anywhere in the world - or least one where it snows sometimes.
However, the things I enjoyed about this book definitely outweighed the minor issues. While this isn't the fun lightweight book I expected this book and these characters will stay with me for a long time. I do a lot of my reading in the carline waiting to pick up my son and there were a number of times I had to switch books so I didn't start openly weeping because the emotions and the characters just felt so real. While Lara was my favorite I also enjoyed Phil's character and Katy's whole family. Really I could talk about each and every person I met through this book with feeling. Some of them I liked and some of them I really didn't but each one felt real and their stories made me connect with them, sometimes I laughed, sometimes I cried, and occasionally I rolled my eyes a bit.
Overall, this was an emotional read that I was completely drawn into when reading it. It wasn't perfect but it's one that will stay with me for quite some time.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely! I really enjoyed the characters and the connections between them
Would I Recommend this Book?: I would! I think most fiction readers would enjoy this.