I reviewed ‘The Flower Seller’ for Rosie’s Book Review Team.
Jessie Martin believes that when it comes to love there are three types of people: the skimmers, the bottom dwellers and the ones who dive for pearls. Jessie is a pearl diver. She had thought her husband William was a pearl diver too. But when William leaves her for a much younger woman, it’s not just Jessie’s heart that is broken, her ability to trust is shattered too. All Jessie wanted was a love she could believe in. Was that so much to ask? Loyalty it seems has gone out of fashion.
Refusing to retire from the battlefield of life, Jessie resolves to put her heartache behind her. She doesn’t want to be that woman who was too scared to love again. There has to be another pearl diver out there; all she has to do is find him.
Urged on by her sassy best friend, Anne and her daughter Hannah, Jessie makes three New Year’s resolutions: get a divorce, get a promotion, get a life. Enthusiastically embracing her new start, Jessie sets about making all her resolutions come true.
When fate brings handsome flower seller Owen Phillips into her life, will Jessie have the courage of her convictions? Can she take her heart in her hands and give it away again? Hope springs eternal they say but a bruised heart needs to time to heal. Will Owen have the patience to understand? Will Jessie be brave enough to take that leap of faith?
By the time summer holds her firmly in it’s warm embrace, Jessie’s monochrome world of heartache has been transformed into one full of colour, romance and love.
Jessie can hardly believe her luck. Can Owen really be the one?
All things seem possible and even husband William’s attempts to bully Jessie into a less than fair divorce settlement don’t have the power to upset her as they once might have. Supported by Owen, Jessie stands her ground. Putting William’s deceit and betrayal firmly in the rear view mirror of her life, Jessie is full of hope for the future. Perhaps loyalty and true love haven’t gone out of fashion after all.
When autumn’s burnished hues colour the world around her, Jessie looks forward to cosy nights by log fires with her handsome flower seller. But is Owen really the pearl diver Jessie had hoped for? Or is Jessie’s fragile trust about to be shattered all over again?
The Flower Seller is an engaging and page-turning read full of love, deceit, betrayal and hope.
This romantic tale follows Jessie from the depths of winter, to the excitement of spring through a hot and passionate summer to the turmoil and drama of a stormy autumn.
As a second winter approaches and her world is once more turned upside down, will Jessie ever find a love she can believe in with a man she can trust?
First of all, the blurb for this book is far too long. It makes me want to get out my red pen and start furiously cutting away. Hopefully it won’t put people off, because this is a lovely book.
Jessie is in her early forties, and is struggling to come to terms with her husband’s betrayal. She meets a younger man, but she isn’t sure if she can trust him either. The novel is told mostly from Jessie’s point of view, sometimes moving into her husband William’s viewpoint, and sometimes into the point of view of Owen, her younger lover.
I didn’t mind the point of view switches. It did add a new dimension when we saw things from William’s side. The switches are kept separate from each other, apart from on one occasion when the switch is a bit sudden and quite jarring.
Jessie is a great lead character, for the most part. At first I was one hundred per cent on her side. I have to say though, that as the book progressed, I felt less sympathy, and by the end, I was a bit irritated by her.
Having said that, it is nice to have a lead character who is a woman of a certain age. And a successful woman at that. The author does a great job of adding depth to Jessie; she’s a three-dimensional character with faults and with fears. And William and Owen are very real too.
My issue with Jessie is an issue that I find I have a lot recently with older female characters. Those faults she has certainly aren’t physical ones. She’s beautiful – as both men in her life continuously remind her. At one point she’s described as lithe. Yet she works long hours, seems to continuously drink wine and eats lots of lovely dinners, and never exercises. As a woman in my forties, I can’t identify with that. It genuinely made it very hard for me to feel sympathy for Jessie, to believe in her. Where’s her cellulite? Where are the wrinkles? How does she drink as much as she seems to and still manage to get up and do a fourteen hour day?
The writing is competent, smooth and, on the whole, technically good. There are a few irritating dialogue tags that should have been got rid of during editing, and a few moments of dialogue that didn’t quite ring true (again, something that should have been picked up in the editing). But the style is lovely, easy to read, and the narrative carries you along. Ellie Holmes is a talented story teller, and this is an enjoyable read, one I’d definitely recommend. I just wish I’d felt more in tune with Jessie, that I’d liked her more than I did.