The book itself is well written and well edited (UK Style) and structured appropriately for the story. There is little to complain about technically, but it should be noted that this is a book that can drag in some places. The author seems to make a joke about this in the beginning when Jessie tries desperately to prove that people in her line of work do have senses of humor, but the author is also not joking. Many of the scenes involving the firm and Jessie’s attempt to further her role there, the litigation segments and some of the dialogues between Jessie & William and Jessie & Owen can move at a slow pace. I know there are readers out there who will want to know all of the information presented, so for some it might not even be an issue, but I could see how others might be pressed to rush through those parts to get to more of the exciting aspects of the book.
The Flower Seller tells the story of Jessie Martin, an at-times bland and by-the-book solicitor (someone who handles the buying and selling of land properties) with the firm of Smith Mathers in the fictional Essex market town of Abbeyleigh. When we meet Jessie, she is just coming out of a 21-year marriage in which she sacrificed her career for her family and now has little to show for it. Amid a contentious divorce with her ex, William, Jessie reluctantly tries to find love again at the suggestion of her daughter, Hannah, and her adventurous friend Anne. When a blind date at a hamburger restaurant that doesn’t seem to go well turns out to be a message from the universe in disguise, Jessie is set on a journey that will test her character, patience and her capacity to forgive.
The author’s voice is authentic and the idea of a woman being held back by the men in her life is prevalent throughout. Whether it’s in her marriage, in her job or even in her newly emerging personal life, Jessie is a character who is forced to overcome obstacles put in her way by the males she interacts with. When she does overcome them, the reader celebrates for her. Without giving away too much, the ending is a complete surprise. The author does a great job of building up the suspense before knocking the reader’s world completely out of whack. While deciding on a score I oscillated between 4 and 5 stars and settled on 4.5 Stars. I feel that for some readers this will just be an above-average contemporary romance that drags in some places. I think there are a lot of readers, though, who will find a wonderfully-crafted story with a lot of heart, some humor and a sense of authenticity that is very hard to find.