The Flower Seller

The Flower Seller
Author:
Published: 2 Jun. 2016
Author's Twitter: @EllieHWriter
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?

4.5 stars

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 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 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.

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