Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Like a Flower in Bloom - A Book Review

I had the opportunity to read and review Siri Mitchell's newest book titled Like a Flower in Bloom. I believe I had now read every single one of Mitchell's novels. I've enjoyed each of them, though to varying degrees.
It's all her uncle's fault. For years Charlotte Withersby has been free to pursue her love of plants and flowers by assisting her botanist father. But now that she's reached the old age of twenty-two, an intrusive uncle has convinced her father that Charlotte's future--the only proper future for a woman--is to be a wife and mother, not a scholar.

Her father is so dependent on her assistance that Charlotte believes he'll soon change his mind...and then Edward Trimble shows up. A long-time botany correspondent in the South Pacific, Trimble arrives ready to step in as assistant so that Charlotte can step out into proper society--a world that baffles her with its unwritten rules, inexplicable expectations, and confounding fashion.
(description from the back cover)

Like a Flower in Bloom was fairly entertaining. Sometimes I feel like I can literally run through a novel. Other times it feels more like a leisurely walk. This novel felt like I was skipping down a dirt road the entire time. I couldn't quite pinpoint what was causing that feeling, but it was a bit disconcerting. Some of the dialog reminded me of The Importance of Being Earnest, which is one of my favorites.

The story, however, was rather frustrating. I am not a feminist but I do believe that women should be valued. When the men in her life believe that it's time for Charlotte to find a husband, they take away all of her duties. Charlotte loves working with flowers and helping her father and feels completely bereft when she is no longer allowed to do either. It was frustrating to see how many people would not listen to Charlotte as she tried to explain how useless she now feels without something productive to do each day. Instead, she is told to learn to dress pretty and to fit in with society so that she can snag a husband. It felt like much of the conflict could be resolved with some simple communication.

It's not a novel that I will return to but I'm glad I took the time to read it. Much thanks to Bethany House for providing a free copy in exchange for my honest opinions.

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