First of all, let me say that I won this book through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway program. Now, on to the review:
I found the premise of this book interesting but I didn't feel as if it quite lived up to my expectations of the storyline. The lady's slipper orchid to me did not really drive the action of the story as said in the synopsis given by the publisher. It touched the plot here and there and brought the main characters together in their fascination with the orchid but outside of that, the flower really only acted as an observer to the outside world. Instead, the stealing of the flower put Alice on a path to moving forward with her life and letting go of the past. I think that was the flower's real purpose in the story.
Furthermore, the author took a really long time in getting the story off the ground. I slogged through the first two-thirds of the book wondering if it would eventually pick up and when it did, I still wasn't as invested in the characters as I would have liked even with the author spending so much time building up the story to the plot.
The romance between Alice and Richard seemed very forced and totally unbelievable. They spent the entire book fighting each other with an occasional reference to an attraction but to go from this to love in a moment especially when said moment is Alice preparing herself to die just seems convenient for the progression of the story. Furthermore, the sex scenes between Ella and Thomas the husband didn't need to be so...animalistic and graphic. I think there was definitely a point to this choice however it didn't really work in any manner other than making me rather uncomfortable reading it.
What did I like? Well, I liked the character of Alice. Out of all the people in the book, I felt her back story was the most complete and allowed us the reader a wonderful understanding of her as a person. I really wish Margaret Poulter could have stuck around a bit longer to show Alice some of her herblore. I rather liked the eccentric old woman and her interactions with Alice. They fit together well as characters. Stephen Fisk was another interesting character for me. His journey from nobleman to Quaker, although a minor plot point, was the second most believable characterization apart from Alice's journey out of mourning for her sister and lost home.
Overall, the book was a disappointment. I didn't really care for the choices the author made in telling the story and she took too long developing her characters without much of a plot. If I hadn't won it, I wouldn't have continued reading it.