Jenny Q's Reviews > The Flower Reader

The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas
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's review
Apr 17, 12

bookshelves: review-copy, blog-tour
Read from June 15, 2011 to April 16, 2012

After loving the author's debut, The Second Duchess, I was less than impressed with the first thirty pages of The Flower Reader, which I thought were full of over-dramatic moments and sappy dialogue. I'd really been looking forward to this one and all my friends were raving, so I hung in there, and I'm glad I did because it wasn't long before the story began to show the strength and depth I knew this author was capable of.

Be warned: the back cover gives too much away, the above version from Goodreads is abbreviated. I wish I hadn't read the back cover of my paperback version so that at least one of the plot points could have been a surprise to me. I will try not to divulge too much of the plot for you! The story revolves around the contents of a silver casket that Mary of Guise gives to Rinette on her deathbed to keep safe until her daughter, Mary Stuart, can return to Scotland and claim her throne. Unable to resist, Rinette and her new husband take a peek inside and discover it's full of secrets Mary of Guise had been collecting to help her daughter rule Scotland. But that sneak peek proves deadly, and Rinette's husband is murdered over the contents of that casket. Riddled with grief and guilt and burning for revenge, Rinette sets her feet on the path to retribution, taking a place at court in an effort to determine who killed her husband. The only person she can truly confide in is handsome Nicolas de Clerac, one of the queen's most favored advisers, who has offered to help Rinette uncover the truth. But does he have motives of his own for revealing the murderer and discovering the hidden casket? Rinette plays a dangerous game as she tries to use the casket as leverage against a queen and all of the other players who'd like to get their hands on it. As her quest for vengeance turns deadly, and her plans begin to fall apart, everyone Rinette loves is placed in danger, and Rinette will have to decide if her mission is worth the cost.

Entwined throughout Rinette's story is her gift of floromancy. Flowers and plants "speak" to Rinette, giving her glimpses of the future and insights into the people she meets. I really enjoyed this aspect of the story. It adds a nice touch of softness and mysticism and true beauty, and provides some much-needed hope in a story that is often hard and brutal. I loved that this book takes place in the early days of Mary Queen of Scots' reign, before all of the scandals and betrayals that would ultimately lead to her execution. The Scottish court is not often written about in fiction and I loved getting a glimpse inside it and seeing how it compared to its English counterpart. In Loupas' hands it's a fun court, full of everything an eighteen-year-old queen loves: music, plays, pageants, sumptuous food, beautiful clothes, beautiful courtiers . . . but it's also full of intrigue and suspicion, as Mary's half-brother James seeks more power, and as the Catholics seek to subvert the Protestants. It's the perfect setting for an adventurous, murderous plot, and as the story twisted and turned and raced along to its very satisfying conclusion, I could not put it down.
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Reading Progress

04/15/2012 page 130

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Jenny Q Giveaway now through May 1st @ Let Them Read Books!

Misfit Have to agree about the back jacket giving away a bit too much. Granted it is early the story, but still.

Jenny Q Well, that one thing was pretty much the impetus for the story, but that other thing didn't happen till the second half...

Misfit You've got me scratching my head on part two and since I've passed the book along I'm drawing a blank. Oh well, glad you enjoyed it. Loupas is such a refreshing change from much of what else is coming out these days.

Jenny Q Have you read Sophie Perinot's The Sister Queens yet? I thought it was fantastic. Like SKP, only sexier!

Misfit I've been eyeing that, but I really am trying to work on owned books for the Mt. TBR Challenge.

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