Sarah Morgan's latest offering features elements of romance, but it is distinctly background material as the nature of family, grief, love and the consequent trials, tribulations and joys of a new blended family are firmly at the forefront. With a florist mother obsessed with flowers, it probably comes as no surprise that she is named Flora, but Flora's life has been shaped by a desperate loneliness since her mother died when she was 8 years old. She was taken in by an cold aunt who never shied from letting her know she was a burden that had disrupted her life. The young and vulnerable Flora tried her desperate best to please her aunt and fit in with her, all to no avail despite the fact Flora spent years caring for her until her death. Like her mother, Flora is a talented florist, yearning to belong and be part of a real family.
However, her dreams seems beyond her reach, that is until the day widower Jack Parker comes in to buy flowers for his 17 year daughter, Izzy. A connection springs up between the two of them as he invites her for coffee, and in time Flora begins to hope that perhaps the impossible just might be hers, but the path to true love and a ready made family is strewn with obstacles. Jack has two daughters, 7 year old Molly and Izzy who has been taking care of her and their home since their mother, Becca, died a year ago. The entire family are still reeling from the long and tenacious fingers of a grief that has held them tightly in its festering grip, but Jack wants Flora to be part of his chaotic family. Whilst Molly slowly unfurls and lets Flora in, Izzy is a much more complicated, a hostile teenager, with her angst, fears, guilt, secrets and grief, determined to make Flora feel like an unwanted outsider.
Flora who has a history of people pleasing by doing what others want is going to have to learn to be comfortable being who she is if she is going to have any chance of belonging to a family she is beginning to love with all her heart as she joins them on their annual 3 week holiday in the Lake District in Britain. Morgan's central protagonist, the bohemian, deeply caring Flora, with her colourful clothes will snag your interest immediately as she embarks on what can often be a minefield and a emotionally rocky affair, that of the creation of a new blended family. This is a lovely and entertaining read that will appeal to many as Morgan once again weaves her magic. Many thanks to HQ for an ARC.