Poppy Carmichael, 30, certainly never intended to own a florist. But when she inherits her grandmother’s beloved flower shop on the beautiful Cornish coast, Poppy has no choice but to return to the pretty harbour town of St Felix where she spent much of her childhood.
Returning to St Felix brings back sad memories for Poppy. But when she makes new friends such as local flower grower Jake, a young widowed father of two teenagers, Poppy begins to overcome her fears, and discover for herself what’s so special about this little flower shop by the sea.
Source: ARC from Little, Brown Book Group UK via NetGalley
It took me a while to get into this book, to the point where I thought I might not actually finish it. Because of Poppy. I really struggled to like her at first. I’m usually all for the misfit bucking the family trend, but Poppy is so prickly and is more than a tad juvenile in her behaviour at times that I wondered why I should care about her. Obviously something went wrong during her childhood, which made her scared of crowds and flowers and turned her into the closed off hermit she pretends so hard to be, but it takes so long for this to actually be explained that I was very close to not caring.
Which would have been a shame, because actually this is a charming little tale of flowers and close knit communities and has more than a touch of magic about it. Even Poppy improves on closer acquaintance, mostly thanks to the lovely Amber, the spiritual florist from New York, and dear old Basil, the grumpy basset.
I hate when secrets are kept from the reader for absolutely no reason whatsoever, especially when it’s a secret kept by the first person narrator and is blindingly obvious all the way through except for the minor details that would explain something major, like Poppy’s fear of flowers. It was all so unnecessary and left me feeling irritated with this book. A bit like how the action skipped forwards months at a time, cutting out fun parts like the transformation of the shop, or the way Amber’s “special” bouquets are received, or events at Trecarlan. For a book of this length, I was often felt left out of the fun things, while the dull bits were left in – such as Ash.
But if you don’t mind unnecessary secrets and constant time jumps, then there’s plenty to enjoy here. Especially helpful Jake, who always appears when Poppy needs a hand, or sweet Woody the local PC. There are lots of great secondary and side characters actually, that help build up a picture of the cute little seaside town and the magic of the flowers. I loved the magic of the flowers and the use of the Language of Flowers throughout. It definitely added an extra layer of charm to the tale, especially when things took a decidedly random turn into mystery and a smattering of crime.
Overall this is cute and fun and charming, perfect for a summer read, without ever getting too deep or meaningful. It skipped about too much for me to really enjoy it, but it left a lovely feel of flowers and a pleasant sense of enjoyment. If you want something light and sunny, then you can’t go far wrong with this. Although I was left wondering about Amber and whether she might end up with a story of her own sometime. There were definitely loose ends left there to be tied up.
The Little Flower Shop by the Sea is Out Now!
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