Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Blog Tour Review: The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas

From the Back Cover:

Rinette Leslie of Granmuir has the ancient gift of divining the future in flowers, but her gift cannot prepare her for the turmoil that comes when the dying queen regent entrusts her with a casket full of Scotland's darkest secrets. On the very day she means to deliver it to newly crowned Mary, Queen of Scots, Rinette's husband is brutally assassinated.

Devastated, Rinette demands justice before she will surrender the casket, but she is surrounded by ruthless men who will do anything to possess it. In the end, the flowers are all she can trust-and only the flowers will lead her safely home to Granmuir.

My Thoughts:

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, so above I've used the abbreviated version from Goodreads. 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.

My Rating:  4 Stars out of 5

Giveaway!

Elizabeth has generously offered up a copy of The Flower Reader along with a lovely handmade bookmark to one of my U.S. readers! To enter, simply leave a comment with your email address! This giveaway is open only to U.S. residents and ends at 11:59pm, Tuesday, May 1st. Winner will be selected at random.

This giveaway is closed and the winner has been selected.
Check my sidebar for more great giveaways!

The Flower Reader is on a blog tour!
Click here to view the tour schedule.
Click here to visit Elizabeth's website.




26 comments:

  1. Divining the future through flowers? Sounds very intriguing. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Diana
    bookofsecrets(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  2. Historical novel flowers would love to read it.Lomazowr@gmail.com

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  3. I love The Second Duchess by this author and have eager to read this novel. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  4. I've heard about this book somewhere else and was interested in it. Would love to read it. thanks for the giveaway!
    Lmackesy at gmail.com

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  5. Still interested in the Flower Reader. I love fast paced books.

    CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

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  6. The Flower Reader sounds unforgettable and special. Many thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  7. thanks for featuring The Flower Reader which is unique and intriguing. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  8. This book sounds wonderful. Would love to read it. Thank you for the giveaway.
    jman1985@yahoo.com

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  9. I agree with your review -- I definitely think the back blurb does giveaway too much -- plus the cast list! I spoiled a major plot twist for myself by studying the cast list ahead of time. :/ I really enjoyed this book -- it was such fun. V nice review!

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  10. Great review! I didn't originally think the back blurb was too spoilerish, so I just went and re-read it and after doing so have to agree that it gives far too much of the plot away. I also agree with Audra that the list of characters definitely does also.

    Glad you enjoyed the novel.

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  11. so need to read The Flower Reader!!!!
    congrats to Elizabeth!! continued success to you!!!

    thank you for the giveaway!!

    cyn209 at juno dot com

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  12. I did read and liked her other book so yes I am intrigued by this review now

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  13. Wow, this book sounds amazing! Thanks for the giveaway and sharing your thoughts about the book. :-D

    pherlaithiel (at) gmail (dot) com

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  14. I am so excited to read this story. I loved His Last Duchess and will be reading this book either way, but it would be wonderful to win a copy. Thanks for the giveaway!
    candc320@gmail.com

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  15. Woohoo, another chance to win this great book! janesteen(AT)hotmail(DOT)com.

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  16. thank you for the contest! i would love to read this.

    inthehammockblog at gmail dot com

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  17. This book sounds great- thanks for the giveaway!

    Rachelhwallen@gmail.com

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  18. I've had my eye on this book for a while. Sounds very promising!

    vicky.bowman@yahoo.com

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  19. Hi, Jenny,

    Thanks so much for your review, and for sticking with the book. Sometimes I wish I could go back and rewrite things after the fact, but sadly it's too late. :)

    We debated the character list, and talked about putting it in the back instead of in the front. I did rewrite some of the descriptions to make them less spoilerish. But it's a big cast of characters and in the end we decided that the list would be helpful. Perhaps next time I should put a note at the top that there are spoilers in the character list!

    Thanks again, and thanks also to all your wonderful commenters.

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  20. Thanks so much for the giveaway!!!
    Tiffany
    kohlert@vet.k-state.edu

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  21. I'd like to have the chance to read sounds great! Thanks for the giveaway. nancysoffice at gmail dot com

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  22. Very nice review. The book sounds good. Thanks for the giveaway.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  23. The Second Duchess was my favorite historical fic last year. I'm really excited for this one.

    pizza.assassin@gmail.com

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  24. LOVE THE SECOND DUCHESS, def want in for THE FLOWER READER! Thanks,
    kimmi.rich (at)gmail.com

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  25. I've seen this one around, and it sounds SOOO good! Thanks for the heads-up about the back cover. I'll be sure to avoid looking at it until after I've read the book.

    lsl dot scrapper at gmail dot com

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  26. Thanks for this review. I haven't read either of these books yet, but I have been interested in this one. I like the idea of the floramancy and I agree with you that it's always interesting to see the Scottish court.

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