Reviewed by Susan Lobban
After losing her unborn baby Lara takes stock of her life and walks out of her office job to fulfil her lifelong dream of opening a flower shop. From the moment Blossom & Grow opens its doors, each customer leaves with a bouquet which suits their individual occasion perfectly. Lara has a gift of knowing exactly which flowers suit each person and the mood they wish to convey.
Just as certain blooms come together to make a beautiful arrangement, Lara’s shop allows people from all walks of life to see the beauty in even the most difficult of situations. Who knew something so simple could affect lives in such a profound way? When Lara’s own life is turned upside down she desperately needs some of the flowers’ magic to rub off on her.
Ella Griffin’s beautiful writing enables you to feel like you are quite literally stepping into the fragrant surroundings of Blossom & Grow. Surrounded by flowers I was eager to see who would step through the doors looking for the right bouquet to brighten up their life or others. I particularly loved the burly builder who reluctantly came looking for flowers for someone and was handled just right by Lara.
Lara immerses herself in heady fragrance and delicate beauty of flowers every day as at the end of the day when she shuts up shop she is instantly reminded of the tragedy her life has become. She opened the shop initially to help heal her heart broken from a miscarriage and now it is even more of a saviour when she has to deal with a failed marriage and her father dying from cancer. However, even flowers cannot help when it all gets too much and her regular customers are abandoned.
Lara’s father’s decline in hospital was vividly poignant as he desperately clung onto hallucinations of his long dead wife. It was a lovely thought that in his final days he was able to let go knowing that his soulmate was waiting for him.
Each chapter is named after a flower and as the book progresses we gain insight into other people’s lives – all brought together by the need for flowers in their life. This is when I felt my interest drift away. Usually I love intersecting stories, however I felt each new character lacked something compared to the heartbreaking life of the florist herself. I would have much preferred if the story had simply centered on Lara and her family. I do realise the author was trying to weave people together like a hand-tied flower arrangement, but for me it fell limp. I would like to revisit Blossom & Grow, but only to catch up with the owner.