Published: Orion Publishing
Date: 30th June 2015
Format: ARC paperback
Source: Thanks to Hachette NZ
From the window of her shop, Blossom and Grow,Lara watches those who’ve bought her flowers headoff to face all manner of life-changing occasions.
Bridal posies, anniversary bouquets, surprise deliveriesfrom secret admirers, new-baby bunches – Lara arranges them all. And then there are the sadder occasions – the memorial wreaths, the ‘I’m sorry’ flowers.
No stranger to heartbreak herself, Lara knows that flowers can say more than words ever can. Beneath the twinkly fairylights, surrounded by buckets filled with cooling water and heaving with flowers, customers spill their secrets, the things they want to say, the things they wished they’d said. Lara can always find a way to bring their message to life.
The Flower Arrangement by Ella Griffin is set in Dublin and follows the life of Lara, the woman who owns and runs a flower shop. Really it is not just any flower shop, Lara has a gift for relating to people, their hopes and losses, their joys and sadness as she provides them with just the right flowers for them.
Lara herself has experienced loss, beginning with that of a child. Her marriage brings unexpected challenges and for awhile Lara flounders and goes into a deep dark hole. However the need of the people who frequent her shop slowly draw her back into life.
As well as following Lara the novel introduces slices of life of the various people that Lara has come through her shop or are connected to her in some way. Those with marriages in trouble, those who have lost children, those who hope for something better in life - like a mother who might care for them. We never know the outcomes for many of them, for some I know they'll make it, for others I am not so sure. There is a wealth of people from all walks of life, the rich and poor, all the while building up a picture of everyday life in Dublin.
Lara has a brother Phil, he is younger and they have always looked out for each other. Their Dad has raised them and his influence and presence is always there, sometimes just beyond, and both of them value his love and wisdom.
As the story unfolds there are some relationships that gain strength, others suffer a little from the way they are tied to previous relationships. The strength of this novel however I think is Lara's journey from loss to new beginnings and hope.
The cover of this novel is beautiful and would entice a reader in. However a number of times the author described the shop Blossom and Grow and it was not the one on the cover of this edition. A pity that they didn't marry up.
This is a well written book and I enjoyed it. While the cover might indicate this is a light read - it isn't, it is thought provoking, heartwarming and heart wrenching, filled with all kinds of people - a cross section of humanity.