My rating: 4 of 5
The Art of Arranging Flowers by Lynne Branard (who also has written books under Lynne Hinton) is a book that gladly surprised me. From the beautiful pink flower filled cover, I thought it was going to be a typical light romance novel, but the story twisted and turned in directions I didn’t expect. And also, the story had much more depth than what the cover of the book makes it look like.
The Art of Arranging Flowers is the story of Ruby Jewell, a virtuous florist in Creekside, a small Washington town. She arrived when she was 22 and won her place in the hearts of everyone in that tight community with her knowledge of the art of arranging flowers.
Ruby’s life before she arrived in town wasn’t easy. With the help of the flowers and her new friends in town she is trying to overcome the tragic death of Daisy, her only sister. This unfortunate event had destroyed Ruby’s life. She had fallen into a deep depression that lead her to leave law school and alienate herself from everyone she knew. Until one day, she decided to live, she went out and was mesmerized by the brightness and colors of the flowers and nature all around her. Flowers literally snatched her “from the jaws of death” and set her back on the path of life.
I was crazy. I was broken. I was dead.
And then, one day I wasn’t. It took months and it took grace and it took some unexpected slight shift of sadness that slipped just enough, just barely enough to make room for beauty.
She became a florist, moved and bought the Flower Shoppe in Creekside and for twenty years through her skills and artful ways of arranging flowers she has been mending and solidifying everyone else’s relationships in town, as a way to give back to the source of her salvation. What she didn’t know or realize was that by doing that, she was mending her own broken heart.
The book kicks off to a good start. In the prologue you immediately bond with Ruby. As for me, since the beginning I bonded with Clementine. She is my favorite character, even though sometimes all she does is sleep and let people pat her head! 🙂
We also meet her friends Nora and Jimmy, who know Ruby is ready to open her heart again but haven’t quite yet convinced her of that. It is until Ruby meets a little boy named Will, Dan the wise astronaut and John the handsome newly single veterinarian who moves to town, that she realizes her heart is mended and ready to let the love she has been withholding burst out of her heart. *SPOILER* She discovers that she is not dead and that even though she doesn’t have real blood family members living, she can still find guidance, respect and love in people like Dan, she didn’t have to give birth to a child to know that she could become a mother and feel the same strong bond for a child, like she did for Will, and of course after being the town’s cupid she realizes it is time for her own heart to be struck by cupid’s arrow. * END SPOILER *
The love story is predictable in the sense that you of course know from the get go who Ruby is going to fall for. BUT it’s not your typical insta-love chick flick-ish romance that after some conflict ends up in a wedding. The romance takes some time to arrive. And that was refreshing to read.
To me The Art of Arranging Flowers is mainly a story about: familial, friendly, spiritual and romantic love. A story of how people with different backgrounds and ages can bond in the most unusual circumstances, with bonds that are as strong as steel. A story of how love is a choice, who you choose to love is your choice, not just something magical or fairy tale-ish that just happens if you are lucky. It’s your choice to love and be happy.
The book also deals with death in various aspects and how to cope with it. Every major character in the book has had to deal with death. They all do it in different ways. Without spoiling it much I must say that I didn’t agree with how the astronaut dealt with death. I thought his decision, as poetic as the author wrote it and made it look like, was pointless and unnecessary as he had such a good supporting system, a family, unconventional but a strong family in the end. With all the different stories, this book makes you think on how you can deal with all the aspects of death.
The book also touches the subject of forgiveness, amongst friends and loved ones and self-forgiveness; how it cannot be achieved until we have in some way made amends with those we’ve injured or thought we’ve injured. *SPOILER* It wasn’t until Ruby forgave herself for feeling she hadn’t been there for her sister, Will or Clementine that she moved on and opened up her heart to love and happiness again. *END SPOILER*
This book makes you also fall in love with flowers. After reading this book I wanted to fill my house with flowers. I can say that they are main characters in the story. I learned a lot of facts about flowers and how arranging flowers can be an art if you learn and apply notions of their colors, properties, aromas, etc. Flowers can be so therapeutic and soul healing not only for the people receiving the flowers but for the one arranging them. I now am taking more time than before to appreciate every single detail of each flower tiny, small or little I encounter on my path.
The only thing I regret from this book is that I wish I had more knowledge of flowers, as they are described in this book with such wonderful detail. It would definitely help me visualize the story better knowing how the flowers referenced in this book look like.
After having had a bad time reading a couple of tedious and pointless books, this was just the reading oasis my mind needed. The Art of Arranging Flowers is a charming story. It’s so different from what you expect it to be. Clearly defines the phrase never judge a book by its cover in a very good way. Flowers throughout the story gave it such wonderful colors and the end gave me complete closure. Despite the ending’s you could say tragic nature, it is refreshing to read a story where the characters end up having a colorful, bright and happy life ahead of them. *SPOILER* I particularly liked the part where the person dying reunites not only with her loved ones but a whole pack of her loved pets. I’d never thought of that, and even though I’m a big girl, I must admit that it makes me warm and happy in my heart to think that could happen to me one day. *bashful smile* *END SPOILER*
The Art of Arranging Flowers is a good read. The reading guide at the end of the book is a good tool for book clubs. I recommend it for those who are in the mood for a feel good story. It is a fast paced book to read that will definitely brighten up and color you book shelf.
Did you know these facts about flowers and plants? I didn’t.
To give flowers in a vase,” I continue, “is to demonstrate that more thought went into the gift. This kind of arrangement says, ‘I was thinking of doing this for you because I remember that it’s your birthday or our anniversary.’
I tie a bright purple ribbon around the stems because purple is especially potent for banishing what lies in the past. It seems to me that if the new veterinarian is trying to start a new life, he’ll need all the positive energy he can get to help rid himself of what he is leaving behind.
It’s called a good- luck bamboo, but it’s really considered lucky because of its peaceful vitality and sturdiness.
Not everyone knows that marigolds increase positive energies or that the rose is the ultimate gentle healing herb of love.
Jasmine is not just for increasing sexual desire. You told me yourself that it’s used for PMS
Job’s tears. When I get back to the design table, I add three seeds to the bouquet for luck.
Well, the white Easter lily symbolizes purity, hope, and life; I guess it’s like the meaning of Easter, Jesus rising from the dead, life coming from death, spring coming after winter. It’s a flower that everyone thinks of when they think of resurrection.
Purple banishes what lies in the past, and yellow balances the emotions.
…lily of the valley when he comes in the morning.” I know they help with cardiac issues.
Daisies are special flowers in my family. Day’s eyes! it all makes sense! 🙂
She wears flowers in her hair, daisies, of course, white ones, “day’s eyes,” I tell her, the phrase from Old English, what they used to call the flowers because they opened to the sun and folded in on themselves at night.
It would be good to feel like this some day:
I have a few more things I need to do but mostly I am finished with my time on Earth. I feel ready to return to star-dust. Everything is good with my heart.
When we grow up….:
It’s weird, isn’t it, how we grow up and lose parts of ourselves that were so important to us when we were kids?
And then, I don’t know, it’s like I just lost my voice, got afraid of what everybody would think of me and just started accepting everything I was told. It’s like one day I just grew up and turned into somebody else.
I’ve felt this way sometimes:
I am filled to the brim and I am utterly empty and I wonder how it is that a person can be both things in exactly the same moment.
This is were it gets deep:
Sometimes we think there is supposed to be this great spiritual awakening that happens before we make a change in our lives. We expect some ‘aha’ moment, some beautiful enlightening experience to shape us into the people we want to be, but sometimes it just happens from the circumstances in our lives that present themselves. We become who we are meant to be because of the things along our edges that pull us into existence.
…friends are the family members we get to choose.
- dieffenbachia: noun. Any of a genus (Dieffenbachia) of erect poisonous tropical American plants of the arum family having usually variegated leaves and often grown as houseplants.
Words have multiple meanings, what you read are those that apply at how the word is used in this book.All definitions taken from the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary.
Library Binding (*pre-order)