I was drawn into The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas from the first chapter. Any time a story starts with a girl who has the ability to read the future in flowers I’m interested. Flowers have always told Rinette what was inside a person – what they were like and what may happen to them in the future. She had visions when she would breathe in the scent of the flowers and they would talk to her. The beginning of the novel finds Mary of Guise, the queen regent of Scotland dying and she requests Rinette’s presence. She leaves with Rinette a silver casket that contains papers for her daughter Mary, Queen of Scots and tells her that she must hide it until she can get it to her. First though she will be reunited with the love of her life only to offend one man who ultimately doesn’t forget her humiliation of him.
As you may expect the drama begins and Rinette is drawn into a world that she never really wanted. It turns out everyone wants this casket for what it contains and will do anything to get it including the queen as and, for her own reasons, Rinette is withholding it from her as well. For Rinette it completely alters her life and not always in a good way. She loses people she loves and gains people she hates. She learns that the very people she trusted with her life may have betrayed her. Along the way though there is one man who stands by her side but is he hiding a secret as well? I also enjoyed how the author wove into the story the life of Mary, Queen of Scots as a young queen and how she embroiled her in the drama that Rinette was involved in.
I liked Rinette as a character. I found her to be strong woman who took the downfalls of her life and worked with them. She was tough when she needed to be especially if it meant protecting those she loved. There was also a whole host of other characters woven into the story and it was surprising that it wasn’t hard to keep track of them at all. One of my favorite things was the descriptions of the flowers and the meanings that Rinette took from them. I think I would have enjoyed a lot more on this aspect in the book because I did like that sideline that pegged Rinette as a witch even though she wasn’t. Of course anyone back in that time who was different in any way had to be playing with magic.
The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas is a different take on your standard historical fiction novel in that the main characters are actually all fictional with our authentic characters more on the sidelines really. It was an interesting way to portray the story and it really caught my attention. In some ways I would almost say this was a historical mystery but better. I really enjoyed this portrayal of a time when Mary of Scotland was Queen – it was full of intrigue, backstabbing, murder, court politics, and love- all that really good stuff that make the book so good!
I read The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas for her book tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. Please stop by the other tour stops to see what others thought of the book. You can find Elizabeth Loupas on her website as well as on Facebook and Twitter. You can pick up your own copy of The Flower Reader here in the US and here in Canada.
GIVEAWAY DETAILS (US ONLY)
I have one copy of The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas up for grabs. To enter…
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This giveaway is open to US residents only (no PO boxes) and I will draw for the winner on Saturday, May 19/12. Good luck everyone!
Source: Review copy provided by the NAL Trade via NetGalley. No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are my own.