Publication Date: June 2, 2016
Jessie Martin’s life is complicated. Her husband of 20+ years with whom she has a grown daughter had an affair with a woman he now wants to marry and she’s struggling to move on. Dating seemed awkward and painful but a chance encounter with a young flower seller sparked a mutual attraction. Can Jessie rebuild her life when she works at the same law firm as her ex-husband and as a reminder of his betrayal and the complexity of the divorce is inescapable?
The author, Ellie Holmes, gave me a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.[easyazon_link identifier=”B01CIA09RS” locale=”US” tag=”rabidreaders-20″]The Flower Seller[/easyazon_link] by Ellie Holmes is a novel that could best be described as a romance. The novel is a chronicle of Jessie’s life how she rebuilds it in the face of a devastating betrayal. Jessie had a plan to become an equity partner in a law firm but put her life on hold, as many women do, when her child was born. Now that her daughter is attending a university and set on going to law school, her attention returns to the goals of her youth, but the unexpected hitch of a break with William sets her world spinning. Urged by her daughter and best friend to start dating, she gives it a try and meets the flower merchant, Owen, while on a date. The attraction between them is undeniable but Jessie is slow to trust (that he is much younger than her really never factors as a roadblock).
Jessie is a well-written character but has the flawed thinking many of us see in the friends whose spouses cheat on them. Complicating Jessie’s progress is that her ex-husband is manipulative and plays into the woman he claims to still love, blaming herself and keeping her self-esteem low. He’s not below using their daughter, who readers are supposed to believe is smart and a go-getter, to put pressure and to compromise her mother. I frequently recoiled at her inner dialogue. I had something of a connection with Jessie and wanted her to have the common sense subjective look at her situation that she sorely lacked. The first half of the book was focused on Jessie’s divorce and William’s life with Chelsea new wife, an increasingly demanding woman determined to live a lifestyle she expected William to have based on his job title. There are infrequent looks from William’s perspective, so we know that he’s angry but ultimately considers his ex-wife the one that got away. Nothing about our William based perspective belies the image of an accomplished narcissist and jerk.
Much of the subject matter was confounding to this reader. Don’t get me wrong; there are people who will love the novel. They will consider it real to life. The thought processes that Jessie had and the things she did and tolerated were so contrary to my own way of thinking, I had a hard time reading the novel without wanting to shake her out of the foolish cycle she seemed to be allowing herself while navel gazing. A third of the way through the book, Holmes could have easily lost 50+ pages as varied situations were unnecessarily drawn out. Jessie’s relationship with Owen, the eponymous flower seller, was in no way bump free and her ex-husband was often petty, childish and painted as a villain, piling angst on the suddenly single lead that maintained a certain level of interest from the reader. Holmes pulled threads that went nowhere and served little valuable purpose to the narrative beyond creating an image of a woman really unsure of her path. Just when the book seemed to come to a logical conclusion, it went on and turned everything on its head, giving Jessie a faux empowerment.
As a human-interest story, [easyazon_link identifier=”B01CIA09RS” locale=”US” tag=”rabidreaders-20″]The Flower Seller[/easyazon_link] is a solid read. Beyond the portions of the novel that go on perhaps a bit longer than necessary, there are no technical errors in the piece. Life doesn’t always work out as we’d like it and neither does fiction. In many novels characters evolve over the course of the story and while Jessie is fully formed, she’s also somewhat stagnated. [easyazon_link identifier=”B01CIA09RS” locale=”US” tag=”rabidreaders-20″]The Flower Seller[/easyazon_link] was simply not a book written for this reader. If it sounds like something that might appeal to you, give it a shot. You might just like it.
Read an excerpt and buy The Flower Seller by Ellie Holmes on