If I had to pick a genre of book that is my absolute favorite, it would be historical fiction. More specifically, historical fiction that takes place in Europe between the reigns of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. I find the history between England and Scotland during this time to be absolutely fascinating! When I was offered the opportunity to join the blog tour for The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas I immediately said yes, knowing it took place during my favorite time period!
Rinette Leslie has quite the interesting gift. She can read flowers as if they are Tarot cards, divining the future through her connection with all things floral and plant related. Additionally, she is one of the ladies in waiting to Mary of Guise, the Queen of Scotland. On her deathbed, the Queen asks Rinette to use her gift to tell her what her future holds, yet once everyone leaves her alone with the Queen, she encounters a different task: the Queen gives Rinette a small casket full of important letters and documents that she instructs Rinette to keep safe until her daughter, Mary Stuart, can return to Scotland and ascend to power. Unable to resist a look at their important cargo, Rinette and her husband open the casket and find that the letters and documents are meant to help Mary Stuart in her quest to take over the throne, and contain very important secrets. As a result of his knowledge of the contents of the coffin, Rinette’s husband is murdered by an unknown assailant. Distraught and filled with vengeance, Rinette takes a place at the new Queen’s court in order to hunt down her husband’s killer. Will her plans succeed? Will she too be killed over the casket’s contents?
When I first finished this book, I was struck by the Loupas’ creativity. It’s not every day that you hear of a character that has the power to read futures in flowers! I think it added an interesting touch to Rinette’s personality, and helped make her character seem more mysterious and powerful. Granted, as a woman who has lost her love and vows revenge she is quite powerful on her own, but this touch seemed to make her quest that much more adventurous and really made the chapters fly by. The plot moves as a break-neck pace, and events are constantly swirling. When you think things have calmed down for a moment, it picks right back up again. There is definitely no shortage of action in this story.
Another thing I noticed was the correlation between Loupas’ writing style and Phillipa Gregory’s. I definitely think that fans of Phillipa would enjoy this work, as there are similarities in how intricate and exciting the plots are. The anticipation and antsy feeling that I got while reading about Rinette’s adventures definitely reminded me of Phillipa’s works. And being that Phillipa is one of the best known writers of this genre, that’s a good thing! One slight detraction I did notice was that the sheer amount of characters in this work tended to confuse me at parts. The character index in the front of the novel did help a bit, but I still was scratching my head at some points.
Overall, Loupas’ tale is an excellently written story of love, betrayal, revenge, and loyalty. Couple this with an exciting plot that leaves you on the edge of your seat, waiting to see what will happen next, and you have a recipe for a great hit. I definitely recommend this one, especially to all the Phillipa fans out there. You won’t be disappointed!
4 out of 5 Stars
This is my twentieth completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge
The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas
Penguin Group (2012)
Paperback: 448 pages
Special thanks to Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for my review copy! I’m just one stop on the blog tour for The Flower Reader! You can check out all the other stops here! For those of you on Twitter, follow the hashtag: #FlowerReaderVirtualTour