Hothouse Flower by Lucinda Riley
|Hothouse Flower by Lucinda Riley|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: An intriguing story full of moral dilemmas set around the Second World War and in the present with atmospheric locations.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 592||Date: November 2010|
In the London Season of 1939 Olivia met the Honourable Harry Crawford, heir to the Wharton country estate in Norfolk and he seemed like the perfect catch. It looked even better when his mother invited her to spend the summer at the estate and before long they were married. There were problems even before Harry went to fight in the Far East, but Olivia was determined that the marriage would work.
In the present, in a small house on the Norfolk coast at Blakeney, Julia Forester was struggling to come to terms with the death of her beloved husband and two-year-old son in a car crash some months before. By profession she was a concert pianist, but nothing could lift her from her depression. The first sign of being interested in anything came when her sister asked her to come to a sale at Wharton Park. Julia's grandfather had been a gardener there and she remembered with fondness the times she spent in the hothouses with him. Going back might help.
In the course of renovations at the estate a war-time diary was discovered and it's this that sets in train a series of events which will lead to the story of the love affair which almost destroyed the estate.
It's a great story, full of atmosphere as it moves from Norfolk to the South of France and to Thailand. There are several great love stories in there and a plot with plenty of twists. It could have seemed far-fetched, but wasn't mainly because Lucinda Riley has cleverly highlighted the moral dilemmas which were frequent in the thirties and forties when personal freedoms and wishes so often had to take second place to the needs of family and country. The dilemmas are real and the repercussions effectively portrayed. This is the strongest and most compelling part of the book.
As the story moves back and forth in time I occasionally found myself confused about who was who. It was only momentary but it's annoying to be pulled out of a story you're enjoying to place someone. I came to the conclusion that some of the supporting characters were not quite strong enough, particularly when the geographical backgrounds were so effortlessly strong.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
If this type of book appeals to you then you're sure to enjoy The House at Riverton by Kate Morton.
You can read more book reviews or buy Hothouse Flower by Lucinda Riley at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Hothouse Flower by Lucinda Riley at Amazon.com.
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Mary Molloy said:
Hi I have just finished reading Hothouse flower, What a amazing story line I couldn't wait to sit down and read it in the evening (goodbye to the TV) I have never read a book so awesome Congratulations to Lucinda.
Florence Millitt said:
What appealed to me about the book Hothouse Flowers by Lucinda Riley was the cover, however, I was rather put off by the fact it was in Richard and Judy's book club. I have always found that to be detrimental to a book, as their previous novels I have read have tended to be on the scilly cheesy side. But I did like the sound of this book, so I decided to read this.
It did actually start off with a lot of promise and I found in the first chapters I was enjoying it. I think I basically had an idea that the plot would be to do with the woman Julia's parantal roots, it would not take a genius to see that coming, as it is something that has been literally done to death in so many books. However, I found that in the middle of the book it seemed to loose its direction completley and became a little jumbled up. I found the long chapters extremly boring when they centred on the here and now and the relationship between Julia and Kit whom I thought behaved rather like a stalker. In the beginning of the book when it went back to 1939 focusing on Olivia, I did actually get into her character, and then it was gone and centred on the present day. Usually when one cannot put a book down it is a sign of a very good book. Sadly this one was quite an effort to get through until we eventually came to Thialand in 1945. That part of the book was good, and although the ending was predictable, there was still a little of a twist at the end of it. But what spoilt the book completley right at the very end was when it turned out that Julia's husband was alive. It was like something out of Eastenders and ruined the format completley. Also the ending was far to sugary and O.T.T. Yes, a happy ending is nice, but please lets keep it real. The ending was unrealistic to say the least with the fairy godmother coming to the rescue.
I do realise it is very difficult for an auther to weave in and out of the present to the past, and unfortunately I have been rather spoilt by Barbara Vines book A Dark Adapted Eye when she did this so expertly, although I do realise this was a psychological thriller. I think the auther tried to put too much into this book, she should have kept some parts of this more simple and concentraited more on whether this book centred in the past or present, as to me it came across as a present day Mills & Boon without the erotic scenes.