The Flower Book by Catherine Law

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The Flower Book by Catherine Law

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Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Louise Jones
Reviewed by Louise Jones
Summary: Violet is courted by local squire Weston Penruth, but runs away to London to escape his suffocating advances. There, she meets and falls in love with a local artist, Jack, but secrets from her past threaten to overshadow everything. She records everything in her flower book, which is later found by her daughter, Aster.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 350 Date: May 2014
Publisher: Allison and Busby
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780749015824

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Violet’s flower book is her secret treasure; a way to glimpse inside her soul. So much more than a mere diary, Violet uses the secret language of flowers to convey her innermost thoughts and feelings. She takes inspiration from nature and uses it to tell a story across the pages of her private journal. A simple pressed gorse flower brings back warm memories of a carefree day at the cove with her best friend, a bold peony is a bitter reminder of an unwelcome suitor and a handful of poisonous tansy is the key to her biggest secret of all...

Years after her mother’s death, Violet’s daughter Aster attempts to unlock the secrets of her mother’s flower book and find out the truth about her early life. She has to separate rumour from fact and soon she uncovers some shocking truths that threaten her own happiness. A missing page, torn from the journal holds the key to understanding what really happened to Violet, but where could it be after all these years?

The Flower Book is an absorbing novel about life and love at the time of the Great War. The characters are all wonderfully written, with great depth and shades of light and dark. The sweet innocent Violet is a perfect contrast to the aloof and distant local squire, Penruth, who has a dangerous obsession with her. In turn, the object of her affections, Jack, is transformed from a gentle street artist to a broken and disturbed shell of a man, shaken by the horrors of war. The story plays out beautifully and the book was quite impossible to put down. Likewise, the backdrop of the story can transport the reader from an idyllic harvest day in the English countryside to the nightmare of the trenches and the stench of sweat and blood.

The story is sad and haunting and reflects the true horror of war and the effect that it had on everyday people and yet it is also an inspiring, uplifting story of hope.

If Michael Morpurgo had written Tess of the d'Urbervilles, the result would have been something similar to The Flower Book. I loved the way that this story was written, especially the idea of the flower book, which has inspired me to fetch my old flower press down from the loft and start a flower book of my own. This unique and enjoyable tale is a fitting tribute to all those affected by war and has been written with sensitivity and empathy. I always feel that the hallmark of a good story is that it moves the reader emotionally. This book made me cry. Many thanks to the publishers for this review copy.

If this book has inspired you to try pressing flowers, Handmade Paper Pierced Cards by Patricia Wing has some great creative ideas on how to use them.

Buy The Flower Book by Catherine Law at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Flower Book by Catherine Law at

Buy The Flower Book by Catherine Law at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Flower Book by Catherine Law at


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