Review of The Art of Arranging Flowers by Lynne Branard


About The Art of Arranging Flowers

Ruby Jewell knows flowers. In her twenty years as a florist she has stood behind the counter at the Flower Shoppe with her faithful dog, Clementine, resting at her feet. A customer can walk in, and with just a glance or a few words, Ruby can throw together the perfect arrangement for any occasion.

Whether intended to rekindle a romance, mark a celebration, offer sympathy, or heal a broken heart, her expressive floral designs mark the moments and milestones in the lives of her neighbors. It’s as though she knows just what they want to say, just what they need.

Yet Ruby’s own heart’s desires have gone ignored since the death of her beloved sister. It will take an invitation from a man who’s flown to the moon, the arrival of a unique little boy, and concern from a charming veterinarian to reawaken her wounded spirit. Any life can be derailed, but the healing power of community can put it right again.

My Review

“I think how we are all broken over one thing or another, how we all limp about, dragging our sorrows and troubles, our failures and disappointments, our perfect loneliness, and how it is when we suddenly open our eyes and see someone next to us dragging their own smashed bones. It seems only natural that we would want to crawl in their direction holding out our hands.”

Every once in a while I allow myself let loose and be swept away by a story. I found this story a much needed escape from the hectic demands of life. It warmed my heart and filled me with a sense of hope. Yes, I put my rose colored glasses on and enjoyed the lovely ride the story provided.

“But really it’s the children who touch me the most. They seem to unfold the easiest. They’re the ones who love with abandon, the ones who keep putting their hearts out there to be broken. They’re the ones who teach the rest of us what it is to love.”

I liked Ruby, her quiet economic presence. Her gift of brining people together, giving them a boost by knowing what they needed through her craft of flower arranging. The story was full of saccharin scenarios, unbelievable do-gooders, not to mention totally predictable, yet the slow meaningful way Ruby’s walls started to crumble was beautiful. Dan Miller was an absolutely memorable character, a downright beautiful soul, understandable how he mutely influenced others, especially Ruby. Will a young boy dealing with such profound loss, yet his heart is open, yearning. The entire cast and community was one large dose of feel good. Clementine nearly steals the show.

“I was crazy. I was broken. I was dead.
And then, one day I wasn’t. It took months and it took grace and it took some unexpected slight shift of sadness that slipped just enough, just barely enough to make room for beauty.”

Granted it’s more tell than show but in this case engaging your imagination fills the gaps, you add the primary or pastel colors to the already formed outline.

A tender, sappy story providing a fabulous diversion from the harshness of reality stressing the importance to give of yourself openly and freely, tear down your walls and live.

About Lynne Branard96929

Pseudonym for Lynne Hinton

Lynne Hinton is the pastor of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. The author of numerous novels including Friendship Cake, Hope Springs, Forever Friends, Christmas Cake, and Wedding Cake, she lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Published June 3rd 2014 by The Berkley Publishing Group

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