Sunday, April 6, 2014

Book Review: Bloom and Doom

Bloom and DoomAuthor: Beverly Allen
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Series: A Bridal Bouquet Shop Mystery # 1

As the co-owner of The Rose in Bloom, Audrey Bloom creates magnificent flower arrangements for brides to be. Though helping to plan a wedding can be stressful, it’s nothing compared to the groom turning up dead. 

A designer of eye-catching bridal bouquets—many of them based on the Victorian meanings behind each flower—Audrey Bloom is used to celebrations that end with happily ever after. In fact, every couple she’s worked with is still together, living in wedded bliss. But her perfect record is about to be broken.

Her childhood friend Jenny Whitney has reeled in the most eligible bachelor in Ramble, Virginia, and she’s hired Audrey to design the bouquet. But before Jenny can walk down the aisle clutching her blend of anemone, scabious, and pussy willow (a floral disaster in Audrey’s mind), the groom is found dead—sprinkled with bits of a bouquet. This is bad for business—not to mention for Jenny, who has become the prime suspect. So Audrey decides to do a little digging herself, hoping she won’t be the next Ramble resident pushing up daisies.

The lavender rose is a symbol of love at first sight. Oh, great.

Choosing flowers was romantic enough.

Amber Lee slit open the box with a utility knife. “Mark my words, Audrey. That kind only settles down when he’s good ready. Or dead.”

Finally, I poured myself a bowl of cereal and settled on the sofa for a quiet afternoon of carbs and an old musical on television. My Fair Lady for the umpteenth time. One of my favorites. After all, in her own way, Eliza Doolittle was a florist.

In this brand new series, cousins Audrey Bloom and Olivia “Liv” Rose own and operate the Rose in Bloom flower shop. They both have a passion for flowers, but Audrey views the flowers as more of a calling than Liv. Audrey allows the flowers to “speak” to her and chooses flowers depending on what they symbolically represent. Audrey is preparing for one of the biggest weddings that Ramble will ever see, when the groom and notorious playboy, Derek, is found stabbed to death with a knife from the flower shop and a bouquet of flowers lying beside him. Jenny, Derek’s fiancĂ©e and Audrey’s friend, is arrested for his murder. Audrey knows that she must get to the bottom of this, especially since she just hired Jenny on for extra help at the flower shop, and her business could be on the line!

This book was a fresh start at one of the genres that I love best. Any day is perfect to cuddle up with a cozy mystery. This book was cozy, sweet, and took me no time to finish. I immediately fell in love with Audrey and Liv, and loved to hear about all the bouquets and arrangements that the two of them put together. You will learn a lot about what different flowers mean and symbolize from this series! Audrey is a very smart, clever character. She is not over the top, like some lady sleuths, but brings just enough curiosity and brains to the scene. She is a very modest person, and her calm, serene nature is what I so easily fell in love with.

The mystery was well-written and clues were slowly and subtly given to the reader. The suspect list was also something that we are kept in the dark about until a little later in the book. Beverly Allen did a great job of building suspense for the reader. You are slowly given missing pieces to the puzzle as you read, and I must admit that I love that this mystery was not frontloaded and that a lot of the juicy tidbits were hidden until the reader became more invested in the characters! If you cannot tell, I am very excited for this series and am very pleased with this first book!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Berkley Trade in exchange for my honest review***

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for the kind review. I'm so glad you enjoyed meeting Audrey!

    --aka Beverly Allen