Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Book Review: My Floral Affair

Author: Rachel Ashwell
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
Publisher: CICO Books

Discover Rachel Ashwell’s floral inspirations and the unique touch she brings to interiors in her first book dedicated to flowers, a deeply-held passion come to life.

Flowers and floral decoration are at the core of Rachel Ashwell’s world and her designs. From her showcase rose garden in California, she set out with photographer Amy Neunsinger to capture the full-blown romance of the quintessential English country house, the dramatic colorways of northern Europe, and the faded opulence of a Parisian apartment. This is the story of that magical journey, which takes us through a variety of beautiful spaces large and small, some ornate and others simple. Every aspect of floral accents is showcased, from wallpaper to fabrics, floors to ceilings, architectural details, lighting and, of course, flower arrangements, some breathtaking and some simple… but all beautiful in their own right.

Rachel Ashwell’s writing in this glorious new book captures her desire to find and enjoy whimsical spaces and the beautiful, alluring flowers they possess. Her writing to readers in the opening pages is touching and completely reminiscent of a personal conversation one would have with his or her best friend. Throughout the book, Ashwell reminisces over the many places she has visited and the memories she has made there. Her writing is very relatable and, alongside the marvelous pictures, really allows readers in envision the spaces and feel as if they are there.

Her writing is very poetic and lyrical. The way that she describes flowers is remarkable and makes it easy for readers to see and follow her passion. Ashwell talks about her designs in such a meaningful manner; she talks about what she shares in common with a lot of her clients and makes it very easy for readers to relate to her. I read each of the picture captions with meticulous patience, being sure not to miss a single description. This is the first book that I have devoured by Ashwell, but I am already on the hunt for more.

Over the years I have often stated what a duller and less magical world it would be if there had never been a flower and all they inspire, but fortunately we have all had a richer and more beautiful life graced with the wonderful world of flowers.

Her hands work the soil and it fills her heart.

The floral arrangements here are entirely my own, so no wire or foam and no symmetry, which seemed to suit the surroundings and the perfect Georgian proportions.

I don’t consider myself a gardener or a landscape designer, and I truly don’t have a green thumb. But I do have a spiritual connection to the beauty of blooms and a vision that transfers into a floral heaven in my garden.

While natural, classic, traditional flowers will always be my comfort zone, I am little by little educating myself and experimenting outside of my palette with unexpected choices, and in doing so I am finding my floral affair expanding.

The writing was moving, the pictures were jaw-dropping, and the anecdotes that flowed with the pictures were down-to-earth inspiring. This book will gladly sit atop my coffee table as we welcome spring in the coming weeks. I am inspired by some of Ashwell’s blooms to try and create some of my own. Like I mentioned earlier, I had no clue how popular Rachel Ashwell’s designs are and I am now on the hunt for more of her work.

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

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