I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.The Art of Arranging Flowers by Lynne Branard
Published by Berkley on June 3, 2014
Length: 320 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
A moving and eloquent novel about love, grief, renewal—and the powerful language of 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.
The Art of Arranging Flowers by Lynne Branard is a story about Ruby Jewell, the local florist, and how she begins to live again twenty years after the death of her baby sister. Ruby is alone, save her dog Clementine, and she’s okay with that, or at least she thinks she is. The arrival of Will, a ten year old orphan living with his grandparents after the death of his mother, and her first date since college with Captain Dan Miller help her realize otherwise.
This story is so beautifully written! The author weaves Ruby’s tell so intricately with the work she does as a florist that it flows seamlessly. I never knew flowers could be so beautiful or mean so many different things to different people, but that is what makes Ruby’s character so special. With her arrangements that she works so hard on, she creates not only a visual masterpiece, but also a heartfelt one as well. Using different elements and colors to promote love, health, and forgiveness, Ruby is special to those who know her, yet she doesn’t know it at the beginning of the story. To Ruby she is alone.
Nora and Jimmy, her employees and closest friends, know her best and slowly work on breaking the wall around her heart. Then enter Will, a young orphan with a passion for flowers, and Ruby opens herself fully to him, understanding his grief unlike anyone else. Their bond is so sweet, I just fell in love with little Will, and Ruby says it best:
[Children] 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.
And Ruby learns this from Will. Then there’s Captain Miller, a former astronaut who is dying and takes it upon himself to slowly bring Ruby back to life. His wisdom and guidance, but most importantly his friendship is just what Ruby needs.
For anyone that has lost a loved one, especially one that died before their time, it is easy to relate with Ruby. The author portrays very real feelings and even after twenty years the heartbreak and loneliness of losing that loved one. This story deals with love and death in a way that I’ve never read before. I loved every word! Though this book is geared towards an older audience, it’s message and meaning can go for all ages. With hints of Christianity throughout the story, I would recommend this to anyone looking for an inspirational, up-lifting read.