By: Lynne Branard
Publisher: The Berkley Publishing Group
Publication Date: June 2014
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: June 28, 2014
The Art of Arranging Flowers is a bittersweet account of one woman’s struggle to reconnect.
Ruby Jewell is at a crossroads in her life. After losing her beloved sister, Daisy, there isn’t much point for Ruby to continue her own journey through life. Barely going through the motions of existence in her day to day struggle; somehow, today is different. Ruby has an awakening and acknowledges the many reasons she must carry on. It’s what Daisy would have wanted her to do. How odd the epiphany would come to Ruby by way of flowers. It’s time for Ruby to face her desolate and personal course of self-destruction. Daisy’s spirit channels through the spectral varieties of plants and flowers and delivers a deep-seeded message to Ruby for her to carry on with her own life.
Ruby experiences her awakening and begins her uphill climb to embrace life once more. Her floral business thrives in a quiet Washington town due to her maintenance to a fault of her database full of clients. They are more than ‘files’ however, and she carefully personalizes each customer’s file with specifics unique only to them. Sadly, the attention to detail leaves little time for Ruby to tend to her happiness. If only Ruby would pause for a moment. She should pay attention to why young Will came into her life when he did. Perhaps she should delve a little further into the sublime messages delivered with tenderness and kindness from retired astronaut Dan. There is much for Ruby to learn beyond flowers. Maybe she will arrive at her own destiny and understand how deserving she is of a complete life - a life that flowers play an important role in delivering.
Through the foundational support of flowers and the rich development of the character Ruby Jewell, it is no wonder best selling author Lynne Branard has struck gold once again. Ms. Branard guides her pen with lovely prose as she educates her readers about the healing and medicinal purposes of many flowers and plants. However, this is not an encyclopedic rendering with 40-character scientific terminology. Rather this is a novel laid out in beautiful and fluid prose. Branard has managed a novel of epic feel good and relatable measures. Through her careful and insightful development of main character, Ruby Jewell, Branard delivers a believable story full of heart-felt enticement. Her readers will want to walk alongside Ruby and feel the depths of her grief as much as the glory of uplifting moments - a writing gift Branard truly owns. Often when I read a solidly written book, it is difficult to carve out one particular passage because the overall body of work exemplifies the author’s gifted ability. That said, I found this one in particular, truly moved me: “...Flowers. Do you know, scientifically, how they bloom... the blooming happens on the outside before it happens in the middle... sometimes we think there is supposed to be this great spiritual awakening that happens before we make a change in our lives. We expect some ‘aha’ moment, some beautiful enlightening experience to shape us into the people we want to be, but sometimes it just happens from the circumstances in our lives that present themselves. We become who we are meant to be because of the things along our edges that pull us into existence...” Congratulations Ms. Branard, you have written a novel that leaves an indelible memory long beyond its proverbial ‘The End.’
Quill says: The Art of Arranging Flowers delivers a resounding message of hope and encourages the notion to embrace the glory of life’s journey and ultimately, welcome the varied outcomes.