It’s all her uncle’s fault. For years Charlotte Withersby has been free to pursue her love of plants and flowers by assisting her botanist father. But now that she’s reached the old age of twenty-two, an intrusive uncle has convinced her father that Charlotte’s future–the only proper future for a woman–is to be a wife and mother, not a scholar.
Her father is so dependent on her assistance that Charlotte believes he’ll soon change his mind…and then Edward Trimble shows up. A long-time botany correspondent in the South Pacific, Trimble arrives ready to step in as assistant so that Charlotte can step out into proper society–a world that baffles her with its unwritten rules, inexplicable expectations, and confounding fashion.
Things aren’t perfectly smooth between Trimble and her father, so Charlotte hatches a last gasp plan. She’ll pretend such an interest in marriage that the thought of losing her will make her father welcome her back. Only things go quickly awry, and she realizes that the one man who recognizes her intelligence is also the person she’s most angry with: Edward Trimble, her supposed rival. Suddenly juggling more suitors than she knows what to do with, Charlotte is caught in a trap of her own making. Will she have no choice but to leave her beloved flowers behind?
Siri Mitchell takes us to Victorian England in her newest novel about an unconventional young woman forced into society by a loving family member. Charlotte followed her parents into the field of botany and presumes that this is where she belongs. After her mother’s untimely death, Charlotte became her father’s assistant and, eight years later, has come to believe she is irreplaceable. Her nemesis, Edward, however, not only proves her wrong but also critiques her manners, behavior, and modes of dress. Who is this man who has usurped her place in her father’s life? Can she persuade him to leave before she’s married off?
Like a Flower in Bloom examines the lives of women at a time when they were only expected to marry, have children, and run a home. Neither Charlotte nor her friend, Miss Templeton, is enthusiastic about their expected roles and both look to avoid marriage proposals. Another character who falls outside this presumed portrait of femininity is the Withersbys’ housekeeper, Mrs. Harvey, who appears inept at cooking and other tasks. But it’s not just these women who fall outside society norms. Both Charlotte’s uncle, The Admiral, and Edward also go against what was expected of them in their choice of vocations.
Mitchell has written a novel in which characters sparkle, descriptions delight, and lessons are learned in terms of pride, humility, and being true to yourself. Although I felt the relationship between Charlotte and Edward was a bit disjointed, this is a light novel that should please fans of British historical romances.
Thank you to Bethany House for my complimentary copy of Like a Flower in Bloom, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
Have you read Like a Flower in Bloom? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)
Publication Date: 06 January 2015
Page Count: 368