Young romance opens like a rose . . . but even a rose has its thorns.
Tessa Gregory is nothing if not tenacious. Denied a position as a horticulturist at prestigious Como Park in Saint Paul, Minnesota, she is not above a little benevolent deception in order to get the park superintendent to change his mind and hire her. She plans to infiltrate the world of wealthy and influential people in hopes of drumming up financial support for a world-class conservatory. But before she can put those plans into action, she meets Reese King, a handsome gardener at Como Park–and a major distraction. Still, Reese might be the key to achieving her dream. But is his goal to help her . . . or to capture her heart?
The final book in The Gregory Sisters trilogy focuses on youngest sister Tessa. With the other Gregory siblings happily settled both at work and at home, it is now time for Tessa to set her course. In the past, she has entertained thoughts of being an actress and also a Pinkerton detective, but horticulture has been a constant throughout her life. She entered a college course in the subject, but it doesn’t look like she’ll be able to return. She applies for a job at Como Park, but the superintendent thinks it’s no place for a lady. Her sisters are in traditionally male professions, so Tessa isn’t going to give up. She’ll disguise herself as a boy and work alongside another gardener for free. When she learns the superintendent wants a conservatory, she uses her contacts in society to make it happen. When Reese spots her at a garden party he’s left wondering who the real Tessa is. Is she still harboring dreams of an acting career?
Disappointingly, I found myself getting bored with this book before I was even halfway through. I’d enjoyed the previous two titles in the series, but this one just couldn’t keep my interest. I was ambivalent about Tessa, and her constant use of the expression, “Cheese and crackers!” irritated me. I preferred reading about “Aunt” Samantha Phillips who had the secondary story. Sam’s biggest interest is in campaigning for the woman’s right to vote, but this often puts her at odds with other members of society. When she’s offered a chance at romance with a state senator it might mean having to end her activism. Can she force herself to be someone she isn’t? Would she be happy? Even though there’s drama in Tessa’s life, it’s Sam’s I found more interesting. I would’ve loved a whole book dedicated to this unconventional older woman fighting for her nieces’ rights in a time of societal change.
Thank you to Revell for my complimentary copy of As Love Blooms, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
Have you read As Love Blooms? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Revell (a division of Baker Publishing)
Publication Date: 19 May 2015
Page Count: 320