Author: Siri Mitchell
Review by Grace Olson
Taken from Bethany House’s website description of Like a Flower in Bloom:
He Stole the Work She Loved.
Will She Let Him Steal Her Heart as Well?
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 has such a way with words, her books always stand out to me. I felt immersed in the Victorian England culture as I read this book, feeling deeply Charlotte’s sense frustration and unfairness. I found, when I would put down the book, that my thoughts had even been converted to that singular form of thinking (see, it just happened!). One of the reasons I particularly enjoyed this book was how it put me in mind of Pride and Prejudice or Emma or Sense and Sensibility, which I love to watch in movie form, though the book is set several decades after those time periods.
Charlotte was a completely unique character. Her love of botany and her way of thinking are so completely different than my own, that she was fascinating to read about. I liked also, how she viewed the social conventions of the time. She wasn’t caught up in what was expected or behaving in exactly the right way. Her ignorance was fun to read about, since most of the books I’ve read set in this time period depict the heroines from another viewpoint.
Another interesting feature of this book, which characterizes many of Siri’s books, is that it is written from the first person point of view ( “I” ), and the hero’s viewpoint was completely left out. This made me feel a lot closer to Charlotte, and I was able to experience with her the confusion that Mr. Trimble’s comments elicited.
In all, this book was a refreshing read that I would definitely recommend if you’re a fan of Jane Austen’s works. In the process, I guarantee that you’ll learn quite a bit of history about botany, Great Britain’s opium war, and what it was like to live as a woman in this particular time and place.
About the Author
Biography from Bethany House’s website: Siri Mitchell is the author of nearly a dozen novels, among them the critically acclaimed Christy Award finalists Chateau of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door. A graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in business, she has worked in many different levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived in places as varied as Tokyo and Paris. Siri currently lives in the DC-metro area. Visit Siri’s website at www.sirimitchell.com
I was given a review copy of Like a Flower in Bloom from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.