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Blue Dahlia (In the Garden, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – October 26, 2004

327 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Flower metaphors run amok in this first installment of Roberts's newest trilogy, which focuses on a quaint nursery called In the Garden and the haunted estate neighboring it. The book starts out at a plodding pace, with the sudden death of Stella Rothchild's beloved husband and her subsequent move, with her two young boys, from Michigan to the outskirts of Memphis. Fortunately, the pace picks up after Stella plants her roots at Harper estate and secures a job managing In the Garden, which is owned by Roz Harper, the same blunt, self-assured woman who presides over the estate. Though strictly regimented Stella forms a fast friendship with Roz, she clashes with Logan Kitridge, the nursery's sexy landscape designer. Logan is the antithesis of Stella—brash and impulsive, he thrives on chaos—but their enmity inevitably gives way to love. The scenes between them crackle with wit, charm and sexual tension, and are rivaled only by the warm relationships that develop among Stella, Roz and Hayley, a distant relative of Roz's who comes to the estate seeking a fresh start. Less effective is a subplot involving a ghost who doesn't seem to approve of Stella's relationship with Logan. This thread provides a few spooky moments, but it would have been more effective without the prologue's clichéd setup. While this book isn't vintage Roberts, it's a promising start to a new series.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Stella Rothchild loves everything about her new job as manager of In the Garden nursery. She appreciates her new, no-nonsense boss, "Roz" Harper, and she doesn't even mind living with Roz at Harper House, despite the fact that the ghost of the "Harper Bride" reportedly haunts the historic mansion. When a young and pregnant Hayley Phillips, a distant relative of Roz's, shows up at Harper House, she becomes a valued friend. The only thing Stella doesn't like about her situation is the ruggedly sexy yet completely annoying landscaper, Logan. Despite Stella's best efforts to develop a professional working relationship with him, he seems to have little time and no patience for her efforts to reorganize the nursery. Then Logan completely disrupts Stella's careful plans for her future by asking her out. Roberts, the queen of romance, launches a new trilogy with a captivating tale in which her considerable talents at creating richly compelling characters and witty, spellbinding stories come into full bloom in a paranormal-tinged romance. John Charles
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: In The Garden (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Jove; English Language edition (October 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 051513855X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0515138559
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (327 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #637,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Kristi Ahlers on October 13, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ms. Roberts is off to a great start with her latest "Garden Series" with the first of the books being "Blue Dahlia". This read offers the fan of the paranormal romance genre everything that Ms. Roberts is known for. Tears, Laughter, and a great cast of characters that tell their own story. Major and secondary characters are all important to the telling of this story and are not used as filler.

Sella Rothchild thinks that she has lost everything when her husband dies and leaves her a widow with two small boys to raise. What she needs is a change. A change comes with the chance of moving back to southern Tennessee in order to manage a plant nursery. She is going to work for Roz Harper and help her organize her already successful operation. One catch, she must live at Harper House, a wonderful old plantation manor that just so happens to have it's very own resident ghost. Oh, and one member of the staff does not want to be organized. This of course would Logan Kiteridge. Could a man be more madding???

It's not long before Stella is butting heads with garden designer Logan Kitridge and the sparks that fly from the first meeting only get brighter with each meeting there after. Soon Stella is florishing in her new situation, and she is even allowing her heart to open again to a new man, but someone on the plantation is not happy about it. Does Logan and Stella have half a chance at finding happiness that they both want, or will someone ruin their relationship before it even gets off the ground?

This was a fast-paced read that had this reader glued to the pages until the very end. Stella and Logan are a great couple, and the sparks they set off each other are fun to read about. As per normal when reading a Nora Robert book you will find both laughter and tears which is probably why she is a NY Times Bestselling author. I highly recommend this read and I look forward to the next in the series.

Official Reviewer for www.romancedesigns.com
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Rebgab on February 5, 2014
Format: Paperback
This is the first book in a wonderful series published in 2012. Paperbacks of the original book are still easily available. I really wish that publish dates would be included on a republished book.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Kelly VINE VOICE on February 16, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Stella Rothchild widowed at a young age with two boys to raise, uproots her life and moves to Tennessee to take a job managing a thriving nursery. Almost immediately, she feels at home at the home her employer Roz Harper provides her and her sons. As they bring in another lost soul Hayley into the fold, Stella feels a bond with the other two women, and feels like she belongs at Harper House, and couldn't be happier about her decision to move.

When she meets landscape designer Logan Kitridge, sparks ignite, and as Stella finds herself drawn to Logan, things start to happen that she can't understand. It appears that the ghost living within the confines of Harper House doesn't like Stella and Logan exploring a relationship. While everyone admits to the ghost always being a presence, they have never suffered the ire that the ghost directs toward Stella.

This is a very well written mystery, and the characters are wonderful. While we are introduced to the key six main characters, the supporting characters like David are priceless. Only pieces of the story of the Harper bride are disclosed, and the rest of the story promises to be exciting.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on October 27, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In Southfield, Michigan Stella Rothchild is making dinner when strangers arrived to tell her that her beloved husband Kevin died in a freak accident. Stunned, not long afterward, she leaves Michigan with her two young children for Memphis to get away from the memories.

Two and a half years later in Memphis, Stella has become manager of a nursery on the grounds of the Harper Mansion. Owner Rosalind Harper persuades Stella to move into the large house with her two boys. The work is fine and Stella enjoys her spirited battles with landscaper Logan Kitridge, which slowly brings her back to life. As they begin to fall in love, the angry lunatic ghost The Harper Bride haunts the mansion as she has for over a century seeking children especially infants. Stella wants to know why in order to protect her offspring, but the truth goes back to 1892 to one of Roz's ancestors and his mistress.

BLUE DAHLIA, the opening of Nora Roberts' paranormal trilogy is an exhilarating ghost story that grips the audience throughout the tale. Though Ms. Roberts writes more novels than rabbits breed, somehow she always makes her cast seem genuine regardless of the milieu she places them in. This tale is no different as the audience will appreciate the powerful secondary cast that for the most part reside at the Mansion; accept the realistic changes in Stella that keep the tale focused, and enable the audience to believe in ghosts.

Harriet Klausner
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31 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Kala on November 25, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Seems that I agree with many of the other reviewers here... this latest effort by Nora Roberts is just a little flat compared to many of her previous works.

The basic story is about widowed mother of two, Stella Rothchild. Stella is a nut about organization. She then falls for Logan Kitridge, the scatterbrained landscaper. In the story you also meet Roz and Hayley, heroines of the next two books in the trilogy, and the Harper Bride, resident ghost.

I'm hoping the other books will be more interesting, as I found Roz and Hayley to both be more fascinating than Stella. Stella was kind of boring, unfortunately. Also, I think too much of the story focused on other people and on the ghost, not enough on Logan and Stella. Their relationship seemed rather rushed and almost unrealistic.

Also, the gardening aspect was just plain boring. Maybe it's because I have no interest in gardening myself... but one of the things I always liked about Nora Roberts was the interesting jobs her characters had (treasure hunters, stage magicians, talk show hosts, writers, etc). Gardening isn't quite as fun to read about as a couple who fall in love while searching the ocean for buried treasure.

To be fair, Nora Roberts at mediocre is still YARDS better than most other writers at their best. I finished the book in a matter of hours and while it was not as good as some of her other stuff, it was still interesting enough to keep me reading. If I get bored with a book, I'll toss it aside and not bother finishing it. So, she gets 3 stars from me and I will be spending the money to read the other two books in the series. :)
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