- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Berkley; 1 edition (April 3, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451235819
- ISBN-13: 978-0451235817
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 43 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,261,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Flower Reader Paperback – April 3, 2012
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"A spellbinding story of Rinette Leslie, a spirited young woman who carries secrets and gifts that theaten the throne of Mary, Queen of Scotland in the 1560s. Assassins, secret caskets, and the whispers flowers can speak thread through the story. The flower imageery is lovely..."
Karleen Koen, author of Through a Glass Darkly and Before Versailles
"Elizabeth Loupas' engaging second effort gives a thought-provoking peek into the inner working of the court of Mary, Queen of Scots. Thick with intrigue and spiced with scandal, The Flower Reader is a lush, vibrant tapestry of a book."
Deanna Raybourn, national betselling author of The Dark Enquiry
“Mary Stuart is portrayed in all the fullness of her enchanting youth: impulsive and sweet, majestic and clever but also vain, naïve, temperamental and slightly neurotic. Her court is brought to life, as are the various factions and plots which rend Scotland asunder and lead to Mary’s downfall. Loupas accurately depicts a stormy, complex era by means of a page-turning mystery and romance.”
--Historical Novels Review
“Loupas demonstrates how meticulous research and lush details make for a fascinating novel, drawing readers into the court and life of Mary, Queen of Scots, through the eyes of a young woman whose ability to divine the future through flowers leads her to danger and love. The mystery and treachery of the era, and the political struggles, are all wonderfully portrayed.” –Romantic Times
“The novel mixes history with fiction brilliantly. The time period is well-researched, so much thought and detail is put into the novel, and you can tell how much Loupas enjoyed writing the novel. The passion and love for the characters and plot shine through. The Flower Reader is guaranteed to be a top novel of 2012!” –Examiner.com (Pittsburgh Examiner, PA)
"...the character of Rinette bursts forth from the start, showing her strong resolve to keep herself, her loved ones, her property and her resolve under murderous pressures! I loved her brave spirit and her willingness to stare down death and queens despite her youth, power and lack of weapons. Because of this beautiful, mystically talented and unabashedly strong woman this novel is one of my favorite historical novels this season... five stars."
--A Bookish Libraria
"In this richly dramatic and darkly potent historical novel, Elizabeth Loupas unveils a tale of dark intrigue imbued with drama, violence and love..."
About the Author
Elizabeth Loupas has held various positions in radio and television, and worked as an editor, writer, and marketing consultant. She lives near Dallas, Texas.
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All things considered, this book is a pleasant read. I was often confused about who was related to whom and how Rinette knew certain people, but by the end of the novel, I sort of had the hang of it all. I am not well-read in this period of Scotland, though, so perhaps someone who knows more about the time period would not have trouble keeping up with the characters. Nico de Clarac was a different sort of hero from the ones writers usually describe. He is completely the flamboyant courtier, yet he was raised in a monastery by monks. He wears make-up and more jewelery than the heroine, yet he engages readily in sword fights. This slightly effeminate and yet hardened man was a nice departure from the usual alpha males read about in so many historicals.
The plot was well-paced, and it kept me reading. For some reason, though, I just can't give this book 4 stars. I can't pinpoint one thing that I didn't like about the book, but there are several small things that may have prevented me from falling in love with it. The writing style on occasion got on my nerves. The author would repeat entire pieces of dialogue from earlier in the book as if we hadn't read it at all or as if the reader wouldn't remember what was said. Also, I couldn't quite get on board with the characters. Something about them seemed 2D throughout the entire book as opposed to coming to life. While the suspense of the book kept me reading, I really didn't care what happened to anyone in the book. In fact, the best-written character in the novel was probably young Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots. Loupas portrayed her so wonderfully mercurial and impulsive. She, out of everyone, sprang to life on the pages.
I have to admit, the first 30 pages or so almost failed to draw me in. The story and the quick action seemed very melodramatic, in the style of a romance novel. However, the intrigue and mystery surrounding the silver casket finally drew me in. I also liked the descriptions of Rinette's floromancy--how she used flowers to uncover someone's character traits, or to tell the future. Sometimes fantastical elements in a historical novel can feel rather "gimmicky" to me, but I thought the flower-reading was a fascinating element to include. I think I prefer The Red Lily Crown (Elizabeth Loupas's most recent book), but this was still a very good read.
(I also posted this review on Goodreads.)