For years Charlotte Withersby has worked as an assistant to her father, an eminent English botanist. As she approaches the old age of twenty-four, her father pushes her out into society, swayed by an uncle who believes God's only two roles for women are marriage and motherhood. When one of the Withersbys' colonial correspondents, Edward Trimble, returns to England, he's drafted as the new assistant so Charlotte is free to marry. This suits Edward's plans quite well, since the last thing he wants to do is reunite with the family he is ashamed to call his own. Though Edward proves himself vexingly capable on the job, Charlotte won't surrender it without a fight and schemes with her best friend to regain her position. Perhaps if a proposal seems imminent, Charlotte's father will see his error and ask her to return.
Charlotte tries to make headway in her town's social life but reveals herself to be unaware of all the intricacies of polite society. Though Edward pitches in, tutoring her in society's expectations, she just seems to make things worse. And the more she comes to know of her father's assistant, the more trouble she has imagining life without him. Caught in a trap of her own making and seeing the hopelessness of her prospects, will Charlotte get to keep her work, or will she have to cede her heart?
©2015 Siri Mitchell (P)2015 Recorded Books
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"A Laugh Out Loud Delight!"
"Like a Flower in Bloom" was a very pleasant surprise. I've only read a few of Siri Mitchell's other books, and have done so with mixed results, but I've never been overly crazy about any of them. I enjoy this time period, however, and the plot sounded interesting, so I thought I would give it a try. I never expected to be so charmed by the characters or the story!
Charlotte Withersby is an intelligent and endearing character who tries to fit into others' notions of the way a lady ought to behave, when all she really wants to do is continue her work in botanical research. With very little training in, or understanding of, the customs and etiquette expected, Charlotte's forays into society often result in amusing situations that had me laughing out loud more than once. Elizabeth Sastre does a brilliant job of bringing the characters to life and really conveying the personality and quirks of each one. She has done several books that I have listened to recently, and she is quickly becoming one of my favorite narrators.
Siri Mitchell has clearly done her research, and she includes a lot of information in the book. One of the issues that I have had in the past with her writing is that it can get so bogged down in detail that it detracts from the story ("A Constant Heart" comes to mind). Here, though, Mitchell shares the results of her research in a way that engages and entertains all while adding to the plot.
Although I would consider the story to be clean and inspirational, it was not terribly religious. I realize people have different views on that (I personally prefer a bit more of a spiritual message, but I know others don't). God is mentioned and there are a few religious conversations, mainly because one of the characters is a rector, but I definitely never felt like I was being preached at. Ultimately, the main takeaway is that you should be true to yourself because, to borrow the wisdom of one Dr. Seuss, "Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
Funny, Endearing, Inspiring - A thoroughly entertaining story, with endearing characters and frequent comedic interactions, that leaves me valuing the unique qualities within myself and other people.
I suppose this is similar to Jane Austen's books in that it is witty, entertaining, points out flaws in "proper" societal rules, and has a very appealing (and clean) love story. (Although I hate comparing it to anything since it is such a wonderful book on its own merit).
Elizabeth Sastre did an incredible job with all the characters. Her narration enhanced the well-written book. Not only did she differentiate all the characters, she did a fantastic job of capturing the personalities and emotions of the various characters. Her performance was exceptional and made the book even more delightful. I would definitely recommend this audio version over the written book because Elizabeth's performance added so much to the characters.
This is one of my favorite books (out of hundreds of audio books I have listened to). The heroine of the book has a direct/Asperger-ish personality and her view of society's rules is refreshing. How the other characters in the book interact with her, and each other, is funny and charming. A wonderful story about embracing our unique gifts and talents. This book also tackles the limitations of "acceptable" occupations for women during that time period. Make sure to listen to the author's notes at the end of the book, very interesting information. Siri Mitchell did an excellent job researching the time period and weaving facts into her story!
"Quirky & refreshing!"
This is the first book I've "read" from this author and just loved it. Can't wait to order another book by her as soon as I finish this review. Loved the personalities of all her characters, especially the quirky scientist type. So refreshing to find authors that can write great and keep the novels squeaky clean :)
"Not her best work."
I have loved other Siri Mitchell books, but this one was just ok. It was enjoyable but a bit predictable. A large amount of the book talks about botany. If you are a fan of botany, you may find this tale more interesting.
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