Saturday, May 05, 2018

The Flourishing of Floralie Laurel

35128494Moser, Fiadhtlait. The Flourishing of Floralie Laurel
May 1st 2018 by Yellow Jacket
ARC provided by publisher

In 1920s England, Floralie has been kicked out of her school and is living with her brother Tom, who is trying to make a living as a florist. Her grandmother is not pleased that Floralie is "following in her mother's footsteps" with art, and is determined to take her away and have her live in the orphanage she runs. Floralie just wants to be with her mother, who was a ballerina and artist, but who suffered from some instability and left the children on their own after the death of their father. In order to find out the meaning of some flowers that her mother has left her, Floralie wants to find Slyvestre Tullier, who wrote a flower dictionary. With the help of Miss Clairoux as well as a mysterious boy who refuses to speak, Nino, Floralie takes off to France to find Tullier. In meeting the somewhat reclusive author and staying in the small town while investigating where her mother might be, Floralie finds out many family secrets and eventually is able to meet with her mother. While her mother is not able to care for her, Floralie manages to create her own family who can support both her and Tom in their lives and education.
Strengths: This was certainly very atmospheric and painted a good picture of an artistic community in France during this time period. Floralie is a headstrong heroine who wants to be in charge of her own destiny and doesn't want to acquiesce to the societal constraints her grandmother wishes to impose upon her. Nino is a mysterious character, as is Tullier, and the connections with real artists of the time are interesting. I loved the idea of Miss Clairoux's family library, and the accommodations made for Tom and Floralie were very touching.
Weaknesses: There were some serious themes that were touched upon but not addressed completely. Floralie's father had a problem with alcohol, her mother's mental illness is not really explained, and there is an out-of-wedlock birth as well as some neglect of children and an accidental death by poison. (Two, if you count the pet dormouse.) While these issues appear in middle grade literature, they are usually handled in a different fashion. While they did have a role in the plot, the book would have made sense without some of the smaller issues.
What I really think: Both the writing style and the content of this made it seem more like a book written for adults (like Bradley's Flavia de Luce mysteries), so I will pass on purchase.

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