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The Art of Arranging Flowers

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A moving and eloquent novel about love, grief, renewal—and the powerful language of flowers.   Ruby Jewell knows flowers. In her twenty years as a florist she has stood behind the counter at the Flower Shoppe with her faithful dog, Clementine, resting at her feet. A customer can walk in, and with just a glance or a few words, Ruby can throw together the perfect arrangement f A moving and eloquent novel about love, grief, renewal—and the powerful language of flowers.   Ruby Jewell knows flowers. In her twenty years as a florist she has stood behind the counter at the Flower Shoppe with her faithful dog, Clementine, resting at her feet. A customer can walk in, and with just a glance or a few words, Ruby can throw together the perfect arrangement for any occasion.   Whether intended to rekindle a romance, mark a celebration, offer sympathy, or heal a broken heart, her expressive floral designs mark the moments and milestones in the lives of her neighbors. It’s as though she knows just what they want to say, just what they need.   Yet Ruby’s own heart’s desires have gone ignored since the death of her beloved sister. It will take an invitation from a man who’s flown to the moon, the arrival of a unique little boy, and concern from a charming veterinarian to reawaken her wounded spirit. Any life can be derailed, but the healing power of community can put it right again.


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A moving and eloquent novel about love, grief, renewal—and the powerful language of flowers.   Ruby Jewell knows flowers. In her twenty years as a florist she has stood behind the counter at the Flower Shoppe with her faithful dog, Clementine, resting at her feet. A customer can walk in, and with just a glance or a few words, Ruby can throw together the perfect arrangement f A moving and eloquent novel about love, grief, renewal—and the powerful language of flowers.   Ruby Jewell knows flowers. In her twenty years as a florist she has stood behind the counter at the Flower Shoppe with her faithful dog, Clementine, resting at her feet. A customer can walk in, and with just a glance or a few words, Ruby can throw together the perfect arrangement for any occasion.   Whether intended to rekindle a romance, mark a celebration, offer sympathy, or heal a broken heart, her expressive floral designs mark the moments and milestones in the lives of her neighbors. It’s as though she knows just what they want to say, just what they need.   Yet Ruby’s own heart’s desires have gone ignored since the death of her beloved sister. It will take an invitation from a man who’s flown to the moon, the arrival of a unique little boy, and concern from a charming veterinarian to reawaken her wounded spirit. Any life can be derailed, but the healing power of community can put it right again.

30 review for The Art of Arranging Flowers

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ash Wednesday

    2.5 STARS We become who we are meant to be because of the things along our edges that pulls us into existence. Just to be clear, I do not hate this book. I believe this will please a very specific reader demographic which I am unfortunately not a part of. But the disappointment from where I stand is just too palpable for me to justify to myself the 3-stars that this probably does deserve. I was expecting romance: the heroine owns a dog, somewhere a sweet veterinarian turns up, THE FREAKING COV 2.5 STARS We become who we are meant to be because of the things along our edges that pulls us into existence. Just to be clear, I do not hate this book. I believe this will please a very specific reader demographic which I am unfortunately not a part of. But the disappointment from where I stand is just too palpable for me to justify to myself the 3-stars that this probably does deserve. I was expecting romance: the heroine owns a dog, somewhere a sweet veterinarian turns up, THE FREAKING COVER IS PINK WITH A LADY HOLDING A BOQUET OF FLOWERS, how can I not brace for something like that incredibly emo 90’s film Bed of Roses? (on a defensive note, back in the day Christian Slater was actually hot) I mean kudos for going against the stereotype, but is it too much to hope for something less narcoleptic? Maybe some original sentiments on the contemplations about life, death, family and the universe? The book tells the story of Ruby Jewell, a 45-year old former-lawyer-now-florist in the small town of Creekside helping the townsfolk with their lives. Through the magical voodoo powers of her flower arrangement. She watched me put in several stems of white flowers, lilies, orientals and long narrow callas. She asked me a lot of questions about the choices I made, and I had explained that the colour white promotes healing of spirit, that white light is a natural pain reliever, increasing and maintaining energy levels and reliving depression and inertia. White dispels negativity from the body’s energy field. Much of the book focuses on Ruby running her shop and how her craft manages to do these feats of wonder with a bit of grosgrain and gerberas: avoiding marital disputes over forgotten anniversaries and birthdays, picking the proper flowers to help the shy admirer woo the local librarian, making arrangements to uplift the spirits of the sick and so on. Yet despite her talent in bringing love to these people with her creations, Ruby has long closed her heart form such emotion since the death of her sister. Afraid to love because of the threat of loss. Until a boy, an astronaut and a veterinarian changes it all. The thing is, I love that blurb. I’m a sucker for that blurb. That’s my go-to blurb when I look for a feel-good story. Unfortunately, it just went a little too overboard on the feel-good that the town of Creekside has started to read like that pretend town in The Truman Show without the random product placement and the whole awesome plot twist in the end. Everyone acquiesces to Ruby’s borderline meddling ways and every possible conflict is resolved in the most wonderfully magical manner with butterflies, glitters and a ukulele version of a Top 40 song playing in the background. ❊ Ruby needs a dress for a date but doesn’t have the money? A client readily gives her a 25% commission for extra work. ❊ Shopping trip to Nordstrom but has no idea what to buy? The only gay guy in Creekside is available to tag along and dole out fashion advice. ❊ Ruby technically steal-adopts a boy from a couple (with the wife in cancer remission no less)? (view spoiler)[It’s okay, the wife gets pregnant in the end anyway. (hide spoiler)] And it really wasn’t just confined to Ruby all this saccharine kindness. Everyone is just so… NICE. Too nice. Gag-inducing nice that the cynical reader in me has to wonder: Are they perpetually high? Are they all hooked to a computer in a post-apocalyptical dystopic reality where aliens are feeding off their bodies? Are they the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815 and Clementine the dog is actually Jacob? I mean, how can a small town hold so much events all year round that would require enough flowers to support Ruby’s business? For twenty years??? One has to wonder about these things! Seeing as none of these happened (SPOILER ALERT, duh), all that perfection cheats away any sympathy that I feel I should foster for these people. There’s a healthy amount of gardening talk going on, with everyone buying that giving someone jasmines can make them horny and snapdragons are good anger management remedies. Ruby also had a very New Age-y path to her self-rediscovery which I don’t usually go for in my contemporary reads but didn’t mind much here. I even quite liked Captain Miller’s reflections on life and death as a whole. But I felt that the relationships Ruby forged with everyone else felt superficial at best. Especially with Will. Their dynamic felt so underdeveloped that I had practically no emotional investment on what is clearly an important relationship in the story. What I felt deserved a slow and layered build up with a great deal of showing was instead reduced to a great deal of telling unfortunately. While I did feel the message was heartfelt, though a little well-trodden, I wasn’t a big fan of the lengthy monologues and the awkwardly placed quotes from books in the conversations. There were more than a few scenes where the dialogue visibly devolves into douchey lecturing but I’d be lying if I don’t admit to being caught unaware of Lynn Branard’s way with words appealing to my sentimentality in certain moments. … we are all broken over one thing or another, how we all limp about, dragging our sorrows and troubles, our failures and disappointments, our perfect loneliness, and how it is when we suddenly open our eyes and see someone next to us dragging their own smashed bones… it seems only natural that we would want to crawl in their direction holding out our hands. I’m not the kind of reader who complains about the lack of romance in a story but I was the reader who came into this book expecting more than what this was ready to give. I did find the epilogue quite lovely but felt it was far too little too late But I do believe I am more the exception than the rule in this case. Because while it wasn’t the story I was expecting what this served wasn’t entirely bad. And I can still imagine this being quite a touching story for someone else other than me. Review Copy provided by the publishers. Quotes taken from an uncorrected proof. Also on Booklikes.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jules

    This is a beautiful story set in a small town in Washington state. Ruby is a florist who takes care of everyone's needs but her own. I was hooked on this book from the start. The descriptions of the flowers and their healing attributes were poetic. The story unfolds as beautifully as a flower opens up and blossoms. The characters are all well developed and key to the story. All the characters felt like neighbors, and by the end of the book, I was wishing I could move to Creekside, Washington. The This is a beautiful story set in a small town in Washington state. Ruby is a florist who takes care of everyone's needs but her own. I was hooked on this book from the start. The descriptions of the flowers and their healing attributes were poetic. The story unfolds as beautifully as a flower opens up and blossoms. The characters are all well developed and key to the story. All the characters felt like neighbors, and by the end of the book, I was wishing I could move to Creekside, Washington. The story was well paced and had a clear message. I was misty-eyed several times while reading. The transformative power of Ruby's detailed attention to her customers' needs is beautiful as is the quiet giving of the local hero, Dan Miller. While Dan has more experience, both he and Ruby spend a lot of time and effort helping others reach their dreams. Their relationship with each other as well as with the other townsfolk reveal the true nature of life and human nature. The person Dan helps the most is Ruby, who is a bit lost after her hard upbringing and loss of her family. The analogies of people and flowers are lyrical. It was lovely to read how Ruby blossomed as she readied herself to be vulnerable to love. The story is sweet and sentimental. I'm looking forward to Lynne Branard's next book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Maurynne Maxwell

    There are writers who tell a great story, and writers who put together wonderful sentences. There are my favorite writers, who do both. Lynne Branard is now on my favorite author list. With the literary talent of Alice Hoffman, the sweetness and humor of Sarah Addison Allen, and the wholesome storytelling of Debbie Maccomber, Branard still carves her own niche. The Art of Arranging Flowers is a gentle, magical exploration of love and grief and the healing power of beauty. It's a sweet story of t There are writers who tell a great story, and writers who put together wonderful sentences. There are my favorite writers, who do both. Lynne Branard is now on my favorite author list. With the literary talent of Alice Hoffman, the sweetness and humor of Sarah Addison Allen, and the wholesome storytelling of Debbie Maccomber, Branard still carves her own niche. The Art of Arranging Flowers is a gentle, magical exploration of love and grief and the healing power of beauty. It's a sweet story of the smalltown flowershop owner whose appreciation of the special properties of flowers helps the love lives of all the town--who's been content to remain alone. And yet...twenty years after losing her sister, her heart starts waking up in unexpected ways, blooms in unsuspected places. So, if you like a touch of lyricism, a smidge of mysticism, a peek into a quirky, quiet life, there's a lavish bouquet of love for you in The Art of Arranging Flowers. I am so grateful for the opportunity to read the EARC of the book from the publisher and netgalley but it works out for them--now I have to buy the darn thing for my library. :)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bubble Bath Books

    Bubby says: I have a new mission in life. It is to go to my nearest bookstore and purchase every single book that Lynne Branard (also known as Lynne Hinton and Jackie Lynn) has ever written. And then I will sit in my comfy chair with my stack of books and disappear into a world of meticulously crafted characters and communities that feel like I’ve been there before. And when I’ve read them all (and don’t bother me until I’m done) I will be a better person, because this book touched my soul. Sissy Bubby says: I have a new mission in life. It is to go to my nearest bookstore and purchase every single book that Lynne Branard (also known as Lynne Hinton and Jackie Lynn) has ever written. And then I will sit in my comfy chair with my stack of books and disappear into a world of meticulously crafted characters and communities that feel like I’ve been there before. And when I’ve read them all (and don’t bother me until I’m done) I will be a better person, because this book touched my soul. Sissy says: Let it be known that I read this book first. I texted Bubby telling her that it was wonderful and that she must read it. Exactly 23 hours and 55 minutes later, she texted me back that she wished our mom could read it (highest praise ever) and that she was giving it 5 bubbles. It is not everyday that you read a book that not only entertains you and thrills you with the anticipation of romance but also makes you think deeply about your own life. The Art of Arranging Flowers is one of those rare treasures. Read full review at www.bubblebathbooks.net

  5. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    The Art of Arranging Flowers is a lilting, lyrical love story, although it doesn't feel like a love story at first. Ruby Jewell owns a flower shop in a small town and is a magician at knowing what her clients need (almost all repeat customers) and designs her arrangements with serious intent, adding blooms and other things that facilitate whatever the recipient needs, be it healing, love, courage, or energy. She is patient and kind to all her customers, all of whom love her. Ruby has a sad shado The Art of Arranging Flowers is a lilting, lyrical love story, although it doesn't feel like a love story at first. Ruby Jewell owns a flower shop in a small town and is a magician at knowing what her clients need (almost all repeat customers) and designs her arrangements with serious intent, adding blooms and other things that facilitate whatever the recipient needs, be it healing, love, courage, or energy. She is patient and kind to all her customers, all of whom love her. Ruby has a sad shadow that follows her - the death of her sister, Daisy. Although Ruby has managed to get out of her grief-stricken bed and runs a successful business, the miasma of her sadness prevents her from getting too close to anyone. She is friendly and thoughtful, but reserved and private. This changes, however, when Will, a young boy who has moved to town to live with his grandparents, arrives, and when Ruby becomes friends with an elderly former astronaut. Through her relations with these two, and an obvious connection with the new veterinarian (obvious to everyone BUT Ruby), Ruby is able to shed the shield of grief that had prevented her from loving anyone again, and she comes into her own as a woman and a whole person. It takes a while to get into this story, but it is worth the wait. It builds slowly to a crescendo that is magnificent, pure, and right. I loved the vignettes told by the flower arrangements. The author makes flowers come alive in a way I hadn't thought possible, and makes them the centerpiece (oh no, I didn't really say that ...) of the story. The arrangements become characters in the story and shed light on the people who both buy and receive them. The relationships between Ruby and Will and Ruby and the astronaut are stunning in their revelatory detail - revealing what life and human nature are, at heart, about, and revealing to Ruby who she really is. I look forward to reading more by this author. I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for a review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cinta

    I got a free copy of this book from Penguin Books as part of their First to Read program. I have to say that I was suffering from a really bad case of insomnia and this book made my problem disappear. I would read a chapter every night. Just one, because I was already sleeping before I could start a second one. I didn't start kind of liking this book until it was almost finished. I found the book boring and repetitive, and I think the flowers had much more prominence than the characters, when it s I got a free copy of this book from Penguin Books as part of their First to Read program. I have to say that I was suffering from a really bad case of insomnia and this book made my problem disappear. I would read a chapter every night. Just one, because I was already sleeping before I could start a second one. I didn't start kind of liking this book until it was almost finished. I found the book boring and repetitive, and I think the flowers had much more prominence than the characters, when it should have been the other way round. The story is predictable, the characters are kind of flat, and they all had pretty much the same voice. I know the protagonist is a florist, but she doesn't need to talk about flowers in every single conversation, and the fact that she changes lives with her arrangements made me roll my eyes big time. As I said, I only enjoyed the final part of the book, because the writing improved quite a lot the moment the author stopped mentioning all the flower names she could find in Google, and when finally we the readers could see the sense of community the author had been trying to convey from the beginning, although I didn't see it at first. Not the kind of book I would like to read. I only recommend it if you like flowers or if you want a remedy for insomnia.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Beckie

    When I first started "The Art of Arranging Flowers" by Lynn Branard my first thought was "so she is a florist and the book is about arranging flowers?" I didn't have high hopes. However! This book is sooooo much more than that. Branard makes flower arranging sound like the most fascinating thing ever. I had no idea all of the inside things on flowers and arranging. I had heard of aroma therapy, but had never heard of how colors or certain flowers can not only alter mood, but promote healing and When I first started "The Art of Arranging Flowers" by Lynn Branard my first thought was "so she is a florist and the book is about arranging flowers?" I didn't have high hopes. However! This book is sooooo much more than that. Branard makes flower arranging sound like the most fascinating thing ever. I had no idea all of the inside things on flowers and arranging. I had heard of aroma therapy, but had never heard of how colors or certain flowers can not only alter mood, but promote healing and encourage desires, etc. This is all incredibly interesting stuff. And the writing! She is an amazing writer. She draws you in not only in description of the flowers, but the characters are well developed, the emotions are strong, and the reader becomes invested in the book. The novel stars Ruby, a florist in a small town, who is still grieving for the loss of her sister twenty years before. The story follows her as she navigates through all of the emotions, celebrations, and losses that her customers deal with as they go through life. She, however, has no children, has never really dated, and her family is all deceased. The town and the flowers try to bring Ruby out of her shell as events happen in the town. I really liked this novel and I will be reading more of Branard in the future.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Judy Lesley

    Have you ever wanted to own a florist shop? Did you ever realize how much private information actually passes through a florist shop in the course of the owners and workers just filling orders? Those two questions are some of the reasons I found this novel so interesting. The story takes place in a small town in Washington State and centers on a young, single woman who owns the town’s floral business. Ruby Jewell has portions of her own personal life that she hasn’t come to terms with yet, but s Have you ever wanted to own a florist shop? Did you ever realize how much private information actually passes through a florist shop in the course of the owners and workers just filling orders? Those two questions are some of the reasons I found this novel so interesting. The story takes place in a small town in Washington State and centers on a young, single woman who owns the town’s floral business. Ruby Jewell has portions of her own personal life that she hasn’t come to terms with yet, but she can use her knowledge of the art of arranging flowers to influence the lives of her friends and customers. If you have a basic familiarity with common materials used by a florist shop in constructing all types of arrangements using plants and flowers, you will be right at home with the information in the novel. There isn’t an attempt to overwhelm the reader with botanical information, just to explain the thought process Ruby used when designing flowers for a specific customer for a specific event. These arrangements were described in such wonderful detail that I was easily able to picture the finished arrangement in my mind. As the reader gets to know Ruby and her reasons behind using specific materials in an order we also get to know the customer or friend or neighbor the arrangement is for with the backstory of what is happening to them which brings them to this time in their life. As with any florist shop there are orders precipitated by births, deaths, proms, weddings, surgeries, dire diagnoses, civic and church functions or other social occasions requiring the decorating power of flowers. Intertwined with all the flowers are the stories of Ruby’s past tragedies and the sadness or happiness for those close to her. There is a nicely managed list of characters whose joys and sorrows add to the tapestry of everyday life enriched by the individual traits and stories presented through their interactions with Ruby. There is a list of questions in the back of the novel for consideration by book club groups which will give them a starting point for much discussion regarding the issues raised in this novel. Even if you are reading the book simply for your personal pleasure the questions will allow you to reflect more deeply on the consequences of the interactions between the characters in this novel who correlate so closely with our own lives and people we come into contact with within our own families, jobs, or social situations. I enjoyed this novel and I sincerely hope you will also. I received an ARC of this novel through NetGalley. The opinions expressed are my own.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    I loved certain aspects of this, but others . . . *heavy sigh* One of the minor characters has breast cancer, and partway through the book she decides to get involved in alternative medicine quackery. Eventually it's celebrated that she's "cancer-free" and that she "beat" her illness by "standing up to it". And I just . . . *headdesks* I'm going to assume that Ms. Branard is not trying to suggest that all ill people experiment with this. But it really doesn't matter. Please do not ever insinuate t I loved certain aspects of this, but others . . . *heavy sigh* One of the minor characters has breast cancer, and partway through the book she decides to get involved in alternative medicine quackery. Eventually it's celebrated that she's "cancer-free" and that she "beat" her illness by "standing up to it". And I just . . . *headdesks* I'm going to assume that Ms. Branard is not trying to suggest that all ill people experiment with this. But it really doesn't matter. Please do not ever insinuate to a sick individual that the reason they're sick is that they weren't strong enough or brave enough to conquer their sickness through sheer willpower.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Isis

    I would like to thank NetGalley and Berkley Trade for granting me the opportunity to read eARC in exchange for an honest review. Though I received this e-book for free that in no way impacts my review. Ruby Jewell knows flowers. In her twenty years as a florist she has stood behind the counter at the Flower Shoppe with her faithful dog, Clementine, resting at her feet. A customer can walk in, and with just a glance or a few words, Ruby can throw together the perfect arrangement for any occasion. W I would like to thank NetGalley and Berkley Trade for granting me the opportunity to read eARC in exchange for an honest review. Though I received this e-book for free that in no way impacts my review. Ruby Jewell knows flowers. In her twenty years as a florist she has stood behind the counter at the Flower Shoppe with her faithful dog, Clementine, resting at her feet. A customer can walk in, and with just a glance or a few words, Ruby can throw together the perfect arrangement for any occasion. Whether intended to rekindle a romance, mark a celebration, offer sympathy, or heal a broken heart, her expressive floral designs mark the moments and milestones in the lives of her neighbors. It’s as though she knows just what they want to say, just what they need. Yet Ruby’s own heart’s desires have gone ignored since the death of her beloved sister. It will take an invitation from a man who’s flown to the moon, the arrival of a unique little boy, and concern from a charming veterinarian to reawaken her wounded spirit. Any life can be derailed, but the healing power of community can put it right again. This is a warm, charming tale that will take you on a journey not just with the characters, but within yourself as well. It is impossible to read this book and not apply the lessons learned within to your own life as you've lived it thus far. For all that it seems to be a depressing story, with all the death, divorce, and illness, for each bad thing there is also good to maintain the balance. Though for some, like Ruby, that balance can get heavily overloaded, possibly taking to long to ever return to a centered balance. For far too long Ruby had been simply trying to maintain enough balance to survive. But her balance wasn't centered, so she was simply existing when she should have been living. It seems so easy for one outside a situation to see the problems, and sometimes the solutions, or at least the first steps toward a solution. It is much, much more challenging to apply that kind of scrutiny to ourselves, so it's no real surprise that Ruby was often oblivious to her own life. Structure had been a necessary thing after the death of her beloved sister Daisy. It was that structure which held the fragile pieces that remained of Ruby together. She eventually grew to feel comfortable with her structure; she had her best friend Clementine with her at all times, her work at the shop, and slowly the people of the town, upon whom she unconsciously heaped all her creativity, passion, love, and desire to be loved in return. With Nora and Jimmy helping in the shop, and Cooper delivering the flowers that became her gift to customers, Ruby stopped extending herself. It was safer not to risk loving anyone, that way she wouldn't risk losing another part of herself. But she didn't realize that her friendships grew into love of all different types, except romantic. Ruby wasn't ready to go down that road, and didn't see it in her future. She'd seem too many halves of a whole after a person lost their spouse. That was too great a risk. Long before Ruby saw what was happening young Will, Captain Dan, and even the new town veterinarian, John Cash, all helped her change. They each caused her to stretch muscles she thought forever destroyed, broken beyond repair. Between these three very different men (well two men and one boy), as well as all of the town folks, Ruby slowly was pushed, pulled, and forced to live past her old boundaries. It was not a comfortable experience, yet it slowly became exciting as she woke up just like her beloved flowers. The myriad, lyrical descriptions of different flowers, singly and combined, doubled as descriptions of people and emotions. The colors, curvatures, and properties of each individual flower and plant were Ruby's way of communicating her abundant love for those in her town. The town folks though she made magic with her bouquets, but she just took what was already there and used flowers amplify things, or bring the right person's attention to what was right in front of them. As perceptive as she was, why did it take Ruby so long to lower her own walls and let them stay down? Did Ms. Branard allow Ruby to blossom so slowly in order to allow the reader to find their own walls and reflect on how best to tackle them at the same time? I can't answer that, but I can say that this was a thoroughly enjoyable book. One that had me in tears in more than one spot, and smiling in others. I found Ms. Branard's approach to the big questions in life, as well as the answers she offered for consideration, to be thoughtful, creative, versatile, and heartfelt.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Krystle

    3.5 stars. Wow, here’s a genre I never read from – contemporary women’s fiction. To be honest, the only reason I picked this book up was because it involved flowers and a main character who owned her own flower shop. I have worked in a flower shop for almost a decade now and I’m pretty familiar with how a business in this field operates, as well as being well versed in the names of flowers. I do the menial tasks of cutting and cleaning flowers, keeping the supplies and facilities tidy and in order 3.5 stars. Wow, here’s a genre I never read from – contemporary women’s fiction. To be honest, the only reason I picked this book up was because it involved flowers and a main character who owned her own flower shop. I have worked in a flower shop for almost a decade now and I’m pretty familiar with how a business in this field operates, as well as being well versed in the names of flowers. I do the menial tasks of cutting and cleaning flowers, keeping the supplies and facilities tidy and in order, creating arrangements for sale and order, but the more bigger things I do is the wedding work which includes the bouquets, wristlets, boutonnieres, aisle flowers, etc. So I have a more critical when it comes to certain aspects of this book. Although there are moments when the story seemed to drag because the plot/narrative wasn’t entirely clear and meandered through scenes of exposition that didn’t seem related to the overall arc of the story, but in the end, I quite enjoyed it. This is a quiet, introspective novel focused on Ruby’s character development. She gradually is able to build and make connections with other people by letting down the wall she’s created to prevent herself from getting hurt. It is a story about moving past the hold grief has on you and to learn to love yourself for who you are and that you are not a mode shaped from another person’s actions. It’s the relationships you foster between people that let you grow and be able to bring love into your life. The writing is a bit technical at times, focusing too much on what is going on in matter of fact terms, rather than detailing us with lovely descriptions to set up the scene or give us emotional insight. If you are not too familiar with flowers you will have quite some difficulty understanding the process of her craft as she drops the names of them (both given, scientific, and colloquial) very frequently without much description. However, I really enjoyed this because I could see what Ruby was doing in my head and imagine her final products of creation quite easily. We don't think too much behind designing the way Ruby does it (what the flower means, what it does for people in combination with certain properties the flowers possess), but rather we merely decide what to do for an order based on how aesthetically pleasing the flowers look with others in combination with the vase/container/basket and what the customer requests (garden-y, colorful, modern, round, etc). Ruby’s way of running her shop gives me pause as it seems not only too implausible but a bit too generous and naïve. You won’t survive long if you keep giving deep discounts on flowers or orders, throwing things in extra, or doing requests that aren’t cost efficient or has a poor profit ratio. Flowers are expensive and the time it takes for us to make these arrangements isn’t something you can skimp off. Not to mention the gas and time it takes for us to deliver these things on time or to a certain area. If our shop did that we’d be balls deep in debt and probably would have to close due to bankruptcy. However, this is a lovely short novel and I really loved how Ruby learns to love herself and believe that she is worthy of being loved by the end of the book. This is a story that makes you feel good about yourself when you’re down in life. Recommended.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mary Brown

    The Art Of Arranging Flowers by Lynne Branard was a love story but it was also a story about heartbreak, healing and friendship. It was the story of a woman learning to let go and find herself. Ruby Jewell is an amazing florist who has the uncanny ability to make flowers arrangements for her customers that meets their needs, even if the customer doesn’t realize what those needs may be. She knows how to add flowers to help improve mood, or offer hope or encourage love. Her professional life is go The Art Of Arranging Flowers by Lynne Branard was a love story but it was also a story about heartbreak, healing and friendship. It was the story of a woman learning to let go and find herself. Ruby Jewell is an amazing florist who has the uncanny ability to make flowers arrangements for her customers that meets their needs, even if the customer doesn’t realize what those needs may be. She knows how to add flowers to help improve mood, or offer hope or encourage love. Her professional life is going well, but not so her personal life. She has never gotten over the death of her sister, Daisy. They shared a difficult childhood and Ruby has never been able to heal from the loss of her sister. With the help of her customers, her friends and her dog Clementine, will Ruby be able to heal and blossom? The writing style flowed easily and the characters and hometown setting were descriptive and realistic. At times I felt the flower and bouquet descriptions were a little to consuming, but that’s just my opinion. Either the author was a florist in a previous life or she did extensive research on flowers and color therapy. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted book or who enjoys flowers and the idea of flower therapy. This is the first book I’ve read by this author but I will be looking for others.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nicki Conroy

    Having been married and then single for longer than the marriage lasted, I was intrigued with this book. First, I love flowers. To read all about why Ruby picked certain flowers for certain reasons amazed me. I want to know if florists really do that. I also want to learn more about what differing flowers mean. Then came the crux of the book. Ruby needed to be open to love. This part of the book is the part that resonated with me. I could feel her walls and feel how hard it was for her to let the Having been married and then single for longer than the marriage lasted, I was intrigued with this book. First, I love flowers. To read all about why Ruby picked certain flowers for certain reasons amazed me. I want to know if florists really do that. I also want to learn more about what differing flowers mean. Then came the crux of the book. Ruby needed to be open to love. This part of the book is the part that resonated with me. I could feel her walls and feel how hard it was for her to let them down. Ruby was not open to any kind of love, not just romantic love which tends to be the love we most frequently close ourselves off to. She had to realize that love made her who she was - her love of her community, her love of other people. Those loves made her floral arrangements more than just a bouquet of flowers. This book brought me to tears four times. That is hard to do in a book. I predict a great best seller. The fact that the book comes with a book club discussion questions just endears it to me further.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gela

    I would actually give it 3.5 stars. The novel has its charming moments but it lacks depth. What I mean is everything is left to the "imagination." It's all implied. The only description or detail you get in this novel is the flower arrangements. If Branard wound go in detail about the events that took place then this novel would be a four or five star novel. Too much was left out. I don't want to describe to myself Ruby's wedding to my taste, or what and how Will's adoption actually went. I want I would actually give it 3.5 stars. The novel has its charming moments but it lacks depth. What I mean is everything is left to the "imagination." It's all implied. The only description or detail you get in this novel is the flower arrangements. If Branard wound go in detail about the events that took place then this novel would be a four or five star novel. Too much was left out. I don't want to describe to myself Ruby's wedding to my taste, or what and how Will's adoption actually went. I want the author to paint the picture while I pick the characters. The book left me short, it was like watching an episode of "Lost."(DID I MISS SOMETHING?) No, the author was NID. Not into details.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    This is a beautifully written book about a florist, Ruby Jewell, who works magic with her carefully designed floral creations but refuses to allow her inner self to bloom. When some very special people come into her life, Ruby begins to let go and live. I loved it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    The Art of Arranging Flowers was a cute read about learning to love again, finding your place and opening your heart to those around you. Ruby is a strong woman who has been through a lot in life. An alcoholic mother who at times was abusive, she lost her sister to depression when the doctor gave her the wrong medicine. She has lost every person in her life that is important thus she closes off her heart and only opens it when others around her need her help. She takes care of the whole town mak The Art of Arranging Flowers was a cute read about learning to love again, finding your place and opening your heart to those around you. Ruby is a strong woman who has been through a lot in life. An alcoholic mother who at times was abusive, she lost her sister to depression when the doctor gave her the wrong medicine. She has lost every person in her life that is important thus she closes off her heart and only opens it when others around her need her help. She takes care of the whole town making sure a birthday, anniversary and all special days are met with cheers and flowers. If she keeps herself busy she doesn’t have to work on herself or think. The town loves her, she looks after them so well but in their eyes it is time she found love and a family. They are out to help her do this with all the love she has given them they gave it back double. “You know that you spoil the men in this town,” she notes. “There isn’t another florist in the state who can be given credit for keeping marriages intact. You’re better than Dr. Phil” The author has a cast of wonderful characters I just loved Dan. He led everyone to where they needed to be without getting in their way with his love and guidance. They never even know what he was up to until the deed was done. I wanted so much more for him and at the end of the book I as sad with how his life went but happy that I got to know him. Jen and Justin I was glad to see their life work out, they have a wonderful touching story of pain and love. Who wouldn’t love Nora she keeps the place jumping getting in everyone’s business, she has a sad story to. These are just a few of the wonderful characters the author brings to life. I found so much humor here while reading. I totally loved the scene between Lucy and her son Carl who is gay and they are talking about Dan his mother said “And he’s not gay” Carl said “Unfortunately, no.” Carl knows all about Dan what he likes, where he buys his clothes everyone just looks at him like he is nuts. Carl just said he asked he was told and no he isn’t a stalker. When they ask Ruby why she didn’t date and asked if she was a lesbian Carl steps up to the plate and said no that he is the only gay person there. I thought that was so funny. They moved on to talk about love and relationship with Carl’s mother telling him she is dating, he is shocked that he didn’t know and they had been dating for a year. Even more shocked when he found out that they were living together. I thought Carl would have a heart attack, just too cute. When I first started reading this story I thought it was about Ruby and John getting together. It isn’t it’s about life and learning to get over your lose and moving on, finding a new life and rebuilding. This was a cute read but at times I found it boring and lost. Just when it got my attention, it would lose it again. I felt the story moved at a slow pace with too much information at times. Because I loved the humor in this book I am giving it a 4 star. If it wasn’t for that I would have given it a 3 star, it was a cute read but just didn’t hold my attention like it should have. If you are looking for a book about hope, healing and love this is the book for you. One must be happy and love themselves before they can find happiest with another. This is a cute, nice clean read with humor that will give you a chuckle or even a laugh.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stefanie Kamerman

    Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through Net Galley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Synopsis Ruby Jewell knows flowers. In her twenty years as a florist she has stood behind the counter at the Flower Shoppe with her faithful dog, Clementine, resting at Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through Net Galley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Synopsis Ruby Jewell knows flowers. In her twenty years as a florist she has stood behind the counter at the Flower Shoppe with her faithful dog, Clementine, resting at her feet. A customer can walk in, and with just a glance or a few words, Ruby can throw together the perfect arrangement for any occasion. Whether intended to rekindle a romance, mark a celebration, offer sympathy, or heal a broken heart, her expressive floral designs mark the moments and milestones in the lives of her neighbors. It’s as though she knows just what they want to say, just what they need. Yet Ruby’s own heart’s desires have gone ignored since the death of her beloved sister. It will take an invitation from a man who’s flown to the moon, the arrival of a unique little boy, and concern from a charming veterinarian to reawaken her wounded spirit. Any life can be derailed, but the healing power of community can put it right again. After the death of her sister Daisy, and wishing for death to come to her as well, Ruby awakens from her depression and finds hope in flowers. It is then she discovers her passion in flowers and the confidence flowers will bring a better life not only to her, but to others. Ruby has a gift for arranging flowers, but to her, it is not just a flower arrangement. It is something more. Each bouquet is planned with thought in each stem designated. In a small town in the state of Washington, Ruby owns and operates her flower shop with the help of Nora, Jimmy, and her beloved dog, Clementine. The town’s people will tell you, there is something magical about Ruby’s arrangements and believe they are the source of hope and love. Life changes for Ruby when a young boy, Will, comes by Ruby’s shop in search of a job. What Ruby doesn’t realize when she extends a job offer to Will, is the hope she provides him. In the end, it is Ruby who will learn hope through loss and hope in love, especially when the town’s new veterinarian arrives to town. Ruby’s story is beautifully written and heart felt. Not only are the characters are relatable, but so is the story. The author’s thorough research on flowers and science is both seen and executed. I laughed out loud while reading. I shed tears as well. I walked away thinking everyone needs a friend like Nora and her comedy in their life. I walked away thinking everyone needs the transparency of friendship, which is displayed over and over in the book. Without a doubt, this book is about hope. Hope in life. Hope in healing. Hope in love. Hope in ourselves. While The Art of Arranging Flowers title may seem just what it is, Ruby’s art of arranging flowers is the arrangement of hope. Thank you Penguin Group for allowing me to review this book! Loved it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I received this book through a giveaway on goodreads.com. I was asked to give an honest review. When I first entered the draw, I wasn't sure it was something that I could get into, but seemed to have a decent story to it. This book was not at all what I expected it to be. It was much much more. It was hard to put the book down when everyday life would pop up. The story was simple, things that a lot of people could go through in their lives. I was able to relate on a few different levels. -Right fro I received this book through a giveaway on goodreads.com. I was asked to give an honest review. When I first entered the draw, I wasn't sure it was something that I could get into, but seemed to have a decent story to it. This book was not at all what I expected it to be. It was much much more. It was hard to put the book down when everyday life would pop up. The story was simple, things that a lot of people could go through in their lives. I was able to relate on a few different levels. -Right from the beginning I was hooked because she had lost her sister and I just recently lost my father. I know the feelings of being angry at everyone and not wanting to get out of bed. -Ruby's sister reminds me a lot of my cousin Julie, who was like a sister to me, whom I lost in 2005. It was because of this loss that I did something with my life. -Ruby is best friends with her dog. My best friend is my dog as well. -Right down to little details like Jenny was planning on getting married on her and her future husbands anniversary. That is what I did. It took me a few days to finish this book because I spent a lot of time on google looking up the different flowers so that I can imagine what each bouquet looked like. I never knew how much different things flowers could do, what each colour represents, healing properties etc. Just amazing. I really did enjoy this book and I will be reading it again. I would recommend this book to anyone who just wants to read a sweet story about a woman's life, likes flowers, or wants a book where they fall in love with every single character.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I really, really wanted to like this book. The description reminded me of one of my favorite books, incorporating quirky characters and a hint of magic to help the main character get over a loss. But I just couldn’t connect with any of these characters. Too much of the story happened off of the page and then was remembered or discussed instead of letting me live through the experiences with Ruby. And the writing involved too much telling and way too little showing, which kept me from fully feeli I really, really wanted to like this book. The description reminded me of one of my favorite books, incorporating quirky characters and a hint of magic to help the main character get over a loss. But I just couldn’t connect with any of these characters. Too much of the story happened off of the page and then was remembered or discussed instead of letting me live through the experiences with Ruby. And the writing involved too much telling and way too little showing, which kept me from fully feeling the story or really seeing what was happening. It’s like Ruby was talking at me instead of weaving a story to pull me in. I really wanted to love these characters and care about what happened to them in the story, but by the time it was over, I still didn’t feel like I knew them and some of the things that happened at the very end seemed forced just to make a happy ending, not because the story logically ended there. *I received an ARC of this book from Berkley Trade and Net Galley for an honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    I received a free ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review… Ruby is a florist in a small town. She knows just what each of her customers needs, she adds that little something for each person, whether they are ill, or looking for new love or sending a gift. She has a way & a touch & shares little tidbits of life with her customers. She herself has had a tragic life, filled with sadness & loss. The people she knows & the ones she meets tie her life up with one of her ribbons I received a free ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review… Ruby is a florist in a small town. She knows just what each of her customers needs, she adds that little something for each person, whether they are ill, or looking for new love or sending a gift. She has a way & a touch & shares little tidbits of life with her customers. She herself has had a tragic life, filled with sadness & loss. The people she knows & the ones she meets tie her life up with one of her ribbons from her flower shop ….I thought this would be a lighter read than it was, very lovely wording & well written. Each chapter jumps ahead a little in time, a few weeks or a few months. I enjoyed this very much & I would recommended it to most of my friends…..

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Rollins

    The cover of this book is lame. Just overlook that. There is a great story inside. Ruby knows loss, and Ruby knows flowers. Flowers got her through the pain. However, she has built a wall around herself. She is known as a matchmaker and the master of love for all around her, but she does not know love. Love, in many forms, walks into her life. She has the option of walking away, and she has the option of tearing down her wall. The characters in this book are quirky. They live in a quirky town, a The cover of this book is lame. Just overlook that. There is a great story inside. Ruby knows loss, and Ruby knows flowers. Flowers got her through the pain. However, she has built a wall around herself. She is known as a matchmaker and the master of love for all around her, but she does not know love. Love, in many forms, walks into her life. She has the option of walking away, and she has the option of tearing down her wall. The characters in this book are quirky. They live in a quirky town, and they work in a quirky flower shop. This book was a joy to read. It is sure to put a smile on your face.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I couldn't help but compare this book to The Language of Flowers. Whereas the converging story lines in TLoF are solid, I found the ending of this book rather abrupt. I enjoyed the intrigue between Ruby and John, and that dynamic completely fell flat with the fast-forward to their almost one year of marriage. It felt like the author got tired of developing this part of the story and quickly resolved it, to avoid making the book longer. I liked the premise of Ruby's gifting with flower arranging I couldn't help but compare this book to The Language of Flowers. Whereas the converging story lines in TLoF are solid, I found the ending of this book rather abrupt. I enjoyed the intrigue between Ruby and John, and that dynamic completely fell flat with the fast-forward to their almost one year of marriage. It felt like the author got tired of developing this part of the story and quickly resolved it, to avoid making the book longer. I liked the premise of Ruby's gifting with flower arranging and her role in her small-town community, but it just wasn't enough for me.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Onceinabluemoon

    3.5 typical chic lit with garden chatter, I do love the garden ;-)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Stacie

    I can usually tell pretty early on if I am going to love a book or not and this one I knew by the first few chapters that it was a story I would going to enjoy. Ruby Jewell is the owner of a flower shop and has sold thousands of bouquets to residents of her small town over the years. She has chosen the bouquets, using just the right flowers to convey the perfect message or elicit the right remedy. For example, white flowers to promote a healing spirit, marigolds to increase positive energies, an I can usually tell pretty early on if I am going to love a book or not and this one I knew by the first few chapters that it was a story I would going to enjoy. Ruby Jewell is the owner of a flower shop and has sold thousands of bouquets to residents of her small town over the years. She has chosen the bouquets, using just the right flowers to convey the perfect message or elicit the right remedy. For example, white flowers to promote a healing spirit, marigolds to increase positive energies, and roses as the gentle healing herb of love. The story of the flowers and their healing properties reminded me of THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I found this part of the story so interesting and took several notes about which flowers were best for certain ailments and personal feelings/situations. Ruby made flowers her own personal ministry in their community and the residents were forever changed by her talents. Ruby hasn't been without hardship, including a difficult childhood and the death of her sister, Daisy. But she has found a way to bring love to others even if she can't seem to find a way to love anyone but her faithful dog, Clementine. Her flowers have healed the sick, found love between two unsuspecting people, and brought smiles to many faces. What Ruby needs to realize is that she also deserves those same smiles and feelings of love. As we move through the story, several people come into Ruby's life including an astronaut, a veterinarian, and a 10 year old boy. Will one of these people be able to break Ruby's hard outer shell? Nora, her long-time employee and friend, will try to get Ruby to see the love she deserves at the same time that Nora seems to be avoiding it herself. Many of the characters just need someone to love them and finding that right person is part of the joy of this novel. I love when a quote from a book makes me stop and consider the meaning. This book had several such quotes. "The blooming happens on the outside before it happens in the middle. Sometimes we think there is supposed to be this great spiritual awakening that happens before we make a change in our lives. We expect some 'aha' moment, some beautiful enlightening experience to shape us into the people we want to be, but sometimes it just happens from the circumstances in our lives that present themselves. We become who we are meant to be because of the things along our edges that pull us into existence." Page 231-232 "I wonder how we are ever able to fit all the sorrow and loss into one heart, one lifetime." Page 235 THE ART OF ARRANGING FLOWERS is a beautiful story of friendship, devotion, and personal growth. Each character in the story has a hardship to overcome. Some do it easily and others, like Ruby need more than a gentle push to see what is right in front of them. You may find the story predictable, but the joy is in the characters and their journey. This isn't a book full of drama with an exciting plot, but one full of real characters that you will grow to care about and root for. You will be left with a smile on your face and happiness in your heart. When the book is done, I bet you will want to go order a bouquet of flowers and wish that Ruby was creating it for you.

  25. 4 out of 5

    writer...

    "I want to unfold. I don't want to stay folded anywhere, because where I am folded, there I am a lie." -- Rilke So begins Lynne Branard's The Art of Arranging FLowers released June 3rd Endearing story .. that begins with Ruby at the furthest point from the above quote, bringing her to this new perspective in the process of the book's journey. Ruby is insightful and creative in relational advice to customers of her flower shop, yet, when we first meet her, entirely disconnected from her own heart. Sh "I want to unfold. I don't want to stay folded anywhere, because where I am folded, there I am a lie." -- Rilke So begins Lynne Branard's The Art of Arranging FLowers released June 3rd Endearing story .. that begins with Ruby at the furthest point from the above quote, bringing her to this new perspective in the process of the book's journey. Ruby is insightful and creative in relational advice to customers of her flower shop, yet, when we first meet her, entirely disconnected from her own heart. She has hurdles to overcome from her past and whilst she has no problem in instructing others, she remains at arms length from others' advice. Each customer to her florist shop is an influencer as Ruby herself is an influence on them with her ready chat and personal creative floral selections. It would be an interesting place to live if the town was a reality! People with real needs, hopes, and dreams - from a perceptive young boy with family losses, a new-in-town vet with relational upheaval, to a celebrated astronaut facing health concerns - we come to know and care about the unique characters Ms Branard has skillfully created. Relational discoveries and interventions kept my interest. Floral interpretations in arrangements sounded beautiful and the entire florist shop business was obviously well researched. Perhaps, a bit more than necessary for the novice flower lover? Magical powers ascribed to colour selections or particular flowers caused some suspension of belief seemingly offering quite a cross pollination of spirituality throughout. Although I really enjoyed the various relational connections developed throughout the novel, I wasn't emotionally engaged with Ruby. A consistent distance separated us, as though I too was held at arms length. I really wanted more romance between Ruby and her obvious love interest and at a particular story point - I refer to Ruby's dog, Clementine's, escape from a porcupine - it felt as though the ball had been dropped without explanation. It could have taken a much different direction providing resolution both sooner and sweeter. Thankfully the epilogue brought a greater sense of satisfaction to the reading. Authentic situations, quirky characters, and unusual responses, The Art of Arranging Flowers is a contemporary story revealing poignancy of past regrets and the miracles of restoration... { and a very lovely cover to whet your appetite for reading!} *My appreciation to Berkley for providing an ecopy for reading without cost or compensation in exchange for my review .

  26. 5 out of 5

    Carla

    The idea of using flowers-(specifically the creation of floral arrangements) as a metaphor for all the joy and heartache that unfolds throughout a lifetime-is a sweet and touching one. This is the premise behind Lynne Branard's novel, The Art of Arranging Flowers. It is the story of Ruby Jewell-a florist living in rural Washington State, still grieving the death of her beloved sister Daisy. Ruby shares her life with her dog Clementine, and fills her days bringing joy (or at least easing the pain The idea of using flowers-(specifically the creation of floral arrangements) as a metaphor for all the joy and heartache that unfolds throughout a lifetime-is a sweet and touching one. This is the premise behind Lynne Branard's novel, The Art of Arranging Flowers. It is the story of Ruby Jewell-a florist living in rural Washington State, still grieving the death of her beloved sister Daisy. Ruby shares her life with her dog Clementine, and fills her days bringing joy (or at least easing the pain) of her customers through the stunning and creative floral arrangements she makes. Although Ruby is not married, she has many friends and acquaintances, and she is always there to help celebrate-or mourn-the milestones in their lives. After almost 20 years of running her store, Ruby has never been late with a delivery, and rarely messes up an order. Working at The Flower Shoppe with Ruby are Nora and Jimmy- both recovering alcoholics and soul mates in the struggle for sobriety, and Will, the young boy who comes to Ruby looking for a job, and who is dealing with his own tragedy and turmoil. There is also retired astronaut Captain Miller ("the most kind and lovely man I know," Ruby says), and John Cash, the new veterinarian in town. When the widowed Captain Miller invites Ruby to a gala with the president of the United States, she is at first reluctant to venture beyond her small town life, but ultimately takes him up on the offer. The charming and down to earth Dr. Cash also gives Ruby a new zest for life, and she begins to emerge from the cloud of grief that has surrounded her since Daisy's death. Almost every character is dealing with loss, sickness or heartache, but there are also happy occasions-weddings, a new baby, a retirement, or a new home, so the varieties of flowers Ruby needs are plentiful. Ms. Branard gives very thorough explanations on the meaning and uses of specific flowers-and that is the novel's biggest weakness. So much time is spent on the flowers that they upstage the people. The first third of the book is almost a tutorial on floral arranging, and this causes the story to drag. Once the focus shifts more to Ruby, Will, John and the other characters, the story finally delivers on the emotion and messages it promised. The epilogue is the most heartfelt and eloquent part of the story, and more than makes up for the earlier tedium. The Art of Arranging Flowers is slow to bloom, but when it does-it is exquisite. ARC from published Release Date: June 3, 2014 by Penguin Group

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lillian

    The Art of Arranging Flowers by Lynne Branard is a story about Ruby Jewell, the local florist, and how she begins to live again twenty years after the death of her baby sister. Ruby is alone, save her dog Clementine, and she's okay with that, or at least she thinks she is. The arrival of Will, a ten year old orphan living with his grandparents after the death of his mother, and her first date since college with Captain Dan Miller help her realize otherwise. This story is so beautifully written! The Art of Arranging Flowers by Lynne Branard is a story about Ruby Jewell, the local florist, and how she begins to live again twenty years after the death of her baby sister. Ruby is alone, save her dog Clementine, and she's okay with that, or at least she thinks she is. The arrival of Will, a ten year old orphan living with his grandparents after the death of his mother, and her first date since college with Captain Dan Miller help her realize otherwise. This story is so beautifully written! The author weaves Ruby's tell so intricately with the work she does as a florist that it flows seamlessly. I never knew flowers could be so beautiful or mean so many different things to different people, but that is what makes Ruby's character so special. With her arrangements that she works so hard on, she creates not only a visual masterpiece, but also a heartfelt one as well. Using different elements and colors to promote love, health, and forgiveness, Ruby is special to those who know her, yet she doesn't know it at the beginning of the story. To Ruby she is alone. Nora and Jimmy, her employees and closest friends, know her best and slowly work on breaking the wall around her heart. Then enter Will, a young orphan with a passion for flowers, and Ruby opens herself fully to him, understanding his grief unlike anyone else. Their bond is so sweet, I just fell in love with little Will, and Ruby says it best: [Children] seem to unfold the easiest. They're the ones who love with abandon, the ones who keep putting their hearts out there to be broken. They're the ones who teach the rest of us what it is to love. And Ruby learns this from Will. Then there's Captain Miller, a former astronaut who is dying and takes it upon himself to slowly bring Ruby back to life. His wisdom and guidance, but most importantly his friendship is just what Ruby needs. For anyone that has lost a loved one, especially one that died before their time, it is easy to relate with Ruby. The author portrays very real feelings and even after twenty years the heartbreak and loneliness of losing that loved one. This story deals with love and death in a way that I've never read before. I loved every word! Though this book is geared towards an older audience, it's message and meaning can go for all ages. With hints of Christianity throughout the story, I would recommend this to anyone looking for an inspirational, up-lifting read. I received a copy of this ebook for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Vickie

    I just finished this book and as I sat down to write my review, my three-year-old grandson woke up from his nap. I will return to write this review. Go Cards! L1C4!!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shirley

    I was fortunate enough to have been the recipient of a contest giveaway for this book. So, first of all, I want to say thank you to Goodreads and Penguin Canada for the opportunity to get a sneak peek before this book is released to book stores in June.It was very cool to have the inside track! This book is centered around Ruby Jewell, a lawyer-turned-florist. Ruby lost a family member many years ago and has closed her heart and world down in order to avoid going through this pain again. However I was fortunate enough to have been the recipient of a contest giveaway for this book. So, first of all, I want to say thank you to Goodreads and Penguin Canada for the opportunity to get a sneak peek before this book is released to book stores in June.It was very cool to have the inside track! This book is centered around Ruby Jewell, a lawyer-turned-florist. Ruby lost a family member many years ago and has closed her heart and world down in order to avoid going through this pain again. However this doesn't stop her from spreading her magic through flowers to enhance others' love lives. Her life changes when a young boy stops into her shop one day and everything changes. I have to admit that this book was quite slow to get into and I was struggling until about half way through.There just wasn't much happening. However, things did pick up after the half-way point, but I still found that the author didn't let the reader in on some of the big happenings in Ruby's life. When reading, I would understand that some big event was going to happen and then in the next paragraph or next chapter, this event would already have happened and the reader didn't get to "experience" it through a descriptive passage. As a reader, I want the author to paint a picture and I didn't get that with this book. I would give examples, but they are major parts of the story and I don't want to ruin it for someone else. I'm not saying that it wasn't a good book, but I found myself wanting more descriptive passages. I like to know my characters. You don't know how old Ruby is or what she looks like. This didn't stop the progression of the story, but for me personally, it helps me to "see" them and then imagine them while I read. Having said this, I did like Captain Miller's character as he played a large role in Ruby's life even though he wasn't present in a lot of the story. I guess the best thing to say is, read the book for yourself and see what you think.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    Flowers can provide an opening, a crack through which emotion that can't be verbalized flows through, surrounding the recipient with love or laughter, support or security, tenderness or healing. Ruby Jewell was in need of all of these things. Devastated after the death of her sister, Ruby takes to her bed, draws the covers over her head and shuts out light and life and love, hoping to never awaken. But, she does. And what opens a crack in her despondency, encouraging her to live again? The beauty Flowers can provide an opening, a crack through which emotion that can't be verbalized flows through, surrounding the recipient with love or laughter, support or security, tenderness or healing. Ruby Jewell was in need of all of these things. Devastated after the death of her sister, Ruby takes to her bed, draws the covers over her head and shuts out light and life and love, hoping to never awaken. But, she does. And what opens a crack in her despondency, encouraging her to live again? The beauty and vibrancy of flowers. "...most folks don't want to hear of deep longings, of grief being soothed by beauty. I never say that I owe flowers my life....They snatched me from the jaws of death and set me back on the path of life...I think of the magic of it all, the serendipitous magic of how a thing like grief can crack a heart wide open and how color and light, stemmed and covered in leaves, can knit it back together. Leaving her studies of Law behind, Ruby embarks on a new path, caring for those around her the only way her fractured soul will allow, by loving, healing, soothing, comforting, amusing or enticing her customers with the floral arrangements she designs. And they love her for it. "E-every...body th-thinks y-you make m-magic. Th-that you a-ar-range more than just flowers here. Th-they th-think you a-range h-hearts." And as she is healing them, they are healing her. The Art of Arranging Flowers is a wonderful story, as beautifully wrought as the floral creations depicted in the story. The supporting characters are richly crafted and are just as important to the development of the story as Ruby. It was a wonderful change of pace for me from the 'steamy' romances I usually read. Intriguing insights into floral history combined with lyrical prose and an incredibly touching story made this a book I won't soon forget. I think I cried during the last quarter of the story...but what a wonderful cry it was! ARC provided via NetGalley

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