I have been trying to broaden my reading horizons as part of a New Years' Resolution. I used to read everything by one author at a time and was always too sceptical to try other authors for fear of being bored and let down. Miss Roberts however is as far from boring as I am from becoming a millionaire while I write this review!
I picked this book up simply because her books always seem to get good reviews on here. I am so happy that I did. This is a delightful story that's choc full of great characters. They are very realistic and the romance is too.
It tells the story of Stella. Happily married with two young boys, she is preparing a special welcome home dinner for her husband when she learns that his plane has crashed leaving her a young widow and single mum. She is far from any family and although her mother comes to stay after the funeral, it's apparent that they don't and never have seen eye to eye. Her mother is too self obsessed and selfish to care or to even pretend to care about the devastation that has stormed through her only daughter's perfect world.
Stella decides that she must be strong if only for her boys, and somehow manages to get through the first 2 1/2 years. By this time she has somewhat come to terms with her loss and decides to move from Michigan to Memphis to be near her father and his wife. She loves to work with plants and so she goes for a job interview at a large house which has a garden centre created and run by the owner of the house.
Part of the job is to live in the house with the owner until she has completely settled in her job. Her boys go with her as does their dog. The house however is haunted by a woman known locally as the Harper Bride. No-one knows who she was though and so she is a mystery. This ghost has a tendancy to sing lullabys to children in the home. Stella, being very cynical about the whole subject, doesn't believe in the ghost until she hears her singing to her own children.
While this is going on, Stella is building a relationship with the landscape gardener, Logan. At first meeting they hate each other immensely, each finding the other the most annoying person on the face of the Earth. But as they have to work in close proximity with each other, they decide it's best for all concerned if they try to work out their differences and if they can't, they will pretend to get along.
The ghost takes a strong dislike to the relationship as it develops into more than friendship. She becomes aggressive towards both Stella and Logan, and they decide that 100 years of history is now worth looking into to find out about the Harper Bride.
There is much more to the plot than I have gone into but I don't want to spoil it. There is a great cast of supporting characters here who all deserve a mention. From Roz Harper, new boss and owner of the In The Garden Nursery and her grown son Harper, to the funny and delightful characters of Hayley, an expectant young single mother and Roz's friend and helper David.
When I read the last page I felt a little cheated because I thought there would be more explanations and developments for all the characters. I stupidly smacked myself in the head when I then realised that this is the first book of a trilogy!!! DOH!!
I cannot wait to get my grubby mitts on the next installment. The next book is called Black Rose, (out in June), and the last called Red Lily will be out in December. (For those of you who are interested that is!) My thoughts being that if you read this book you will be pre-ordering both of them like me!
Well done Miss Roberts!