Wildflowers – Debbie Howells

What to expect:
Frankie Valentine has a dream – of fame and fortune and selling flowers to the stars, but between her friends, a disastrous love life and the brides that flock to her small flower shop, nothing goes quite as she plans.
Then out of the blue, with her dream about to come true, Frankie meets Lulubelle, whose small son is very sick. And slowly everything starts to change.
Drawn into a world where each day is precious, Frankie starts to question her own life – which gets even more complicated when she falls for Alex, who keeps getting her wrong…
As the pressure mounts in the midst of a crazy summer of weddings, she edges closer to a future she could never have imagined…

I didn’t know what to expect from this book, it’s my first from this author (who kindly supplied a copy for review) and I was pleasantly surprised.

Kooks for your Kindle?– Frankie’s best mate and business partner Honey is a little bossy but means well. Her interference puts Frankie on the path to health and, inadvertently, fulfillment. Old friends Charlie and Nina lead interesting professional lives so aren’t always around. Frankie’s quirky employee Skye is more useful than she initially appears. Frankie’s sister and mother both make an appearance, and to be honest all the female characters are distinctive in some way. Frankie has to kiss a couple of frogs first, but it’s clear who her man should be, and you’ll like him. The celebrity couple that make Frankie’s dreams come true are eccentric without being cliched. Finally, village newcomer Lulubelle is a little mysterious and her son Cosmo is extremely sick with leukaemia- but their friendship opens Frankie’s eyes to a whole new world and purpose.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Frankie is a complex character with some contradictions- she’ll do anything to help her friends, but will put her foot down if they’re out of order; she has some superficial ambitions, but also wants to make a difference in the world. She has a singular habit of quoting adages in Latin and believes that certain flowers have magical powers. I appreciated her assertiveness and was pleased at her swift dispatch of a useless boyfriend as well as her adept handling of a problematic journalist.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– Set in a little English village, the charm of the countryside is reflected in the mass of nearby wedding venues. It’s not too twee, but perfect for the setting of the small flower shop. The flowers were lovingly represented, revealing the author’s love and knowledge of them. I had no idea of the meanings and uses of some flowers and their symbolism in a bouquet but it was surprisingly interesting.

Provoking your Inner-Pedant– There are only a couple of tiny errors (less than usual with a self-published work), they didn’t detract from the story.

Evaluation of your eBook?– I rarely cry at books, but I don’t mind admitting I shed one or two tears with this one. However on the whole it was an amusing tale featuring a smart, quick thinking heroine who learned a lot in the course of the book. Frankie’s journey and her choice of path at the end surprised me, but it made sense and the conclusion was satisfying. The coincidence of me reading about Frankie signing up for a half marathon just as I signed up for a relay marathon seemed rather portentous, although mine is a lot shorter! The author is writing as her real name for the first time, and has previously published two books as Susie Martyn, give her a shot, this is a great frothy read at a great price too.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for 77p.

US: Amazon for $1