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Give Your Mom a Beautiful Book-quet for Mother’s Day

Amy Hendricks is a children's marketing coordinator at Simon and Schuster. She is a friend to animals, and a lover of old books, pancakes, and being in or near water.

While I‘m a firm believer that it is always the right time to buy flowers, Mother’s Day in particular is the perfect reason to pick up a bouquet of your mom’s favorites. Daisies, lilies, hydrangeas, tulips—any of these will brighten up her day and her counter or nightstand. Having worked in a florist shop in high school, I am somewhat averse to roses (stripping thorns from stems is just as awful as it sounds) but a huge fan of aromatic hyacinths and beautiful peonies! How clever would it be to pair those pretty petals with a book matching their name? The titles below do just that, and your mom will be as engrossed in these varied tales of love, loss, mystery, and devotion as I was. Happy Mother’s Day!


The Orchid Thief
by Susan Orlean
This true account of a curious reporter and her adventure into the swamps and stalls of the flower-selling world is laced with absorbing detail and quirky characters. Susan Orlean explores the obsession and eccentricities of John Laroche, a man once charged with smuggling endangered orchids out of the swamps of Florida. His quest to clone the rare “Ghost Orchid“ is both odd and exciting, and Orlean expertly captures the absurdity of it all.
The Orchid Thief
Susan Orlean

Dangerous obsession and greed meet in this wickedly funny modern classic, which follows an eccentric plant dealer as he attempts to poach the endangered ghost orchid from a Florida preserve and clone it for profit. This true crime book is actually a charming, passionate underdog story.

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The Lotus Eaters
by Tatjana Soli
Love and war are at the forefront of this gripping novel that follows a young American photojournalist, Helen Adams, during her time in Vietnam. As Helen and her lover, Linh, escape Saigon, she revisits the years she spent falling in love with the war-torn country and two men within it. Helen’s ambition, passion, and regrets are beautifully displayed against the backdrop of an event that shaped the culture and history of both her homeland and the land that had come to be her home.
The Lotus Eaters
Tatjana Soli

In the final days of a falling Saigon, THE LOTUS EATERS unfolds the story of three remarkable photographers brought together under the impossible umbrella of war. All three become transformed by the conflict they have risked everything to record.

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The Black Dahlia
by James Ellroy
Dahlias are bright and beautiful flowers, with vivid spiky petals bursting in all directions. It makes sense that the mysterious and beautiful young woman found brutally murdered in LA in the late ’40s would be dubbed “The Black Dahlia.” James Ellroy’s fictionalized account of the case is essential crime fiction that will make you as obsessed as the two detectives trying to solve the case.
The Black Dahlia
James Ellroy

One of the most bone-chilling mysteries of Hollywood remains unsolved today. In this fictional account, two obsessed police officers begin a fervent investigation when the mutilated body of an aspiring actress is found in Los Angeles. Together, they search for justice for the Black Dahlia and explore the darkest corners of Hollywood.

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Sea of Poppies
by Amitav Ghosh

Amitav Ghosh’s stunning first book of his Ibis Trilogy follows a grand ship filled with a cast of characters as vibrantly detailed as the lands they hail from. Crossing the Indian Ocean aboard the Ibis are stowaways, servants, sailors, rajahs, traders, and more. They share not only the close confines of a schooner in the 1830s, but also a connection to the poppy plant, specifically the opium it produces. On the cusp of a war over narcotics, those aboard struggle against themselves and each other for freedom, acceptance, love, and position.

Sea of Poppies
Amitav Ghosh

Amitav Ghosh’s stunning first book of his Ibis Trilogy follows a grand ship filled with a cast of characters as vibrantly detailed as the lands they hail from. Crossing the Indian Ocean aboard the Ibis are stowaways, servants, sailors, rajahs, traders, and more. They share not only the close confines of a schooner in the 1830s, but also a connection to the poppy plant, specifically the opium it produces. On the cusp of a war over narcotics, those aboard struggle against themselves and each other for freedom, acceptance, love, and position.

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Tulip Fever
by Deborah Moggach

In the throes of spring with tulips popping up all over, these titular plants were once rare and exotic luxuries, specifically in Amsterdam in the 1630s. An enamored merchant whose wealth cannot help him and his young wife produce an heir commissions a portrait of their small family of two. When the artist and wife inevitably fall in love, all of their lives are altered in a fast-paced spiral of passion and lies. The imaginative telling of this wealthy and ultimately doomed time in Dutch history sets the scene for a painter and a young wife to risk it all.

Tulip Fever
Deborah Moggach

In the throes of spring with tulips popping up all over, these titular plants were once rare and exotic luxuries, specifically in Amsterdam in the 1630s. An enamored merchant whose wealth cannot help him and his young wife produce an heir commissions a portrait of their small family of two. When the artist and wife inevitably fall in love, all of their lives are altered in a fast-paced spiral of passion and lies. The imaginative telling of this wealthy and ultimately doomed time in Dutch history sets the scene for a painter and a young wife to risk it all.

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A Fall of Marigolds
by Susan Meissner

A scarf decorated with marigolds is the connecting thread between two women experiencing a similar anguish 100 years apart. In New York City’s 1911 and 2011, the two women both fell in love and then lost their husbands in terrible disasters. A well-told examination of grief and resilience, A FALL OF MARIGOLDS manages to be touching and sweet, yet gritty and real when examining how to find hope in despair.

A Fall of Marigolds
Susan Meissner

A scarf decorated with marigolds is the connecting thread between two women experiencing a similar anguish 100 years apart. In New York City’s 1911 and 2011, the two women both fell in love and then lost their husbands in terrible disasters. A well-told examination of grief and resilience, A FALL OF MARIGOLDS manages to be touching and sweet, yet gritty and real when examining how to find hope in despair.

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Daisy in Chains
by Sharon Bolton

A charismatic convicted murderer and his adoring fans persuade a no-nonsense lawyer to try to overturn his case. At the heart of this story is a man’s fate—is he as guilty as he seems, or has he been wrongly sentenced to life in prison? DAISY IN CHAINS is a dark and twisty psychological thriller, and Sharon Bolton will keep you guessing the whole time.

Daisy in Chains
Sharon Bolton

A charismatic convicted murderer and his adoring fans persuade a no-nonsense lawyer to try to overturn his case. At the heart of this story is a man’s fate—is he as guilty as he seems, or has he been wrongly sentenced to life in prison? DAISY IN CHAINS is a dark and twisty psychological thriller, and Sharon Bolton will keep you guessing the whole time.

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Roses
by Leila Meacham

This book is just like a rose: the petals adorning the cover are as pretty as the sprawling fields and mansions of the wealthy cotton tycoons in a small Texas town. The fragrance is as sweet as the reluctant romance of two star-crossed lovers of the rival town families, and the thorns are as spiky as the drama and deceits that drive them apart. A multigenerational epic, ROSES examines what happens when a determined young woman chooses work over love, and struggles to reconcile the fact that you can’t always turn back.

Roses
Leila Meacham

This book is just like a rose: the petals adorning the cover are as pretty as the sprawling fields and mansions of the wealthy cotton tycoons in a small Texas town. The fragrance is as sweet as the reluctant romance of two star-crossed lovers of the rival town families, and the thorns are as spiky as the drama and deceits that drive them apart. A multigenerational epic, ROSES examines what happens when a determined young woman chooses work over love, and struggles to reconcile the fact that you can’t always turn back.

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Oleander Girl
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Like the oleander plants growing all over India, the protagonist of this novel is a resilient young woman blooming in the beautiful region of Kolkata. Korobi is raised by her doting grandparents after being orphaned at birth, but her curiosity about her parents’ death never subsides. After her grandfather’s sudden death and the subsequent discovery of a secret from her past, Korobi travels to America to search for answers. Beautifully written and emotionally captivating, OLEANDER GIRL is a sensory adventure of self-discovery.
Oleander Girl
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

This sweeping, suspenseful, coming-of-age tale is about an orphaned young woman who has enjoyed a privileged upbringing with her beloved grandparents in Kolkata. When she learns they concealed the fact that her father is not dead, she embarks on a journey that transforms her life.

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Dandelion Wine
by Ray Bradbury

Nothing says small-town America like dandelions, and Ray Bradbury masterfully weaves the essence of the beautiful weeds into every page of his sweet and magical story about growing up. A grouping of stories of summer routines—porch swings, running through fields, cutting the lawn—and burgeoning self-awareness, DANDELION WINE has all of Bradbury’s entrancing imagery and nostalgia packed into one delightful book.

Dandelion Wine
Ray Bradbury

Nothing says small-town America like dandelions, and Ray Bradbury masterfully weaves the essence of the beautiful weeds into every page of his sweet and magical story about growing up. A grouping of stories of summer routines—porch swings, running through fields, cutting the lawn—and burgeoning self-awareness, DANDELION WINE has all of Bradbury’s entrancing imagery and nostalgia packed into one delightful book.

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The Lavender Garden
by Lucinda Riley
An undercover British office clerk in World War II, an aristocratic heiress inheriting debt and secrets, a French chateau brimming with history and intrigue... THE LAVENDER GARDEN delicately fuses all of these elements into a cross-generational mystery of past, present, and future. Lucinda Riley’s storytelling abilities know no bounds, and you will lap up every word of this drama.
The Lavender Garden
Lucinda Riley

An inherited chateau with vineyards and intrigue abound takes center stage in this captivating novel chronicling a woman’s attempts to understand the deeply embedded history of her old estate. Jumping from World War II to present day in the south of France, the secrets of the old house help bring a family’s history to light.

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Lilac Girls
by Martha Hall Kelly

An ode to the bravery and boundless determination of women, LILAC GIRLS follows three incredibly different yet equally inspiring women during World War II as they navigate the changes in their lives and surroundings. A young German doctor trapped in a field dominated by men and secrets, a Polish courier grasping for the ends of her innocence and youth as she falls further into the resistance, and an American socialite learning to prioritize duty over love are all thrust into the harrowing realm of war and its consequences.

Lilac Girls
Martha Hall Kelly

An ode to the bravery and boundless determination of women, LILAC GIRLS follows three incredibly different yet equally inspiring women during World War II as they navigate the changes in their lives and surroundings. A young German doctor trapped in a field dominated by men and secrets, a Polish courier grasping for the ends of her innocence and youth as she falls further into the resistance, and an American socialite learning to prioritize duty over love are all thrust into the harrowing realm of war and its consequences.

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Purple Hibiscus
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A 15-year-old girl and her brother, children of a wealthy religious fanatic, live sheltered from the world and their own community in Nigeria until the violence of a military coup forces her overprotective father to send them to live with their aunt. Entranced by a life of openness and happiness in the new setting, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s young narrator is forever changed by the possibility of what could be and struggles to keep her family together in the aftermath of self-revelation and a nation at war.
Purple Hibiscus
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

With works like AMERICANAH and WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is not one to shy away from big subjects like race and feminism. Her debut novel, PURPLE HIBISCUS, follows a pair of privileged siblings living in Nigeria. As the country begins to fall apart under a military coup, the siblings are sent to their aunt, where they discover a life beyond the confines of home. PURPLE HIBISCUS is an exquisite novel about the emotional turmoil of adolescence, the powerful bonds of family, and the bright promise of freedom.

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Peony
by Pearl S. Buck

Peony, the titular character in Pearl S. Buck’s classic novel, is a young girl sold into the service of a rich Chinese household in the 1850s. The family who owns and employs her are some Jewish residents of Kaifeng and are raising their only son to marry a neighboring rabbi’s daughter, so he can eventually become a rabbi himself. But hidden love lies in wait for the young characters, and as they grow into their own identities, they struggle to balance their duty to service, family, and themselves.

Peony
Pearl S. Buck

Peony, the titular character in Pearl S. Buck’s classic novel, is a young girl sold into the service of a rich Chinese household in the 1850s. The family who owns and employs her are some Jewish residents of Kaifeng and are raising their only son to marry a neighboring rabbi’s daughter, so he can eventually become a rabbi himself. But hidden love lies in wait for the young characters, and as they grow into their own identities, they struggle to balance their duty to service, family, and themselves.

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