I’m in a bit of a dilemma. Fall is here, which is very exciting for many reasons, such as: hot coffee, not iced! As great as fall is, it means gone are the days of green grass and flowers filling the flowerbeds and pots in the city. The fields sprinkled with wildflowers back home in Jersey are mowed down and something that looks like straw or corn is growing. The little patches of tulips on Park Avenue are replaced with mums (meh) or cabbages (yuck). What better way to relive the warmer days and fondly remember the colorful petals and aromatic buds of springtime past than through reading? Here are 9 books with flowers right there in the title, so as you’re curled up with your warm beverage in a cozy blanket and your favorite socks, you can think of flowers while still loving fall.
Marigolds typically bloom in orange, yellow, and sometimes maroon hues, so even though they’re masquerading as fall-themed flowers, I assure you this book has nothing to do with crisp air and coats. A converted hotel hoping to provide the comforts of an elegant British community to retirees is not quite what it seems. The somewhat crumbling Indian building, home to several elderly English occupants, is the colorful background to their inevitable adventures, self-realizations, and love interests in this humorous and lively tale. Even if you’ve seen the delightful movie, treat yourself to this great novel.
Daisy Miller is a curious traveler eager to make the most of her family’s European excursion. Her encounter with a sophisticated young man leads him to pursue her throughout her travels, even after she starts a somewhat scandalous relationship with a young Italian man while in Rome. Henry James’s international success brings a naive girl and the carefree nature of America under the scrutiny of high society and highlights the differences in American and European cultures at the time.
Awarded the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, Louise Glück’s collection is a followup to her earlier work, THE GARDEN. Elaborating on the myth of Eden and the concept of paradise, Glück examines the relationship between humans and God, flowers and gardeners. Like the colorful and elaborately lobed irises, these poems are unique and beautiful.
Okay, so ivy is a plant and not a flower, but its twisting and bright vines have a magical quality all their own and make me just as happy as flowers. Karen Quinn’s hilarious romantic comedy follows the immediate downfall and gradual redemption of a high-powered Wall Street woman who loses everything and reinvents herself. Set in the world of high-society private schools, Quinn’s story about a single mother doing everything to make it work is pure entertainment.
When her sister dies, Eva returns to their family home in Cornwall to scatter her ashes. Once there she is reminded of the happiness of their summers and the history of the house and its beautiful garden, which has been tended by the same family for generations. Her mourning is interrupted by a sudden transportation through time, during which Eva encounters the occupants of the house in 1715. Torn between the present and past, love and sorrow, Eva must choose where she feels she belongs.
A historically well-tended garden of roses acts as an anchor for time-traveling heroine Eva Ward, who has returned home to Cornwall to spread the ashes of her recently deceased sister. While there, she finds she can easily slip into the estate’s past, where she has a hard time deciding which century she would like to live in.
A transformative tale of a young widow’s journey to America and the hardships she endures, JASMINE is a gripping story of immigration and self-discovery. When Jyoti’s husband is murdered in India, she pursues their dreams of moving to America by herself. But she finds that no matter how often she changes her name, home, and direction, she won’t find happiness until she learns to take charge of her own life and the things she wants.
When Jasmine is suddenly widowed at seventeen, she seems fated to a life of quiet isolation in the small Indian village where she was born. But, voracious for life, she flees to America where she becomes Jane Ripplemeyer. Her odyssey illuminates the fractured lives of exiles and immigrants caught up in the painful yet exhilarating cross-cultural metamorphosis.
Lucinda Riley’s THE LAVENDER GARDEN made an appearance when I last wrote about flowers, and she’s back for round two! THE ORCHID HOUSE is a sweeping novel that traipses through time and across the globe, following a grief-stricken woman as she attempts to reassemble her life. After the death of her young child and husband, Julia returns to the estate where she spent time as a child watching her grandfather care for exotic orchids. It’s there she finds the potential for new love as well as an intriguing family mystery she attempts to solve in an effort to forget her pain.
Set in a magnificent estate in interwar Britain, this sweeping novel tells the tale of the prominent Crawford family, whose shocking secrets lead to devastating consequences for generations to come.
Set during a time of political upheaval, THE BLACK TULIP tackles the civil unrest of Holland during the 1600s through Cornelius, a man devoted to tulips and not politics. Cornelius’s goal is to create the mysterious black tulip to win an enormous prize. His mission is thwarted by accusations of treason, however, and he is thrown into prison, where he secretly continues his work with the help of the jailer’s daughter. This classic Alexandre Dumas story may not be as well known as his other works, but it is brimming with his signature sense of adventure and infused with history and wit.
A young woman entombed in her family’s traditional values and rituals dreams of a life outside the obedience expected from her. Lisa See expertly weaves the journey of Peony in seventeenth-century China with themes just as prevalent today: pursuing one’s destiny against the odds, a woman’s place and lack of a voice in the world, and the power of friendship and freedom.