I really liked this book. I am so impressed by the historical fiction that is being written these days. Pretty much every book is well-written and captivating and The Flower Reader is definitely up there with them.
This is the first novel I have read which features Mary, Queen of Scots. I was not overly fond of her in this book. I realize that this is an author's portrayal of her and may not be entirely factual, but Loupas is so good with her character development, I'm quite convinced that Mary may very well have been this sort of person. Of course, royal personages were often impertinent due to their social standing, especially female rulers who always had to stay a step ahead of the men who would try to place them under their thumbs. The behavior might very well have been a front to conceal weakness. All this being said, I am very interested in reading more fiction featuring Mary in the future.
The main focus of the story is Marina Leslie of Granmuir, called by her nickname, Rinette. Rinette was raised by Queen Mary's mother, Mary of Guise, and this fact leads to a rivalry between Mary and Rinette which manifests in Mary's ill treatment of Rinette after her mother's death. Mary of Guise entrusted a precious object meant for her daughter only to Rinette and it is this action that is the center of the story. There is much intrigue surrounding this object and Rinette is caught in the middle of it all. After her husband is murdered, she is determined to find out who murdered him and to also hold on to her precious Granmuir. Rinette is a strong woman who goes after what she wants and uses the object as a bargaining chip to that end. Rinette is also a flower reader. She can read 'prophecies' in the flowers. This adds another interesting element to her character. Is she really reading fortunes in the flowers or is it just her subconscious speaking to her? At one point, she even questions this herself.
"I was never entirely sure whether what I heard was truly the flowers, or just my own secret thoughts and hopes and fears rising up out of my heart when I stilled myself to listen."
The Flower Reader is rich storytelling and its characters are real and interesting. The historical details were obviously meticulously researched. Throw in some intrigue and scandal and we have a book that will appeal to all readers, not only fans of historical fiction. I look forward to future offerings from Ms. Loupas.
About the book:
In the sweeping new novel from the author of The Second Duchess, dangerous secrets lead a passionate young woman into a maze of murder and conspiracy as Mary, Queen of Scots, comes home to reign in a treacherously divided Scotland….
With her dying breath, Mary of Guise entrusts a silver casket to Rinette Leslie of Granmuir, who possesses the ancient gift of floromancy. Inside the casket, and meant only for the young Mary, Queen of Scots, are papers the old queen has painstakingly collected—the darkest secrets of every Scottish lord and explosive private prophecies prepared by Nostradamus. Rinette risks her life to keep the casket safe, but she makes a fatal mistake: she shows it to her beloved young husband. On the very day the young queen comes home, Rinette’s husband is brutally assassinated.
Devastated, Rinette demands justice from the queen before she will surrender the casket. Amid glittering masques and opulent weddings, courtly intrigues and Highland rebellions, the queen’s agents and Rinette herself search for the shadowy assassin. They are surrounded by ruthless men from all over Europe who will do anything to force Rinette to give up the casket—threatening her life, stripping her of her beloved castle by the sea, forcing her to marry a man she hates, and driving her from the man she has reluctantly grown to love. In the end, the flowers are all she can trust—and only the flowers will lead her safely home to Granmuir.
Elizabeth Loupas lives near the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas. She is presently a novelist, freelance writer and amateur historian. In other times and other places she has been a radio network vice president, a reference librarian, a business-to-business magazine editor, and a tutor in English literature.
One of her passions is the art and poetry of the Pre-Raphaelites. This led her to the Rossettis and the Brownings, and the project nearest and dearest to her heart--her novel THE SECOND DUCHESS, based on Robert Browning's poem "My Last Duchess."
She hates housework, cold weather, and wearing shoes. She loves animals, gardens, and popcorn. Not surprisingly she lives in a state of happy barefoot chaos with her delightful and faintly bemused husband (the Broadcasting Legend), her herb garden, her popcorn popper, and two beagles.
Tour Schedule--visit other stops on the tour
Twitter Event Hashtag: #FlowerReaderVirtualTour
Visit Elizabeth Loupas - WEBSITE
Visit Elizabeth Loupas - WEBSITE