A Bouquet of Love by Janice Thompson
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Publishing Date: August 19, 2014
Cassia Pappas has found herself in a nearly impossible situation. She wants to spend her time immersed in her new job at a Galveston Island floral shop, arranging blooms and brightening occasions with her lovely creations. But her huge Greek family–especially her father–has other ideas. They've all relocated to Galveston to open up a new family restaurant location on the Strand– directly across the street from the Rossis’ popular pizza place–and they want Cassia’s full participation.
To make matters worse, as Cassia is trying to develop a strong professional relationship with Galveston’s premier wedding coordinator, Bella Neeley, her own father is intent on stealing all of the Rossi family’s faithful customers. Not exactly the best way to get into Bella’s good graces!
Still, at least Alex, that hot delivery guy from the nursery, is always hanging around the flower shop . . .
Fan favorite Janice Thompson gives readers one more romp with Bella, Galveston, and the bustling wedding biz in the final installment of her popular series. Anyone who loves quirky families, loads of laughter, and tender romance will find themselves hooked.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Buy direct from the publisher today!
My goal with this novel? Find a cute, chick-flick romance to warm my heart on these summer nights. 'Bouquet' had all these fun elements: a crazy Greek family feuding with the crazy Italian family across the street. A hunky Greek Texan who loves flowers helps round out this quirky tale that features a Judy Garland singing MC, Cassia.
Sounds just about right...right? Almost. The author does something strange that I have never seen before, and am not quite sure I want to see again. Thompson excludes conversations from the text. Instead of writing out the dialogue, Thompson just lets us know that the characters are still talking and what they are talking about. For example, on page 71:
"Besides, if anyone understands impulsive family members, I do." Alex dove into a crazy story about his controlling, over-the-top sisters, and I chuckled at how animated they sounded.
When his story ended, I gave all my new friends a nod and released a slow breath.Again on page 129:
Next thing I knew, Yia Yia had joined us and was telling a story about the Old Country. About how good Greeks always supported their own. Never betrayed family. Great. Just what I needed to hear.Perhaps it may be hard to understand fully without the entire text, but these are both moments where there was no reason to leave the conversation out of the story. It would have added depth to the characters and the story. These were just two instances I marked, but there were multiple others. I found it odd, disjointing, and moves the reader away from the story quite decidedly.
My only other objection was the age of Cassia. I spent the entire first chapter guessing her age to be 17, 18, or even 19. Chapter two begins and Cassia states she is 23! Her voice felt much younger and the story read a bit like a YA to me. Which is totally fine, but again disjointing.
But this novel isn't all bad! I loved the cast of characters. Thompson does a fine job of creating quirky, memorable characters that are rich with history and story. Also, the underlying story of reconciling families was unexpected, but touching and quite adorable. Babbas becomes quite the focal point in the second half of the book, and I like the life lessons Thompson has him learn.
If I can continue to overlook these flaws, I may still choose to indulge in the other books in this series. 'Bouquet of Dreams' is book four of the Weddings by Design series. The previous books do not need to be read to understand this one (I haven't read them!) but I am sure 'Bouquet' does contain some spoilers for the characters we meet in the other books. I'm rating this book with 3.5 stars because the overall story is more adorable than the disjointing parts. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy light, quick, adorable romances that feature crazy, loving families. Also a decent pick if you enjoy series with different main characters that are all some how intertwined.