" I hated the queen, hated her down to the deepest marrow of my bones."
This is the first sentence of The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas. The queen in this sentence is Mary of Guise, queen regent of Scotland and as the book begins she is dying. That first sentence hooked me and I immediately kept reading. This is a book beginning and a recommendation so lets start with what Goodreads has to say.
Rinette Leslie of Granmuir has the ancient gift of divining the future in flowers, but her gift cannot prepare her for the turmoil that comes when the dying queen regent entrusts her with a casket full of Scotland's darkest secrets. On the very day she means to deliver it to newly crowned Mary, Queen of Scots, Rinette's husband is brutally assassinated.
Devastated, Rinette demands justice before she will surrender the casket, but she is surrounded by ruthless men who will do anything to possess it. In the end, the flowers are all she can trust-and only the flowers will lead her safely home to Granmuir.
I loved this book and recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction. Elizabeth Loupas did a lot of research to keep the historical facts correct while inserting fictional characters. Rinette is a strong woman but still has to fight to keep from being controlled by the men around her. She does not always win. This is also a look at Queen Mary as a young 18 year old new to ruling. Being able to read the flowers is something new to me. I was not sure what to expect when I saw that was part of the story but I loved the way it was used to move the plot along. This was a book I had trouble putting down and I stayed up late to finish.
For a full review visit Kristin at her blog Always With a Book.
There is a nice interview with Elizabeth Loupas in the back of the book, a list of character with notes on who is real and who is fictional in the front and discussion question for books clubs to use.
I won a free copy of The Flower Reader along with a nice letter and a pressed flower book mark. Be sure to read the letter and look at the picture of the bookmark in the next post.