A young woman with a little girl’s dream. Two handsome suitors. And an adversary determined to crush her before she stands a chance.
Lily Whistler has a dream, birthed from the most fanciful Parisian memories of her late mother: to open a floral shop called La Fleur de Blanc, selling only white flowers. Back home in Kansas, such a fairy tale notion could never survive … but in the fashionable seaside town of Cielo del Mar, California, Lily has gambled her inheritance that it will.
At first, the upscale shopping center of the Palms Couture seems fertile soil for Lily’s dream. The weather is beautiful; the vistas of the ocean are breathtaking; the customers are elegant and wealthy. There are even two men who’d suit Lily’s fancy if she had time for such things: charming Len, who operates a fine food cart, and dark and brooding Matthew Vitale, who runs Bella by the Sea — an elite restaurant that hosts only a few couples per night at an exorbitant price — with his father Marcello.
But the one thing Lily didn’t anticipate standing in her way was a nemesis: Kerry Barrett Kirby, who owns nouveau house across the courtyard. Kerry seems determined to crush Lily into the dirt for a reason Lily can’t imagine … and wields a power and seniority at the Palms that Lily (new, naive, and out of her element) can’t hope to fight.
Lily only has one chance to make her shop work — a tall feat, considering the prior shops Kerry has driven out of business, and the way the Palms always bows to Kerry’s will. But Lily’s charm has bought her a handful of unlikely allies … and as Kerry will find out, quiet little Lily Whistler has more than a few country girl tricks up her sleeve.
La Fleur de Blanc is women’s fiction with an edge: part coming of age story, part underdog tale, part romantic comedy, plenty hilarious, and stuffed to the brim with empowerment.
Read on for my thoughts on la Fleur de Blanc. No true spoilers, promise.
La Fleur de Blanc is categorized as a “Romance” – and technically it is. There is a light, sexy romance. But this story is not about the romance between two characters. It’s more about the “romance” one has with oneself. Confused? Please, don’t be, it’s really quite simple. This is the story of a young woman who had a dream and set out to obtain that dream. She knew she wanted a flower shop, she knew she wanted it to be based on flowers of one color – white only, and she knew the place she wanted to set that unique shop up in. What she didn’t know when she started was there is a snake in this garden that for reasons of her own does not want to see the dream come true. And will do anything, fight dirty, lie, cheat and conive in order to bully her way into seeing a business dream die.
This is the story of a young woman’s growth, in her ability to cut off the snake’s head and go on to live happily ever after with her dream.
When we first meet Lily she is somewhat of a naive woman from the midwest who simply wants to open up a flower shop in a fancy plaza shopping area along a beachfront community in California. It’s not an unreasonable dream, in fact it is very doable – with a learning curve along the way. Yet from before she even signed a lease, Lily is facing difficulty with her plans. It only gets worse, more malicious from there. One shopkeeper will do every underhanded thing to make certain that le Fleur de Blanc fails.
The reason I’ve described this story as a kind of self love romance is because we are watching a young woman slowly, cautiously becoming a savvy businesswoman and a stronger person as well. Lily will meet each challenge a little stronger, a bit more determined than before. And as we watch and cheer her on, we will see her learn how to deal with adversity, depend upon herself and a few dedicated friends, see a man for what he truly is – and come out stronger, wiser and more successful on the other side of all that is tossed in her path.
This is not your usual romance with a man and a woman and the challenges to their relationship – this is a romance of finding out exactly who you are underneath it all, your own strengths, the lengths you will go to in order to claim your bit of the dream. I read la Fleur de Blanc through in one sitting. It is the kind of story that pulls you in and doesn’t let go. On the surface it is a simple story, do not let that fool you. There are lessons to be learned and taken to heart within these pages, please don’t let that slip by you thinking this is another romance story. It’s more, and it is also well worth the risk to find out how you feel about chasing a dream. Pick this one up, enjoy it and take away a few life lessons as a bonus.
*I received an e-ARC of la Fleur de Blanc from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. That does not change what I think of this novel.*
This novel is available in paperback and for the Kindle