Review – The Little Flower Shop By The Sea – Ali McNamara
Poppy Carmichael has landed up inheriting her grandmothers flower shop in the little cornish village of St Felix. She’s not exactly the floral type, tending to wear full black clothing and tends to snap at anyone who tries to strike up conversation with her. She likes to be on her own and away from hoards of crowded areas. Having not been able to hold down a job or make a success of anything, she is quite reluctant to take on the task of running the shop and following in the family tradition of floristry. With a little help from the people of St Felix, has she finally found what’s been missing from her life?
My first thought after finishing this was that Poppy Carmichael has to be one of my favourite protagonists of this genre. There is something so believable in her, that other chick lit stories tend to fall short of. Dressed in all black, save for her burgundy Doc Martens, from the start it’s quite clear that the story will follow some sort of transformation in her. Hopefully ending up with a little injection of colour into her wardrobe by the end. In fact, there’s a great deal about the plot which is obvious about where it will lead. I wouldn’t say this is such a bad thing. Once you as a reader place hope in Poppy’s future and what that will be it excites you to keep on reading. I found myself waiting for the big twice. Which thankfully, wasn’t what I quite thought it would be. This pleased me that it’s still possible to give a chick lit/romantic novel a twist. Much of what else in the story is mirrored in many other authors work. Troubled protagonist, new best friend out of the blue, two or so love interests. It’s quite extraordinary that ‘The Little Flower Shop By The Sea’ has the added animal factor of Basil, the dog and Miley, the monkey. So all is not lost.
And please don’t think I’m also being negative when I say it’s ‘samey’. There’s a reason this is such a popular genre. And that’s the fact that it’s readers want that life. We are hoping for the day when our own lives may take the course of such tales. Much like a reader of Sci-Fi may dream of exploring far off alien races and becoming a hero across the universe. It’s part of the beauty of story telling.
I also liked the fact that as luck should have it, this story touched on the cause I wrote about not long ago. Just by coincidence. It talks about Sudden Adult Death. Which is so good to see in modern literature.
After all the seriousness of The Bone Clocks, picking up this book was like taking a cool shower on a hot day. Quick and refreshing.
Having read Ali McNamara’s previous novels, I think this may be a particular favourite of mine. I can just see how much a labour of love it’s been for her. It shines throughout. How deep the research has been done. The chapter titles representing different flora types. Now I even know the word for fear of flowers. One to remember for the pub quiz.
Certainly, take this book on holiday with you. Or just stay at home on a drizzly afternoon and be whisked away in it’s pages to St Felix and it’s wonderful inhabitants.
A great read.