I love blog tours, especially participating in them. It's so much fun to find a new book, read it, and then give it a review. It's especially fun when I can give a good review, when I've truly enjoyed the book so much it was too hard to put down. As Love Blooms is my current Blog Tour book and it completes a series that's been a while in the making. First there was Hannah's story, then Charlotte's story, now it's Tessa's turn to have her story told. Lorna Seilstad's heroines are not cut from "average" cloth; no, they flout conventions, they blaze trails, they test norms and break them into tiny, little pieces....
Tessa Gregory has been studying horticulture for the last two years at the University of Minnesota, but because of rules that she felt were too tight, she was invited not to return. She has to find a way to make her way in the world instead of going to school, and she feels that the best way is by getting a job at one of the horticultural parks in St Paul. The only problem is that the superintendent of the park won't hire women. Walking through the park, she notices that the pansies need to be dead-headed, but the security officer on patrol takes issue with her taking the dead blooms off the stems. Reese King, the gardener in charge of this particular plot, notices what she's done and steps in to take control of the situation. He figures she's done him a favor and wants to return it. This is where their relationship begins. Reese offers to help her with getting the superintendent to notice her work and she offers to help him with setting up a new garden. In order to prevent discovery of her gender, Tessa wears a big straw hat, overalls, a working shirt, and men's boots. She takes care to keep her face hidden while working and works just as hard as Reese does, but she's doing more work than just at the park--she's working to get a conservatory for the park as a way to get the superintendent to notice her.
Lorna has a way of writing that is inviting for the reader. There is a quote that says, "Well-behaved women seldom make history." These are the kinds of women Lorna puts in her books, and this is the kind of woman Tessa is. None of the Gregory sisters will be the kind of well-behaved woman ignored by history, and I would dearly love to meet them in person, although, I'm not sure they have the time to sit down and just have a chat. They are women on the move. The mates Lorna has created for them are their exact match, their complement, their spiritual mate. Reese is just the man Tessa needs--one who will stand beside her, encourage her, and work with her to achieve her goals--and when it comes down to it, he's also the one who will rescue her.
Lorna's plots speed along in a way that the reader loses track of time while reading the book. There are adventures to be had, mysteries to solve, damsels in distress to rescue, and gardens to plot out. Tessa and Reese are characters with a depth that make them believable, likable, and relatable. The settings in the book only add to the story instead of being a distraction. Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and the most beautiful rose you've ever seen!
My Thanks to Revell for allowing me to read, review, and participate in this blog tour!