Review: Coming Up Roses by Rachael Lucas

Saturday 16 May 2015
Title: Coming Up Roses
Author: Rachael Lucas
Publisher: Pan
Publication Date: 21st May 2015
Pages: 300
ISBN: 9781447265481
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
Would-be gardener Daisy can't believe her luck when her parents announce they're off on a midlife-crisis gap year, leaving her in charge of their gorgeous garden. After a turbulent few months, a spell of quiet in the countryside is just what she needs.

A shoulder to cry on wouldn't go amiss either - so when Daisy comes across Elaine and Jo, she breathes a sigh of relief. But her new friends are dealing with dramas of their own . . .

As Daisy wrestles the garden into something resembling order, her feelings for handsome Irishman George, begin to take root. But Daisy's heart's desire - her parent's garden - is under threat, and she is forced to confront nosey neighbours and fight greedy developers. Village life is turning out to be far from peaceful.

I have to be honest and say that when this book arrived unexpectedly I was a little unsure at what to expect. The cover and blurb didn't immediately jump out at me, but I think you sometimes need to read a book that is a little out of your comfort zone. My only experience with plants is looking after my grandparents' garden when they go on holiday which is rather nerve-wracking. Would-be gardener Daisy is left in charge of her parents' garden when they announce they are off on a midlife-crisis gap year. Daisy has had a tough few months, and she is hoping the peace and quiet of village life, tending to the garden will be the respite that she needs but not long after her arrival and she realises peace and quiet are the last two things she will be getting.

What I love in Women's Fiction is village settings, living in a village does intrigue me and I think it's the wannabe recluse in me that envisions sitting outside a cottage all day reading books, yet the reality I assume would be quite different, as Daisy herself finds out. I think I was about three or four chapters into Coming Up Roses when I realised I was going to really enjoy this book. It is very much Daisy's journey and she was a character I quickly came to like, wanting her to find happiness and that feeling of being settled that I felt she truly deserved. I think she's also a character that some female readers will really be able to relate to and as she starts to get the garden back into shape, a similar thing begins to happen with her own life.

Coming Up Roses has a great cast of characters, a real eclectic bunch not without their own problems and issues and what I especially liked was how they (well, most of them...) came together to help each other out. A real highlight of the story for me was the friendship between Daisy and Tom, one of the older members of the village and somebody who used to work on the garden at Orchard Villa many years ago. I think I enjoyed it because it was refreshing to see a friendship between two very different people in a genre where the friends are usually all females or gay men and so it was a nice change and also having that connection with the Villa helped me to connect more with the setting, and further highlighted just why Daisy needed to fight for it so much.

Coming Up Roses is one of those books that is perfect for the days we are currently experiencing, and one that leaves you with that pleasant feeling you get when you finish a story such as this one. It has also left me wanting to go back and read Rachael's previous book, as well as keeping an eye out for what she writes for us next.


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