Review: The Little Flower Shop by the Sea by Ali McNamara

Tuesday 28 July 2015
Title: The Little Flower Shop by the Sea
Author: Ali McNamara
Publisher: Sphere
Publication Date: 30th July 2015
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9780751558616
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 5/5
Purchase: Amazon
The blossom is out in the little Cornish harbour town of St Felix

But Poppy Carmichael's spirits aren't lifted by the pretty West Country spring. Inheriting her grandmother's flower shop has forced her to return to Cornwall, a place that holds too many memories.

Poppy is determined to do her best for the sake of her adored grandmother, but she struggles with the responsibility of the more-shabby-than-chic shop. And with the added complication of Jake, the gruff but gorgeous local flower grower, Poppy is very tempted to run away...

The pretty little town has a few surprises in store for Poppy. With new friends to help her and romance blooming, it's time for Poppy to open her heart to St Felix and to the special magic of a little flower shop by the sea!

Ali McNamara is one of my favourite Women's Fiction authors. I love her books and the day I pick one of them up and don't enjoy it is the day I fall a little out of love with reading. In terms of pure enjoyment, and that feeling you get inside at finishing an amazing book, The Little Flower Shop by the Sea might just be one of Ali's best books yet, and it is certainly one of her most magical.

Poppy Carmichael returns to the Cornish town of St Felix when her grandmother passes away, leaving Poppy her flower shop. Poppy's arrival in the town sees her witnessing a place that is vastly different to the one where she spent many happy summer holidays with her brother. I was immediately reminded of the seaside towns I visited with my family as a child, and the holidays we went on. I even found myself picturing those towns reading this book because they are so similar. They all to me had that magical feeling, that happy feeling where nothing can go wrong. It seems though that Poppy is about to find out that St Felix might go beyond just making you feel happy as her grandmother's flower shop is hiding some secrets... Each chapter is titled with a flower and what that flower means or represents which I thought worked really well. There's so many! The setting of St Felix is wonderful, brought to life so vividly by Ali it's a place every reader will wish they could visit, especially once they learn what secrets the flower shop is hiding.

Poppy is an intriguing character and it might be a lazy comparison, but she is almost like a flower herself as she starts her journey at the beginning of the book. To say she doesn't want to be in St Felix would be an understatement, her plans are to sell the flower shop and get on with her life. The reader discovers she has an aversion to flowers, and a slight aversion to people given that she's reluctant to form any friendships when she first arrives. Straightaway I wanted to know what the mystery was, and as the story develops I just couldn't help but warm to and fall in love with Poppy. Scarlett O'Brien will forever reign as Ali's greatest creation but Poppy comes an extremely close second.

Ali's novels always contain an eclectic mix of characters and this book is no different. This time around some of them come in the form of Ant and Dec, not the Ant and Dec but St Felix's own famous duo that run the local bakery. We even have a monkey by the name of Miley whose owner Jake soon catches Poppy's eye and who is also quite an intriguing character with secrets of his own. All too often in Chick Lit the romance element can feel rushed or forced, but in this story it never felt like that, and the romance in this book was one of my favourite things about it. It also wouldn't be an Ali McNamara novel without plenty of drama and without wanting to ruin things for readers, the drama this time around will have every reader firmly on Poppy's side cheering her on.

The Little Flower Shop by the Sea has everything you could possibly want from a book, and I really could sit here and discuss the whole thing, but it's one of those books that readers need to buy (right now) and fall in love with themselves. I read the book in just under a day, and enjoyed my time in St Felix so much that I didn't want to leave. It is a magical (literally!) place and if it was real I would move there tomorrow. There's some fantastic books being released this summer, and The Little Flower Shop by the Sea is at the very top of my highly recommended list. Ali's fans will love the story, and those new to her work will love it too.


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