22 Oct The Beachside Flower Stall by Karen Clarke #Blogtour #Review
Hey guys, hope you’re having a wonderful Friday! Today I’m taking part in Karen Clarke’s blog tour for her latest book, The Beachside Flower Stall. If you’re looking for a light little read to enjoy over the weekend and Easter holidays (especially if flowers are your thing), this is definitely one to check out. Wish you a happy Easter and have a fab time with your family (and books ).
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Beachside Flower Stall by Karen Clarke
Series:Beachside Bay #2
Published on 2.3.2017
Carrie Dashwood fled Dorset ten years ago when her best friend Megan stole her love, local heart-throb Tom. Now she’s back to help run her aunt Ruby’s flower stall in idyllic Shipley.
Trying to persuade herself that her feelings for Tom are in the past, Carrie plans to avoid him and Megan completely. But it’s not to be, because Ruby’s Blooms are arranging the flowers for Megan and Tom’s wedding.
Soon Carrie’s crawling under the stall to hide and accidentally inventing an imaginary boyfriend… But with the stall’s finances in jeopardy and Ruby needing her niece more than ever, Carrie has to keep her emotions in check.
With bouquets to arrange, family secrets to uncover, and Tom unavoidably a part of her life again, can Carrie keep her cool, save the stall, and find her very own happy ever after?
First off, isn’t the cover stunning? I don’t know about you, but I’m a big sucker for a gorgeous cover and this one caught my attention immediately. As I haven’t read the first book in the series (The Beachside Sweet Shop) I really had no expectations. Maybe I expected more laughs judging by the blurb, but nevertheless I ended up liking it (most of it).
As I said, I haven’t read the first one in the series (but had a quick glance at the reviews and blurb) and Karen brought the readers back to Shipley where Carrie is off to help her out with her flower stall. The beautiful sea place is nothing like Manchester where Carrie’s spend the last 10 years of her life. She’s an accountant and knows nothing about flowers (except watching a tutorial on youtube) but her parents think it’s a good idea for her to go and help her aunt as firstly, she’s in between jobs anyway and secondly, her aunt Ruby would appreciate it. However being back to her home town, the one she escaped a decade ago brings back not only memories but people from her past too. Tom is there, still gorgeous and successful and seems she hasn’t gotten over him still.
The reason why Carrie fled her hometown was to heal her broken heart, after her friend, Megan ends up with Tom. There’s a lot of unresolved issues and now she’s back, seems she has to face the past. But while I enjoyed Tom and Carrie’s story, I have to say it’s not the only story we follow in the book. Which I liked as it gives the book another interesting layer. The story of Ruby, her ‘illness’ and past was what really kept my attention.
While I didn’t particularly like Ruby, I tried to understand her as much as possible as I’m a mother myself. I also liked that we were gradually being introduced to her past and bit by bit being allowed to see Ruby for who she really is. At the beginning, I really didn’t understand her reasons for giving up on her stall and closing in on the people around her. But as I learned more and more about her, her behavior started to make more sense and I could feel her more.
While there are many things I enjoyed about this book, the lightness and the beautiful setting being just few, I also didn’t like some parts. Actually, the main problem were the characters. I can assume what the author tried to do and how she wanted to portray Carrie as someone who transforms by the end, however it was slightly annoying how gullible Carrie was at times. As the book opens with an event 10 years ago, at Tom’s 21st Birthday party, we get to see the ‘awkward’ friendship between Carrie and Megan. I was so surprised to read Carrie could swallow such a thing and actually have a friend like Megan. I mean, they were in their twenties, not actually kids. The relationship was anything but friendship and no matter how much I tried to like Carrie, I felt like I’ve lost all my respect for her right at the beginning of the book.
But there’s hope as Carrie does transform however it was too late for me, as I already had my opinion firmly made. While Megan is evil and a real bitch, she’s definitely important to the story and is the perfect example of how evil some people can be, using lies and manipulating with people and their trust. I’m thankful I haven’t had the experience of having someone as her in my life, but I guess there are people out there who’ve had a Megan as a friend. So, be careful when you give your trust, guys – there’s a nice little message in this book.
However, the triangle was a bit too much for me and their story was less interesting for me than Ruby’s. Ruby’s story was really what kept me turning the pages and got me even emotional at times. While I’d certainly like the book more if I could’ve connected to any of the characters more and if the pacing was faster, I still enjoyed it and would definitely continue the series. If you enjoy light, warm reads and flowers even, this is definitely the book for you.
About Karen Clarke
After giving up her job as a library assistant, Karen now writes full-time. She’s had over 300 stories published in women’s magazines in the UK and abroad, and has written three paranormal romantic comedies, published by Little, Brown/Corsair. When she’s not writing she reads avidly, walks dogs at her local rescue centre, and is eagerly awaiting the next season of The Walking Dead. She lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband and three grown-up children.