The Art of Arranging Flowers

The Art of Arranging Flowers

4.2 30
by Lynne Branard
     
 

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A moving and eloquent novel about love, grief, renewal—and the powerful language of flowers.
 
Ruby Jewell knows flowers. In her twenty years as a florist she has stood behind the counter at the Flower Shoppe with her faithful dog, Clementine, resting at her feet. A customer can walk in, and with just a glance or a few words, Ruby can throw

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Overview

A moving and eloquent novel about love, grief, renewal—and the powerful language of flowers.
 
Ruby Jewell knows flowers. In her twenty years as a florist she has stood behind the counter at the Flower Shoppe with her faithful dog, Clementine, resting at her feet. A customer can walk in, and with just a glance or a few words, Ruby can throw together the perfect arrangement for any occasion.
 
Whether intended to rekindle a romance, mark a celebration, offer sympathy, or heal a broken heart, her expressive floral designs mark the moments and milestones in the lives of her neighbors. It’s as though she knows just what they want to say, just what they need.
 
Yet Ruby’s own heart’s desires have gone ignored since the death of her beloved sister. It will take an invitation from a man who’s flown to the moon, the arrival of a unique little boy, and concern from a charming veterinarian to reawaken her wounded spirit. Any life can be derailed, but the healing power of community can put it right again.

READERS GUIDE INSIDE

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for The Art of Arranging Flowers
 
“I devoured this book...There is art and beauty in this story that will linger after the final scene.”—Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Rose in Bloom and Starry Night
 
“An expertly penned and tender tale about the blossoming of hearts amidst the storms of loss and grief.”—Richard Paul Evans, #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling 

“Captured my heart on the first page…A beautiful novel filled with tender wisdom and unforgettable characters who understand love, loss, and the alchemy of just the right flowers.”—Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author of The Lemon Orchard
 
“Branard is a masterful storyteller who understands the human heart and all its trials, tribulations, and joys…A pure delight to read.”—Darien Gee, international bestselling author of The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society
 
“Ruby Jewell is an enormously compelling character…I felt genuinely protective of her…[This] is a rare blossom of a book, delicate and lovely, that will stay fresh in my memory for a long time to come.”—Marie Bostwick, author of Between Heaven and Texas

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780425272718
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/03/2014
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
594,698
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof.***
Copyright © 2014 by Lynne Branard

Prologue

 

 

            Daisy was not crazy. At least not like they said. She wasn’t unstable or paranoid. She wasn’t dissociative, delusional nor did she ever display homicidal tendencies. She didn’t impose some means of self-mutilation or harbor a border line personality. She did not require restraints or group therapy and she never intended harm. She took her meds and she was fine. She was not crazy.

            The day she died, that cold gray day when I withdrew into myself, that day I cleaned the house from top to bottom, wiped down every wall, emptied every trash can and discarded most of my clothes, that day when I scrubbed and mopped and threw away the things of no matter, closed the curtains in the front room, unplugged all the clocks and disconnected my phone, put on my grandmother’s only black suit, changed the sheets, and lay down on the bed, I was the one who was crazy. I was the one that should have caused everyone worry. I was the one who should have been locked up and tended to. I was the one who should have been restrained and drugged and analyzed because unlike my beautiful and gentle sister, I meant harm to everything alive and breathing.

            I meant harm to my colleagues and to my neighbors, to the doctor who could not bring himself to say she was dead but rather mumbled to me about some deleterious psychosis and charted in his notes the date and time that she “expired.” I meant harm to the chaplain who spoke of death as if it were merely waking up from a troublesome night of sleep, the librarian who wanted to fill my arms with books about grief and loss, the church lady who left loaves of bread and tins of cookies at my door, the mailman who kept bringing bills and cards and form letters from magazines for trial subscriptions, the children laughing as they passed by on the street, the birds that would not stop singing, the nurse who called to tell me I left my coat in the waiting room, and all the people watching as I entered and exited her room without saying a single word, shedding a single tear, asking a single question. I hated them all and I meant harm to every one of them.

            But of course, they never knew they were in danger. They never perceived that I could manage such evil, was capable of such heinous, horrible desires. They never asked. And if they had, they would have discovered that the harm I meant for everyone else was secondary to the harm I meant for myself. Mostly, I just wanted to die with Daisy. And for a long time I did. It was just no one knew. I took a leave of absence from law school, stayed in bed, ate only what I was left in kitchen cabinets and at the door of my apartment.

 I was crazy. I was broken. I was dead.

And then, one day I wasn’t. It took months and it took grace and it took some unexpected slight shift of sadness that slipped just enough, just barely enough to make room for beauty. And once it happened, once I saw it happen, I got up from bed and I went out to the corner market for milk and chocolate bars and I decided to live.

I am alive and breathing and I am mostly back together, damaged but still “strong in the broken places,” Hemingway would say.

            When people first asked me about my business venture, about why I do what I do, how I switched from being a student of law to a florist, I used to shake my head, look around at where I was standing, where they were asking, and I would say, “the flowers saved me.”

            Of course, that is never the answer anyone expects to hear. That is not an explanation deemed acceptable.  Most people don’t understand a relationship with plants, a love of stalks and blooms, and most people never heard about my sister’s death and my coming back to life.

            I cannot fully tell the story of being pulled out of bed one dawn in early spring by the sight of sharp verdant leaves of ivy, sharp, verdant leaves alive and somehow creeping out of a small pot, motioning me to the window. I cannot explain the burst of color, the brightest blue of the hydrangea bush, so bright it hurt my eyes, the tip of the tiniest pink crocus shadowed by slender blades of grass. I can’t articulate about the yellow monkeyflower, the sweet pea and the hollyhock or how I was saved by the soft petals of the orange rose, the color so elegant, so masterful, it literally forced breath back into my body.

I used to try and explain about my death and resurrection when I was asked in innocence or passing why I became a florist; but I soon learned it is too much of a story. It is too intimate a portrait of loss and most folks don’t want to hear of deep longings, of grief being soothed by beauty. So I never tell that story even when I’m asked how I survived the death of Daisy. I never say that I owe flowers my life and that I am simply giving back to the source of my salvation. I never say that I grow, select, arrange, and sell flowers because I now belong to them and because it is my way to honor that which snatched me from the jaws of death and set me back on the path of life.

I just mention the community college courses in floral arrangements and the chance meeting of the former owner of the florist shop in the small Washington town near my mother’s home place. I just explain about the little bit of money I had to invest and that flowers are easier to understand than people. I just say that as odd as it sounds, at the age of twenty-five, I discovered, suddenly and miraculously, that I have a gift for creating bouquets.

And of course, with that, they smile and nod and show a measure of appreciation and then ask if the price quoted on-line includes delivery. That’s really all they want to know of a life like mine anyway, and really, that’s all I should be willing to share.

And so, every morning for twenty years, I have risen and taken my place behind a counter, near a large refrigerated storage room known as the cooler, the smells of life and death mingled and waiting in every molecule of space, the deep and bright blooms from gardens near and far flashing all around, and I take in the deepest breath, holding it, closing my eyes, opening them at the moment I exhale, and I think of the magic of it all, the serendipitous magic of how a thing like grief can crack a heart wide open and how color and light, stemmed and covered in leaves, can knit it back together.

That is the real truth of who I am and what I do but most people here in Creekside don’t know anything about that. All they know is that I arrived and occupied Sam Jenkins’ place just before they put in the stoplight at the intersection of Main and Fifth Streets. They know I keep a file on everyone, remembering dates and favorite flowers.

They know my bouquets last longer and are cheaper than the flowers they order off the Internet. They know I have some knowledge of herbs and remedies and that I can take what they tell me and satisfy their desire of expression.

They know I live alone with my dog Clementine, ride my bike or walk to work, have a van for deliveries.

They know my name is Ruby Jewell, that I’m Peaches Johnson Jewell’s oldest child, Claudette and Wynon’s only living granddaughter, and that I own The Flower Shoppe.

 

Two

 

 

            “Ruby, I can’t believe I forgot again! Happy New Year, Clementine.”

The wind chime on the front door sounds, Clementine raises her head, yawns, and then settles back down; she is sleeping beneath the table, and I come around the corner. I am carrying a short clear glass vase filled with a bouquet of roses, yellow ones from Lubbock, six of them surrounded by thin stems of baby’s breath with a few slender reeds of eucalyptus and bear grass.

“They are spectacular,” Stan Marcus says, shaking his head. “Exactly what she likes. You are omnipotent.”

“Stan, I keep a data base. I knew it was your anniversary. It’s not really omnipotence when the computer sends up a flag on the calendar page.” I place the vase of roses next to the cash register. Stan is always one of my first customers of the new year. His anniversary is the fifteenth day of January. It’s typically very slow week after the holidays and I get his bouquet made early.

“I should get one of those things,” he replies.

“You don’t have a calendar page on your computer?” I ask, ringing up the sale.

“No, I don’t have a computer.” He reaches in his back pocket for his wallet.

“Oh.” I punch in the buttons, medium bouquet, no delivery, store pick-up. “Stan, you’re an accountant, how is possible for you not to have a computer?”

He hands me his credit card. “I have Marcy. She does all the data entry, prints up those fancy forms. I keep up to date on the laws from journals and sort through boxes of receipts. I didn’t start with a computer in 1962 and I just never found I needed one.” He puts his wallet on the counter. “Yellow pads,” he adds, “a carton of those and a calculator is all the computing I need.”

“It’s $37.00,” I say, running his card on the machine. “Well, maybe if you had one you’d remember your anniversary every year.” I smile.

Stan Marcus was my very first customer in Creekside. I have made a floral arrangement for every anniversary, Valentine’s, and his wife’s birthday. Lucky for Stan and for me, Viola likes flowers. He rarely modifies his gift purchases.

“Oh, I don’t know,” he replies. “I guess I like finding out it’s my anniversary with a phone call. Sort of gives me a rush, like it did forty-five years ago when I asked Viola to be my wife and she said yes. When you call to remind me, it just feels like the same surprise all over again, to remember I got to meet and marry the love of my life. I like hearing it from you. It’s better than a flag on a screen.”

“Okay,” I say. “But one day Viola might like to know you went shopping for her, you know, ahead of time.” I hand him back his card and the receipt.

“Viola likes flowers. She buys herself whatever she wants but flowers, she says, should come from love.”

“And it’s a marvelous thing that you know that. It may be the reason you’re still married after forty-five years,” I note, smiling.

“Well, that and I take her over to Seattle a couple of times a year to stay at the Four Seasons. She does love a day at Nordstrom’s, a massage in the evening, and a glass of wine on the wharf at sunset.”

“Yes, I can see why she loves you. She’s a lucky woman, Stan.”

“Always and forever, I am the lucky one.” He winks at me and puts the Visa and receipt in his wallet and sticks it in his pocket. “And that is something I never forget.”

“Do you need a card?” I ask, already knowing the answer.

“That has been purchased and signed.”

I know that Stan picks out Viola’s cards months in advance. He has a folder of them at his office. He told me of a particular stationery shop he visits when he goes to Post Falls to visit his mother in the nursing home. He often buys her flowers too, although she likes the dish gardens, African Violets, succulents. I always pick her out something that lasts. She doesn’t have a garden any more so she likes to take care of house plants. Stan says that it gives her a sense of responsibility.

“Thank you, Ruby.” He reaches for the vase. He lowers his face into the clump of flowers, takes in a deep breath, and grins. “Yellow roses for my girl from Texas. Some things never change.”

“Viola has always made it clear what she likes.” I close the register and rest my hands on my hips.

“See you in a couple of weeks,” he says, remembering the date of her birthday.

I nod too. I know it well.

“She’ll be sixty-five this year, you know? Doesn’t look a day over forty,” he adds.

“Then I’ll order something special from the warehouse,” I say.

He turns for the door. “You’ll find just the right thing,” he replies, “You always do. Good-bye Ruby, good-bye Clem.” He speaks again to my dog who is still sleeping soundly beneath the table behind me and does not reply.

 I watch the sway of the chime as the breeze slides in through the door when he leaves. I turn to Clementine, my yellow lab and she winks. I glance back to the street and notice the boy peeking in the window only after Stan has stepped away from the sidewalk and moved across the street.

Three

 

 

“The Flower Shoppe,” I say, answering the phone on the second ring, tugging my sweater around me. It’s a bit chilly today.

“Ruby, it’s Madeline from over at the Church.”

She doesn’t have to tell me which church because I know Madeline and I know she’s been the secretary at the Creekside Lutheran Congregation for as long as I’ve been the florist just up the street from where she works.

Ruth Jane is the secretary at St. Bedes Catholic and Miss Bertie is over at Harbor Light Baptist. There’s a Foursquare Gospel and a Free Methodist Church in Creekside as well as few other Christian meeting groups but they don’t have secretaries to order their flowers. Mostly I hear from pastors’ wives and presidents of the women councils of the other congregations; but Madeline and Ruth Jane and Miss Bertie are my best church contacts.

“Palms,” I say, noting the date on the calendar. Madeline always calls in January, a few weeks before Ash Wednesday, to order fronds for the Palm Sunday church service. A small group of women on the altar guild dry and fold them into crosses to hand out the Sunday before Easter. It takes them at least a month to do all the work.

The Catholics just give out the stems so Ruth Jane doesn’t call and order until a week before the event and the Baptists don’t order any flowers for the spring season except the lilies. They don’t care a thing about pomp and liturgy but they do want their Easter lilies to line the stage and fill the window sills at the sunrise service and they do want them full and blooming when they pick them up after the eleven o’clock hour to take them home.

“We’ll have the usual,” she says, meaning she’s ordering the stripped double palms with the split leaf fronds that I get from Plant City, Florida.

About five years ago Madeline saw a special offer listed in some church supplies catalogue for palm fronds and just ordered direct when she was getting bulletins and communion wafers and qualified for free shipping. When the palms arrived, date palm fronds, stems of short, curved, green tender blades, the palm frond cross committee called an emergency meeting with the pastor and Madeline almost lost her job.

Stripped double palms are what the members of the altar guild want and stripped double palms are all I order. Madeline doesn’t try to pinch a penny when it comes to Palm Sunday any more. She just tells me how many stems to order and who will be picking them up. She doesn’t even ask me if the price went up; she just confirms the number and name of which altar guild member will be stopping by when they arrive and stays out of it.

“Sixty?” I ask, flipping through the Lutheran Church notebook that I pulled off the shelf from beneath the register.

I use the computer calendar but I also like to keep handwritten notes on my customers. All the regular customers have their own notebook, small spiral bound notebooks, red, yellow, and blue ones that I buy in bulk, and keep for five years before moving them to boxes in a back closet and starting over.

“Sounds right,” she answers. “We never have more than forty in worship but you know how the altar guild feels about running out of palm crosses. I tried to tell them one time that we could collect the crosses we didn’t use, keep them in a good dry storage place, and save them for the next year but you would have thought I suggested that we give the organist a raise.”

I hear her take a breath.

“That is not how we do things, Madeline Margaret Marks.”

And I know she’s imitating Clarise Witherspoon. Her voice is high and pinched.

She sighs. “And that was the last time I made a suggestion to the altar guild.”

“Probably for the best,” I say.

“Daphne will pick them up,” she adds, knowing I have her number. “I also need to order two arrangements for Sunday’s service. It’s Lila’s birthday.” That is all the information I need.

Lila Masterson was the matriarch of Creekside Lutheran Church and died about six years ago. Every spring her daughter from California calls, asking to have two vases of flowers placed in the sanctuary on the Sunday closest to her mother’s birthday. She also asks that after the service Madeline takes one arrangement and places it on Lila’s grave and that the other one gets delivered to the nursing home where Lila died.

It’s a lot of work for a church secretary who only makes eight dollars an hour and lives thirty miles out of town. I started delivering the flowers on Saturday evening and picking them up after church and fulfilling the requests of the bereaved daughter three years ago when Madeline had a break down placing the order. She cried and explained that if she had one more thing to do for that church that she was pretty sure that she would be putting on the flowers on her own grave. That’s when I stepped in.

“Has it already been a year?” I ask. I glance over at my calendar. My Sunday was empty but I knew I had been considering a drive to Waits Lake this weekend. I like to see it in the winter, the thin sheets of ice forming along the shore.

“I hate to ask you to do this again,” Madeline apologizes when I don’t say anything else.

“It’s fine,” I reply. “I don’t mind.”

“Put something tropical in the arrangement,” she says. “That costs more, doesn’t it? Birds of Paradise, aren’t they expensive? Or better yet, Ruby, charge extra for your services since you have to make more than one delivery. She won’t miss the money. Lila left her a fortune.”

I smile. “I need to go to the nursing home anyway,” I say. “They have a box of vases ready for me to pick up.”

“Then charge her at least for the stop at the cemetery.”

“I will, Madeline,” I reply, knowing I won’t. The cemetery is just behind the church. I can’t really justify adding charges even if it is another stop and even if it means I can’t get to the lake. “But just to ask, how come nobody in the church won’t just pick it up and take the arrangement to her grave after the service?”

“Phhhhh…” she makes a noise as if she’s waving the thought away. “Everybody in this church is too old to walk out to the cemetery with a vase of flowers. There ain’t room on anybody’s walker for a floral arrangement. It would take the entire ladies Sunday School class to get out there and put it on the grave and even then somebody would fall and twist an ankle or break a hip. I tell you, Ruby, this place is nothing but a funeral parlor just marking one death after another.”

I shake my head. She’s been saying the same thing for ten years. Still, it’s true. Lila was eighty when she died and they all said she was the youngest soprano in the choir.

“I’ll order the palms and I’ll make sure the flowers are on the altar table Saturday evening. I’ll stop by before supper on Sunday and take them out.”

“You’re a good egg, Ruby Jewell, everybody says so.”

“You’re one of my best customers, Madeline. Got to keep those Lutherans happy even if everybody has to stick their noses in the arrangement to be able to tell what flowers I actually put in there.”

I hear a laugh.

“I’ll leave you a little something on your desk.”

“Oh, Ruby, I must say I do like that part of Lila’s birthday week.”

I smile. She knows that I always take a small vase and make an arrangement for her before delivering the flowers to the cemetery and the nursing home. I figure that’s the least I can do for a woman who takes care of so many and who always makes sure the church treasurer pays my bill first. “Tell Reverend Frederic I said hello.”

“If I see him, I’ll tell him. He hasn’t been in all week. He was off Monday and Tuesday for his sister’s surgery in Colville, had a golf game on Wednesday, a pastor’s meeting in Spokane Thursday. I had to do the bulletin without any help. I just hope he likes the hymns I picked and the opening prayer I wrote for him. If he hadn’t called this morning, I was going to make him up a sermon title.”

I laugh. “I’ll see you Madeline,” I say.

“See you too.”
            And we hang up.

I glance out the window and the boy I saw before the phone rang is gone.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Praise for The Art of Arranging Flowers
 
“I devoured this book...There is art and beauty in this story that will linger after the final scene.”—Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Rose in Bloom and Starry Night
 
“An expertly penned and tender tale about the blossoming of hearts amidst the storms of loss and grief.”—Richard Paul Evans, #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling 

“Captured my heart on the first page…A beautiful novel filled with tender wisdom and unforgettable characters who understand love, loss, and the alchemy of just the right flowers.”—Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author of The Lemon Orchard
 
“Branard is a masterful storyteller who understands the human heart and all its trials, tribulations, and joys…A pure delight to read.”—Darien Gee, international bestselling author of The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society
 
“Ruby Jewell is an enormously compelling character…I felt genuinely protective of her…[This] is a rare blossom of a book, delicate and lovely, that will stay fresh in my memory for a long time to come.”—Marie Bostwick, author of Between Heaven and Texas

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Meet the Author

Lynne Branard is a pseudonym for New York Times bestselling author Lynne Hinton. She has written more than a dozen books, including Friendship Cake, Pie Town, and Welcome Back to Pie Town.

Xe Sands has more than a decade of experience bringing stories to life through narration, performance and visual art, including recordings of Thrill of the Chase and Buttered Side Down. From poignant young adult fiction to powerful first-person narrative, Sands' characterizations are rich and expressive and her narrations evocative and intimate.

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The Art of Arranging Flowers 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
celticmaggie More than 1 year ago
I fell in love with this book. The plot took a couple of chapters to show where this was going to go but then I couldn't put this book down. Ruby had a rough earlier life. Dad walked, Mom overdosed, her sister Daisy overdosed and her grandparents have passed. She just wants to curl up and sleep. She comes back and buys a flower shop. She knows everyone in town and as she melds with the plants she can give better service. Her friends try to put fun in her life but she is too busy. There are so many twists and corners to turn before this book ends. Please, Please read this book! It slammed me and I couldn't let go. It brought back my earlier memories. Thank you Lynne for a super story!
reececo331 More than 1 year ago
Just recommended this book to my Neighbors daughter in law, she is a florist, i love the inspiration,and meaning in the flowers, their types and textures, and colors.  like Lavender to promote healing and Jasmine to express love or stronger emotional connections.  "Do you know Scientifically how flowers bloom, a team at Harvard studied Asiatic Lilies. It turns out that the instabilities that shape roots and blossoms often come about when certain cells become longer than others. the rapid growth causes strain, which bends the soft tissues. now, what hasn't been found out is that the outer borders of the petals and sepals ruffle during blooming, while the inner margins remain smooth. Those wavy surfaces give glues that cells might be growing faster at the edges, like adding slack to a rope. That extra growth could, possibly coax the petal to go from curving in inside the flower to curving out. It's only growing at the edge, you see, on the margin. the outside. Blooming happens on the outside before it happens in the middle." This book looks into the aspects of the blooming of the soul. How you change from the outside to within. Epiphany of the spirit, the inspiration of learning from those who follow different patterns of life. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a lovely book ,simply written. A nice wholesome story
sparkylg More than 1 year ago
I am a voracious reader. Rarely does a book touch me the way Lynne Branards The Art of Arranging Flowers did. It is beautifully written and easy to read. This book should be savored and enjoyed slowly,,not to be rushed. The message is powerful and beautiful if you take the time to listen as it speaks to you. I loved this book!
literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
Ruby Jewell has a heart of gold!  She’s a talented florist with her own business, a job that keeps her from the terrible grief of losing her sister.  She knows all of the residents of her town and their requests for the perfect arrangement for that special person, standard occasion or unique event make her a well-loved and respected friend to all. Now Ruby begins to meet certain people whose lives she changes and vice versa. Readers will meet an astronaut, a real estate agent, a veterinarian, a man courting a local librarian, a woman seeking a cure for her cancer and a little boy who carries a question that is heart-rending!  While there are scenes of illness and death as well as love and communication about caring, the scenes remain light and are never maudlin! This reviewer doesn’t know flowers so much and yet I could see how beautiful Ruby’s arrangements are.  She also knows the emotional qualities of each flower’s essence and so each is sent with a special quality for each receiver.  Clementine, her beloved dog, and Nora, who seems to have a psychic sense of what is happening behind each arrangement and recipient, make for a fascinating read.   Ruby, however, who is so perceptive about others is gradually led by the other characters to realize she also has an unmet need, and the reader will be more than surprised to see how it is fulfilled. The Art of Arranging Flowers: A Novel is a beautiful, special read in which characters bloom through sharing their lives much as the artfully arrange flowers bloom and glow through tender love and care! Delightful story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was tedious to read. The story line dragged.
Ariesgrl More than 1 year ago
The Art of Arranging Flowers takes place around Ruby Jewell, the town florist. She has owned her shop for a couple of decades and is the go-to person to solve any situation that life may bring. Using flowers and colors, Ruby provides a holistic approach to help the members of her community, all the while still suffering from the loss of her sister many years ago. As new people begin to enter Ruby’s life, she realizes she can’t hide behind her flower counter forever. This book screams unique, from the old fashioned cut pages to the plot lines and it won’t let readers down. Short, easy to read chapters will have readers turning the page quickly. Though some may expect this to be just another sweet romantic story, this book covers a wide range of topics from cancer, alcoholism to abandonment. The author uses Ruby’s own inner pain and her uncanny knack of reading people, to help bring light to these sensitive topics. The poetic prose brings a bit of majestic beauty that matches the eccentric characteristics of this small town. Fans of Southern Literature will want to take note of this author and this book. Notes: This review was written for My Sister's Books. This review was originally posted on the Ariesgrl Book Reviews website.
MargieS1 More than 1 year ago
Given To Me For An Honest Review The Art of Arranging Flowers by Lynne Branard is a real page turner. Once you begin reading it you'll find it's hard to put down until you  finish it. This is a very strong story with great character development. The way that Lynne Branard shows us how flowers are used to  show feelings and how flowers speak to us is fantastic. I loved reading this book. I highly recommend this book to everyone. I look for  more from Lynne Branard.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wish I could give 4.5 stars, because this book would receive that rating.  I truly enjoyed this; it was sweet, well thought out, and had characters you could care about.  The little bit of mystical flower arranging was just lovely, as well as informative.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
nookgeekCD More than 1 year ago
This is a feel good read. Good story with a lesson in flower arranging.
slw-fortney More than 1 year ago
This book is simple and easy to read, but complex and has many layers.  I looked forward to when I would have a few minutes in my day to read  this book.  But I also realized there is a lot I can learn from reading this book so I shouldn't rush it but instead parcel it out in smaller chunks.  It made me cry and gave me hope.  It is going on the shelf with Tuesdays with Morrie and I really never expected another book to sit next to it.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this book and was not, as others have been, turned off by all the floral references. Gardeners and floral arrangers would find this a pleasant read.
love2readallday More than 1 year ago
I liked the characters as well as the story. Kept me engaged all the way to the end.
1223DR More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book. It was a love story of a variety of persons intertwined with interesting facts about flower arranging.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book! I love flowers and the story line was good.
JalFL More than 1 year ago
If you're looking for a nice read, this book is it! To me it kind of covered all bases..happy, sad, love, romance.illness...it had it all. If that is your type of book, this story is for you. Light read, easy to follow, predictable!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great easy read. I like the part about the flowers and the meaning behind them. There were parts that were predictable but a very enjoyable read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read. It touched my heart and soul in a beautiful way. I loved the lessons learned about flowers and about colors and how they affect our feelings, how they heal our souls and our bodies. And most of all, about love, romantic, familial, friends and love of self. This is one of those books I will read many times. I believe you will enjoy reading it too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book totally exceeded my expectations! The well-developed characters, plot, & overall theme were masterfully written and brought together in a heartfelt and meaningful way. Loved it!
TSRBR More than 1 year ago
Overall Rating:  3.5 Rockin’ Stars Ruby Jewell is a matchmaker and a florist all in one.  She can create the perfect bouquets for every occasion in town:  funerals, church altars, weddings, social events,  holidays,  and even open houses for the local real estate agent.  Some customers need love; some need healing and some just need a friendship that only Ruby can offer.   Ruby drops out of law school and returns to her home town after the devastating death of her sister Daisy.  With the help of flowers she pulls herself out of deep depressions she decides to buy the local floral shop.  Ruby discovers that she has a special gift for understanding the meaning of flowers and arranging the flowers to heal and help her customers.  She creates healing boquests for Jenny, a friend with cancer.  Romantic bouquets for Henry, that eventually leads to his wedding.   Ruby’s ever present companion is Clementine, her dog, until Will stops by the shop one day asking for a job.  Will becomes an important part of Ruby’s life especially after his Grandmother dies.  They share the bond of alcoholic mothers and eventually Will teaches Ruby how to open up her heart and love again. When a new recently divorced veterinarian moves into town all of Ruby’s friends can see that he is a perfect match for her.  After a near fatal accident Clementine is saved by Dr. Bill. Will and many other friends encourage Ruby to date him, but she doesn’t seem very interested.  Ruby has been by herself for so long that it is hard for her to let her guard down and open her heart to the doctor. I enjoyed learning about the secret language and meanings of flowers.  Ruby’s character is very real and lovable.  I found myself rooting for her and giving her advice.  My only problem with this story is that it leaves out the most interesting part…how do Ruby and the Dr. finally get together.   ***Received an ARC of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review***
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
millstreetreader More than 1 year ago
The Art of Arranging Flowers epitomizes everything that should be found the genre called "gentle reads."  The story follows several months in the life of Ruby Jewel, the town's only florist.  In a quiet and almost invisible manner, Ruby creates the floral arrangements that save marriages, move an anonymous admiration to spoken words of love, and even offer healing and hope.  Despite a rough childhood and crippling loss of her younger sister, through the art of her flowers, Ruby has created a good life for herself.  Ruby's heart is as tender and beautiful as her name, yet she always kept it sheltered from love and has instead lived vicariously through her customers.  The Art of Arranging Flowers is packed with interesting secondary characters which make this an ensemble book, not merely a story about one woman.  The pace and the style of narration fit the story, unfolding quietly and tenderly, but as warm as a summer's eve. Lynne Branard has written several other successful titles under the name Lynne Hinton, Pie Town and Welcome Back to Pie Town being among my favorites.  While those books had my mouth watering for fresh homemade pie, The Art of Arranging Flowers had me imagining each bouquet and its unique blossoms.  I actually wished there had been illustrations or photos to accompany the text. And the fragrance of those blooms.  How can we as readers capture that?  And I read the book, I began to think about the wonderful arrangements my own mom created with the glads, zinnias, and dahlias she grew in her large flower beds.  Only now that she's gone, do I truly appreciate what love she put into those vases. For a good read with a light touch, perfect for that summer afternoon on the deck, I recommend  The Art of Arranging Flowers.  It'll be as refreshing as your raspberry ice tea.  I received an e-copy of this book from NETGALLEY for my honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think that this book is ok. But it is not very chalenging. If you know me i alway want to chanling myself. I also think this book is a little meann no afends to you. I hope you do not take it the wrong way to you. But this book in one way it is so bad i might blow up. I think from the pont of veaw i take at the time. Ihope you lisnin to my idae'i will give you now. You should justthink of a diffent whole store . At the time. When you are done think of words in the store. I feel sorey for your book that it is so bad.
Feathered_Quill1 More than 1 year ago
The Art of Arranging Flowers is a bittersweet account of one woman’s struggle to reconnect. Ruby Jewell is at a crossroads in her life. After losing her beloved sister, Daisy, there isn’t much point for Ruby to continue her own journey through life. Barely going through the motions of existence in her day to day struggle; somehow, today is different. Ruby has an awakening and acknowledges the many reasons she must carry on. It’s what Daisy would have wanted her to do. How odd the epiphany would come to Ruby by way of flowers. It’s time for Ruby to face her desolate and personal course of self-destruction. Daisy’s spirit channels through the spectral varieties of plants and flowers and delivers a deep-seeded message to Ruby for her to carry on with her own life. Ruby experiences her awakening and begins her uphill climb to embrace life once more. Her floral business thrives in a quiet Washington town due to her maintenance to a fault of her database full of clients. They are more than ‘files’ however, and she carefully personalizes each customer’s file with specifics unique only to them. Sadly, the attention to detail leaves little time for Ruby to tend to her happiness. If only Ruby would pause for a moment. She should pay attention to why young Will came into her life when he did. Perhaps she should delve a little further into the sublime messages delivered with tenderness and kindness from retired astronaut Dan. There is much for Ruby to learn beyond flowers. Maybe she will arrive at her own destiny and understand how deserving she is of a complete life - a life that flowers play an important role in delivering. Through the foundational support of flowers and the rich development of the character Ruby Jewell, it is no wonder best selling author Lynne Branard has struck gold once again. Ms. Branard guides her pen with lovely prose as she educates her readers about the healing and medicinal purposes of many flowers and plants. However, this is not an encyclopedic rendering with 40-character scientific terminology. Rather this is a novel laid out in beautiful and fluid prose. Branard has managed a novel of epic feel good and relatable measures. Through her careful and insightful development of main character, Ruby Jewell, Branard delivers a believable story full of heart-felt enticement. Her readers will want to walk alongside Ruby and feel the depths of her grief as much as the glory of uplifting moments - a writing gift Branard truly owns. Often when I read a solidly written book, it is difficult to carve out one particular passage because the overall body of work exemplifies the author’s gifted ability. Quill says: The Art of Arranging Flowers delivers a resounding message of hope and encourages the notion to embrace the glory of life’s journey and ultimately, welcome the varied outcomes.