I was approached some time ago to participate in a Book Tour promoting a new novel, Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire by Margot Berwin. Here we go.
Brief overview: Lila Nova is a recent 30-something divorcee who works in an advertising firm in New York City. Her life kinda sucks and her apartment is boring, so when a handsome plant-seller at a local market woes her into buying a tropical plant for her apartment, Lila cannot resist. Discovering a special relationship with the plant, Lila stumbles upon an unusually flora-filled Laundromat run by an eccentric character named Armand, and the course of her life takes a drastic turn. The next thing you know, she’s on an adventure in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, navigating the jungle, learning about ancient magic, and getting seduced by a sexy Mexican man with impressive pectoral muscles.
The bad: I’m a cynic when it comes to love, and I don’t have much time for whiny people whose lives depend on the opposite sex. I don’t pursue romance, and I have zero time for people who are miserable unless they have a significant other in their life. For this reason, there were several times when I wanted to punch Lila in the ovary. Her naivety and lack of good sense make her seem like a child at times, and although I can’t relate to the whole heartbroken, divorce thing, sometimes I wish I could shake her and say, “DAMMIT, woman! Have some self control!”
Armand is also infuriating at times. His relationship with plants is kinda creepy, and he’s so focussed on them it’s hard to believe he isn’t locked up in an asylum.
The good: The story is definitely a unique one, and despite Lila’s flaws, I found myself flying through the book with eagerness. There’s never really a dull moment, and I LOLed in several places. Sometimes a good light read is needed, and this is the kinda book you can curl up with in your pyjamas and fuzzy slippers while sipping tea.
Plus the information and stories behind the plants were actually super interesting, and I felt compelled to water the withering daisies sitting on my kitchen table. (Delivered by my Rangers troop, not a man. Cynic, remember?) Berwin certainly captures the secret life of plants, and the fact she created a whole adventure novel based on them is impressive. I learned a lot. Or at least I think I did.
If you’re into chic lit and flowers, Hothouse Flower is worth checking out.