A VVivacious Review: Flowers for the Gardener by Sharon Maria Bidwell


Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

Richard finds himself dealing with major life decisions after his father’s death, but he finds dealing with his mother, Ruby Gardener most difficult. If life weren’t difficult enough, there is the added complication of Ethan Fields.

Ethan and his father have been employed by the Gardeners for many years, though Ethan now finds himself dissatisfied with his work though unwilling to leave. He finds himself resenting Ruby and he wants closure from Richard for whatever it was that they shared.

Will Ethan and Richard stop falling into bed together long enough to work through everything that still remains unresolved between them or will they just drift apart at the end of the day?

Hands down, this is unlike any story I have ever read which was completely unexpected and it totally blindsided me. I had no idea people could create a contemporary romance this nuanced. This book was like a revelation and Sharon Maria Bidwell is an artist.

Initially, I thought this book would be a nice romance counting on social differences to provide the most conflict but I had no idea what I was in for and I must credit this book on how complicated a single thread of thought can be made in fiction. I really don’t hold contemporary romance in any of my favourites lists but done the way it was in this book, I could really see myself turning over to the other side, quick.

This book was off to an unsteady start which I was definitely going to take as an omen but the beginning of this book is somewhat like climbing a rickety staircase inelegant but oddly charming. The writing of this book is… unique. There are sentences that rub me the wrong way, feel overly dramatized but then there are other sentences which even being all of the above make me laugh out loud with the images that are conjured up in my head.

There is this really long conversation between Ethan and Richard in the very beginning of the book and the scene changes perspectives a million times which made me feel like a ping pong ball in a match. Like it was hard to keep track of whose turn it was at present and it felt like I was playing a game of match the following, trying to match the emotions to their respective owners. Again this was something I found irritating but oddly charming though this is an idiosyncrasy that is only true for the very beginning of the book.

Ethan and Richard are on opposite sides of society, they are basically employee and employer and wealth will always be an issue, because while Richard can think of money as a constant for Ethan it is a very current and variable issue which does provide conflict in this story but not all of it. There is also a little bit of the rich in wealth, poor in sense thing going on with Rich not understanding how employing Ethan could put their relationship into an ethical dilemma, but I also feel like that particular issue is seen differently by these two characters. For Ethan wonders, if Rich employing him makes him look like a rent buy while Rich is only trying to make sure Ethan is financially stable even outside of their relationship. Then there is the fact that they are both dealing with loss albeit in different ways and while Rich can lean on Ethan for support, Ethan feels denied of the same privilege. Then there is the matter of Ruby Gardener, Rich’s very opinionated mother who wants things to be exactly as she wants them to be and how both characters are in conflict with her though this fact is not recognizable early in the book.

This book has to be the slowest burning romance in the history of slow-burning romances wherein the characters already share a sexual relationship, it was kind of amazing because generally, it is the UST that drives a slow burn romance but here, was one with so much unresolved tension without any of it being sexual. This book is kind of an award-winning type of book because there so much detail in the book and so much going on, though you really don’t realize it. The fact is that the more detailed a work, the more complicated it becomes though that is surprisingly not the case here. This book has challenged a lot of my pre-conceptions on writing and storytelling, it has been an amazing experience.

Now I know you might be wondering why this book only has a four-star rating if it truly is award-winning good. The fact of the matter is that I have analysed this book to the extent that I can see its faults, this book only has three well-developed characters and another character comes of surprisingly underdeveloped atleast that is what I tell myself because I just couldn’t warm up to Sapphire.

Since Ethan and Rich already had a sexual relationship I felt that they needed to realise a relationship between themselves. In most slow burn romances the UST is resolved prior to the very end of the book such that you get to see exactly what I mentioned above the realisation of a relationship. Now since this book also features a lot of unresolved tensions between our MCs I wanted these tensions to be resolved before the ending of the book so that these two could realise their full potential as a couple. Alas, this wasn’t the case and I fear I have lost the opportunity to see these two as a couply couple.

This book has been a challenge for me one that I have really enjoyed and so far it is unparalleled in the amount of nuance that went into creating this romance.

Cover Art by Written Ink Design which I really liked.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 227 pages
Published April 28th 2018 by JMS Books, LLC
Edition LanguageEnglish

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