Monday, May 7, 2012

REVIEW: The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas

Synopsis: With her dying breath, Mary of Guise entrusts a silver casket to Rinette Leslie of Granmuir, who possesses the ancient gift of floromancy. Inside the casket, and meant only for the young Mary, Queen of Scots, are papers the old queen has painstakingly collected—the darkest secrets of every Scottish lord and explosive private prophecies prepared by Nostradamus. Rinette risks her life to keep the casket safe, but she makes a fatal mistake: she shows it to her beloved young husband. On the very day the young queen comes home, Rinette’s husband is brutally assassinated.

Devastated, Rinette demands justice from the queen before she will surrender the casket. Amid glittering masques and opulent weddings, courtly intrigues and Highland rebellions, the queen’s agents and Rinette herself search for the shadowy assassin. They are surrounded by ruthless men from all over Europe who will do anything to force Rinette to give up the casket—threatening her life, stripping her of her beloved castle by the sea, forcing her to marry a man she hates, and driving her from the man she has reluctantly grown to love. In the end, the flowers are all she can trust—and only the flowers will lead her safely home to Granmuir.

My Thoughts: Having read several books that have touched upon the tragic life of Mary Queen of Scots, it was nice to read a book that focused on the early years of her reign when she first came back to Scotland after being widowed.  This is a young Mary who while intelligent, is also willful, spoiled, vain, and whose lightning fast changes in mood left her courtiers constantly guessing at how to try to please her.  Embroiled in the drama of Mary's court is Rinette- a young woman with a gift for reading people and future events using flowers.  Rinette wants nothing more than to quit the court and live a quiet life at her beloved Granmuir with her first love Alexander.  These plans are put off indefinitely when Rinette is entrusted with a silver casket from the dying Mary of Guise who instructs her to only give the casket into the hands of her daughter Mary when she returns from France.  Whatever is in that casket holds the fate to change Scotland and when Rinette makes the mistake of showing the casket to her beloved Alexander, he does the unthinkable and Rinette becomes a prize that every person of power seeks in order to gain access to the mysterious casket.

This novel had a little bit of everything that I love-an intriguing mystery, a strong heroine, and a time period that is brought realistically to life.   I really don't want to give away too much but the plot went in directions I did not expect and it was complex enough to keep me guessing throughout.  I  thought the politics of the time were brought marvelously to life here.  While that may not seem too difficult there really was a whole lot going on politically in Scotland at the time and also in Europe.  The book explained very well who belonged to what side, who the main players were, what faction supported the Catholics, which supported the Protestants and why there were those outside of Scotland interested in influencing the outcome there. I also liked that Rinette was not a perfect type character that tends grates on the nerves.  She is a flawed individual who makes some really bad choices along the way while doing what she thinks is right.  I had never heard of the art of floromancy before picking up this book but I found the topic so interesting that I think I could read a whole book on it alone.  This is my first book by Elizabeth Loupas.  I own her first release (The Second Duchess) but have not cracked it open yet.  I think I may have to remedy that soon. Also, I normally don't comment on cover art but I really like how well the lady pictured on the front matches up with how Rinette is described in the book.

 This book was provided to me by the publisher for the author's tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.  These are my honest thoughts on the book.

 For more reviews + giveaways, guest posts and interviews with author Elizabeth Loupas you can view the rest of the tour schedule HERE.


Elizabeth Loupas lives near the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas. She is presently a novelist, freelance writer and amateur historian. In other times and other places she has been a radio network vice president, a reference librarian, a business-to-business magazine editor, and a tutor in English literature.

One of her passions is the art and poetry of the Pre-Raphaelites. This led her to the Rossettis and the Brownings, and the project nearest and dearest to her heart--her novel THE SECOND DUCHESS, based on Robert Browning's poem "My Last Duchess."

She hates housework, cold weather, and wearing shoes. She loves animals, gardens, and popcorn. Not surprisingly she lives in a state of happy barefoot chaos with her delightful and faintly bemused husband (the Broadcasting Legend), her herb garden, her popcorn popper, and two beagles.

You can learn more about Elizabeth Loupas and her work on

Follow the tour on Twitter: #FlowerReaderVirtualTour

Stop back by on the 9th for a guest post with Elizabeth!


  1. Great review -- you articulated exactly what I liked about it -- it really was a multilayered novel -- a thriller, a historical, a little romance...wonderfully evocative. Rinette was also a relief -- I liked how real she was!

  2. This does look good! And I do love historical fiction so I think I should check it out.

  3. Lovely review, Holly. Your impressions of the novel are very similar to mine. Like you, I also have The Second Duchess sitting on my shelf waiting to be read and can't wait to get to it.

  4. Holly, thank you so much for your review. Although the girl on the cover is beautiful, I've never thought she looked like Rinette as I imagined her (too mature and smoldering), so it's great to hear that she matched your vision. I love how everyone sees something different in a book, even the author! :)