Characters were nice people but not compelling enough for a story.
My mind kept wandering. A lot of conversation about ordinary things. Characters did not interest or intrigue me. Stella likes to organize and manage things. Logan is creative and artistic with his landscaping but appears disorganized in other things. I wasn’t drawn to the relationship. The sex scenes didn’t do anything for me.
The plot surrounding the ghost was not well developed and not finished. They hired someone to go through old records to discover the story behind the ghost. He started, but the book ended before he worked on it.
The narrator Susie Breck was ok.
Genre: contemporary romance with a little paranormal
Th story is part of one of my favorite Nora Roberts trilogies. I love everything about it.
It's hard to pick a favorite. They are all equally well-developed.
I love the dinner scene near the end when Amelia reveals her madness.
I think the descriptions of Amelia's response to the loss of her baby and Stella's response to the loss of her husband both ring very true- very real.
In this book and in the other three, the narration is superb. I have never heard anyone that did accents and individual verbal characteristics so well. She is a pleasure to listen to.
Never was drawn to Nora Roberts, but Blue Dahlia tugged at my passion for dahlias and not having ever seen a blue one. The extraordinary landscape designs, the luscious nursery set up, the amazing skills of the gardeners were far more erotic than her sex scenes! (which were pretty steamy.) Oh yeah, the plot was great, the characters, spanning 3 generations, are all folks you root for (pun intended) and there's even a very unpredictable ghost in the magnificent southern ancestral home. Though I'd had two other books lined up, when Blue Dahlia was done I immediately got the next in this series, The Black Rose, because, well, there was no choice. Irrevocably hooked was I.
As talented and sweet to the ears is narrator Susie Breck, the characters, especially the men, confused me at the start. Had to re-wind over and over (actually broke down and bought the paperback). So, here's a list of the characters, that I wish I'd had, to make the first scenes more enjoyable, as this is one delicious series of books:
Setting: In The Garden Nursery at Harper House near Memphis, Tennessee
All the women are gorgeous, the men good looking and the children way beyond average.
STELLA (35ish, widow with two young sons from Minnesota - token Yankee)
ROZ Harper (45ish, matriarch of Harper household, owner/head gardener of Nursery, widow having raised three (?) boys)
HAYLEY (25ish, pregnant with no husband and thus banished from her southern home where she was raised by her father. Distant cousin of Roz)
LOGAN (Late 30's? Landscape designer and gardener, long time employee of Roz, grew up in the area)
DAVID (Late 30's, best buddy of Logan and banished from his family cause he's gay. Manages the Harper House and In The Garden Nursery, family gourmet cook and sage adviser to all.
HARPER (guess he's Harper Harper, haha, she doesn't call him by any other name in the novels. late 20's? Son of Roz, grafter/cultivator extraordinaire)
If you get those folks straight, it's all smooth sailing from there. Excellent muli-dimensional plot and terrific bits about cultivation, grafting and garden design. (Course, it doesn't sound like Tennessee has gophers. Lucky them.)
This is obviously a fantastic place to start with Nora Roberts. Humorous, inspiring female characters, educational with an intriguing mystery—how pleasantly surprised I am to find how well Roberts crafts a story AND sows a seed!
Just love it. When I finished reading it I was so bummed there wasnt more but then I had this feeling it was part of a trilogy and it is! Cant wait to dig into Black Rose.
The story and narration were very good and I look forward to book 2 of the series. This was my first Nora Roberts and I think I'm going to continue listeing. It was a little slow to start but eventually captured my attention through the end.
C O Ehren
I am a ghost story buff. This story utterly fails as a ghost story. At the risk of writing spoilers, ghost stories go through a few stages. The character experiences things that might be attributable to a ghost, but doesn't believe that they are ghost related, belief dawns, others doubt them, they convince a few confederates (or find confederates that also believe) through a variety of means, the problem or the message that the ghost is trying to communicate becomes clear, and the climax involves solving the ghost's problem and the related human problems, which gives the ghost and the people involved closure. At least, this is the western model. This story follows the western model through a few of the first steps and then just stops. The main character effectively says oh well, I got mine, I no longer care about the ghost's problems. If you are a ghost story reader, don't bother, there is no denouement for you.
There should have been a completed story arc for the ghost plot. And the romance felt pretty perfunctory. The first part of the book, mourning the loss of the husband, was so heartfelt it was hard to listen too, and then we fall into this arguing for the sake of arguing romance. The relationships between the women were more interesting than the relationship with the love interest. At one point I felt like she was just finishing to finish. Why introduce the researcher character at all? He does nothing, literally nothing, but add to the page count. It looks at one point like there are going to be romances for all three women. Did she just run out of space, time or interest in the project?
I thought the scene where she first hears the ghost singing to her boys was particularly eerie. There was so much potential here.
I would not cut any characters. Did Dickens need to cut characters? No. Dickens took his time and developed all his story lines. I would have liked to have seen all these characters developed to their full potential. Failing that, cut the researcher and have these characters do some research on their own. It would give them something to do.
Nora Roberts is a very successful writer, and I know she has tons of fans. I am sure some of her books are awesome. It is unfortunate that the one I chose to try was one she was not at her best in. I don't think I'm giving her another shot, though.
I think so. I have a separation of characters w/the narrator. I enjoy how she makes each one have their own identity. She is not just reading, she is acting.
The suspense of the ghost and build up of the characters. I added the other 2 books to my wish list, which I will get at the end of the month.
She shows the separation of characters and adds the feelings behind each one. she is skilled at identifying all their nuances. She is the reason I added the rest of the series to my wish list.
since I am still listening, all I can say is that I love listening and don't want to stop. The story is so well written that i will hate for it to end.