Trying to escape the ghosts of the past, young widow Stella Rothchild, along with her two energetic little boys, has moved back to her roots in southern Tennessee - and into her new life at Harper House and In the Garden nursery. She isn't intimidated by the house - nor its mistress, local legend Roz Harper. Despite a reputation for being difficult, Roz has been nothing but kind to Stella, offering her a comfortable new place to live and a challenging new job as manager of the flourishing nursery.
As Stella settles comfortably into her new life, she finds a nurturing friendship with Roz and with expectant mother Hayley. And she discovers a fierce attraction with ruggedly handsome landscaper Logan Kitridge.
But someone isn't happy about the budding romance...the Harper Bride. As the women dig into the history of Harper House, they discover that grief and rage have kept the Bride's spirit alive long past her death. And now, she will do anything to destroy the passion that Logan and Stella share.
©2004 Nora Roberts; (P)2004 Brilliance Audio
"Roberts, the queen of romance, launches a new trilogy with a captivating tale in which her considerable talents at creating richly compelling characters and witty, spellbinding stories come into full bloom in a paranormal-tinged romance." (Booklist)
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.
I thought this book had a slow start. I started listening and couldn't get into it so I stopped and left it sitting in my library for months. Glad I finally went back to give it another try. If you can get past the slow start it's a decent story.
Books are the true Ambrosia of the Gods....
I love Nora Roberts. she's my all time favorite author! this story was, of course, perfect. I love how Nora writes for women who are yearning to discover themselves. I can't wait to finish this trilogy.
Susie Breck on the other hand.... not a fan. she did a great job, but her voice is so generic and almost fake. I enjoy narrators that have a flow and read the book like they are telling a story about something that happened with them that day. Brecks reads a book, and it is almost annoying. her accents are annoying to listen to sometimes especially when it came to her characterization of male characters and young characters.
A different narrator, she speaks so fast that you cannot absorb what is being said.
No I wouldn't. She is a good writer but the story was very dragged on. Since this received a large amount of good ratings and I still didn't enjoy it, I can't risk the time with another.
No. This felt as if I was listening to a soap opera, too watered down, very predictable.
The narrator, Breck, was pretty good. A complete fail with the main character, Stella. She was extremely robotic and spoke very sharply. Perhaps overdone as she was supposed to be a stiff and organized character? The character Stella quickly became annoying. Sometimes I couldn't tell if Susie Breck was narrating as the story teller or the character. The other characters she did fairly well though.
She did well on character differences and horticultural research.
Probably good for an older generation. I like much more depth and something not so plain.
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