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Abandoned by Booklikes

Government drone by day and book lover and geek girl by night!

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In the Garden: Great First Book

Blue Dahlia - Nora Roberts

Nothing really to say except that I love this series. After trying to start the inn series by Nora Roberts, I ended up seeing so many similarities to "In the Garden" that I happily DNFed the first book in the inn series and decided to re-read this one.

I love gardening and the outdoors so this series was always fun to me. We have some romance and some characters that I actually enjoyed enough to revisit through three books.

 

"Blue Dahlia" is the first book in the series and follows single mother and widow Stella. I actually enjoyed how Roberts sets this book up. When the book begins we have Stella enjoying her life with her husband Kevin and their two boys who she loves, but who drive her up the wall at times. When an accident occurs leaving Stella widowed she honestly doesn't know what she's going to do. The book moves on a few years later, and Stella has relocated to Tennessee to be near her father and her stepmother. She wants to settle down in a new place that doesn't remind her of her former live and give her boys something strong to latch onto. She goes and works for Roz Harper in her home and takes over as manager running her "In the Garden" nursery that is onsite. Throw in a ghost and a romance she was not looking for, and "Blue Dahlia" may satisfy your need for a romance with a light mystery.

 

Stella's love interest in this, Logan, is a bit much. I honestly at first found him annoying. Him finding Stella rigid because she likes things organized and wants items inputted into a spreadsheet (oh the horror! The horror!) made me want to brain him. But, he does grow on me. I think I liked it because you get to see Stella not change the way she's made up to fit Logan, but you do see Logan adjust more for her. Which I loved. Most romances this days seem to be about uptight women who just need a man to remind her to let her hair down. I liked that Stella thought first and foremost about her sons and how any changes she makes in her romantic life would impact them. And I loved that there were honest conversations about her first marriage (Stella was happy and her husband loved her and vice versa). Thank goodness where was no third hour retconning of their marrirage to make any love she had with Logan be the best thing ever. And thank goodness that Logan gets it (about Stella's marriage) and being an adult about that (looking your way Virgin River book #1).

 

Due to the first book having to lay a lot of ground work we do move around to other perspectives. We get Roz's, her son Harper's and Roz's cousin Hayley included in this first book. It is pretty easy to see who the other couples will be in this series. And besides Hayley, I enjoyed everyone. I always found Hayley's whole backstory to be a bit much and I actually kind of loathed what she did and why. I probably will skip re-reading "Red Lily" this time through cause I recall going eh okay when I read it years ago.

 

The main part of the book is full of Stella getting used to Roz's business, but also the three women and some of the men trying to find out what they can about Roz's ghost, called the Harper Bride. I kind of shrugged about Stella and Hayley wanting to investigate the ghost more until you get towards the middle and end of the book and realize that the ghost is at times dangerous to be around and the whole family wants to put the spirit to rest.

 

Can I say that Roz is my favorite character though? She really is. I loved that this woman had a lot to deal with (she's also a widow and she raised three boys) and then when she gets older marries a POS man and manages to rebuild again.

The book makes for a relaxing day at the beach or sitting in your garden if you have time.