Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Blog Tour and Review: The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas


First line: I hated the queen, hated her down to the deepest marrow of my bones.

From the back cover: With her dying breath, the queen regent of Scotland entrusts a silver casket to half-Scots, half-French seventeen-year-old Rinette Leslie of Granmuir, who possesses the ancient gift of using flowers to divine the future. Inside the casket, and meant only for young Mary, Queen of Scots, are the darkest secrets of every Scottish lord and explosive private prophecies prepared by Nostradamus himself. Rinette risks her life to keep the casket safe, but she makes one 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 someone 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: This is the first book by Elizabeth Loupas I've read and I really enjoyed it. The Flower Reader is set in Scotland during the mid-16th century. What's interesting to note is that most of the main characters are all fictional and I loved how Elizabeth Loupas included a list of characters right in the beginning of the book, indicating which ones are fictional and which were not - very clever!

The Flower Reader is a historical mystery surrounding the court of  Mary, Queen of Scots' early years as ruler, bringing to light the power play between the young queen and her various advisors. It is also about Rinette's quest to find justice for her husband's murder. Along the way, she realizes that all is not what it appeared to be when it comes to friends and allies.  She is a strong, determined character and while not easily knocked down, does not always come out on top. The intrigue of Nostradamus' predictions and the missing silver casket make you question everyone's motives as suspicious, causing you to keep on reading to find out not only where the casket disappeared to but what the predictions are as well.

While at first, the ability to read flowers might seem strange, it worked well within this plot. Rinette can read the future from flowers and sees flowers and their associated personality traits when she looks at someone. She uses this gift to determine who she can trust and who should be avoided. It is this gift that intrigued me enough to want to read this story and I am so glad I did. Elizabeth Loupas does not force this supernatural gift on the readers, but rather intimates it is a gift very similar to just being able to read people.

I will definitely be picking up Elizabeth Loupas's other novel, The Second Duchess, as I enjoyed her writing style in The Flower Reader. It is very clear that a lot of research and details went into the creation of this book. 

How do you feel about lists of characters included in books? Does it help or hinder in your reading?


About the author: 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.

For more information on Elizabeth Loupas and her novels, please visit her WEBSITE.  You can also find her on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.


Also, be sure to check out all the other stops on the blog tour and follow the tour on Twitter (hashtag: #FlowerReaderVirtualTour)

I received a complimentary copy of The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas from Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

8 comments:

  1. It was so thoughtful of the author to leave a list of characters specifying who is fictional and who is not.I had to google it to find out, while reading many books, history has never been my strong suit. :)

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    1. I tend to like character lists and loved that this one included who was fictional and who was real.

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  2. I'm looking forward to being on this blog tour and sharing my thoughts!

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    1. I'll be sure to stop by when you post your review!

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  3. Lovely review! This historical mystery sounds quite enticing.

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    1. It was good - a different kind of historical fiction than I've read before.

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  4. Kristin, thank you so much for this lovely and thoughtful review. The character list has been a bit controversial, it turns out.. it's hard to create a complete character list without including some spoilers. But with the "cast of thousands" in this book, I kind of needed a list myself to keep track of them all! :)

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    1. I found the character list to be very helpful. I haven't read too much about the Scottish Royal Court, so while some of the characters were familiar - Catherine de Medicis, Elizabeth Tudor, Mary, Queen of Scots - it was nice to be able to see who was who and the connection they had to the main characters.

      Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog and comment - I'm thrilled!!! I love when authors stop by!

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