Review | Coming Up Roses by Rachael Lucas

Coming Up Roses by Rachael Lucas book coverA solid, entertaining second novel from Rachael Lucas.

The blurb:

Would-be gardener Daisy can’t believe her luck when her parents announce they’re off on a gap year, leaving her in charge of their garden. After a turbulent few months, a quiet spell in the country is just what she needs.

A shoulder to cry on wouldn’t go amiss either – so when Daisy comes across Elaine and Jo, she breathes a sigh of relief. But her new friends are dealing with dramas of their own . . .

As Daisy wrestles the garden into something resembling order, her feelings for handsome Irishman George, begin to take root. But Daisy’s heart’s desire – her parent’s garden – is under threat, and she is forced to confront nosey neighbours and fight greedy developers. Village life is turning out to be far from peaceful.


What I thought…

Lucas’ prose is wonderful: clear, comical, warm and (mostly) well-paced. The village setting is picturesque and welcoming but lacked the immediacy of description Lucas created in her debut work, which was set on a Scottish island. Tellingly, I felt the most vivid description in Coming Up Roses was when two of the characters went on a quick jaunt to the seaside. This makes me suspect that the author’s heart and imagination may be more at home by the coast.

While the main character – Daisy Price – is well-developed, I felt that we never really got to know any of the others. And I would have liked the chance – they are an interesting, varied cast. But perhaps this was inevitable, given that the entire book is narrated in third person from Daisy’s point of view. It would have been nice to have seen part of the story from over someone else’s shoulder, if only for them to share my exasperation at how rubbish Daisy was at answering her phone!

Finally, it is worth saying that gardening could not be more central to this novel. The main character is a gardener, many key events occur in gardens, and some plot points hinge on the fate of a garden. I must confess, gardening isn’t my thing. However, my mum is a keen gardener. I think I’ll get her a copy of Coming Up Roses for her birthday. And what better recommendation is there than that?

 Claire Huston / Art and Soul
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