[Review] Hothouse Flower by Lucinda Riley

Title: Hothouse Flower
Author: Lucinda Riley
Genre: Contemporary/Historical Fiction
Subject: Family Secrets, World War II (1939 - 1945)
Page: 577 pages
First Published: 2011

Hothouse Flower opens with a short fable about a Prince of Siam, his Princess and the mythical flower known to the kingdom as the Black Orchid.

“It is said in Siam, that when a man falls in love with a woman – deeply, passionately, irrevocably – he will be capable of doing anything to keep her, please her, to make her value him above all others.”

The story then progresses to the present day where we see the protagonist, a renowned concert pianist named Julia Forrester, after a devastating family tragedy, seeks solace at her childhood town in Norfolk, England. There, she revisited Wharton Park where as a child she used to linger around the hothouse where her grandfather served as a gardener to the Crawford family.

Until during a renovation work, a sixty-year-old diary was found hidden under the floorboards of the Quad where Julia’s grandparents and mother used to live many years ago. Julia then turns to her grandmother to hear the truth that alters everything that she had known all these years.

I have not felt this way about a novel for the longest time. And as the story brings us back to war-torn England, Singapore, and Thailand during the Second World War, I was so taken in by the story that it proves no problem to me imagining certain scenes and I even am able to put a face to the characters. I especially like the chapter about the exotic Bangkok and enjoyed that little twists towards the end (though, one or two were quite predictable).

It’s a well-crafted, thought-provoking, heart-rending story – I did shed a few tears at one point – and I’m glad that I found this book. It is a story about love and many more – issues about class, social change, identity, family, responsibility, trust, friendship, grief and ultimately how a person after accepting their past, embraces the future with renewed hope.

This book undoubtedly receives five stars from me and I’m sure the story will stay with me for quite a while.


I haven't read a book that I loved like you loved this one for too long. This one has gone on my wishlist.
Julie said…
This sounds like a wonderful story; any book that can bring tears forth is usually worth reading! Thanks for the review!
BLHmistress said…
I hadn't heard of this book either aw I so love that teaser if only that happened in real life 'sigh'

Teaser Tuesday
I wonder if that's true. I think it is!

Here's the link to our teasers (and a giveaway) if you have a chance to stop by: http://shouldbereading.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/teaser-tuesdays-feb-1/