Elly in Bloom by Colleen Oakes {Jenna’s Review}

Posted 18 November, 2013 by Jenna / 10 Comments

Elly in Bloom by Colleen Oakes {Jenna’s Review}Elly in Bloom by Colleen Oakes
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 402
Format: eBook

What would you do if you had to design your lover’s wedding?

Surrounded by lush flowers and neurotic brides, chubby 32-year old Elly Jordan has carved out a sweet little life for herself as the owner of Posies, a boutique wedding florist in St. Louis. It’s not bad for a woman who drove away from her entire life just two years ago when she found her husband entwined with a red-headed artist.

Sure, Elly has an embarrassingly beautiful best friend, a terribly behaved sheepdog and a sarcastic assistant who she simply calls “Snarky Teenager”, but overall her days are pleasantly uneventful. As a bonus, her new next door neighbor just happens to be an unnervingly handsome musician who has an eye for curvy Elly.

Just when she feels that she is finally moving on from her past, she discovers that an extravagant wedding contract, one that could change her financial future, is more than she bargained for.

With the help of her friends, staff and the occasional well-made sandwich, Elly bravely agrees to take on the event that threatens to merge her painful history with her bright new life, and finds herself blooming in a direction she never imagined.

Elly’s voice, both charming and hilarious, will appeal to those readers who have been looking for a new voice in chick-lit, and will give women of all sizes the realistic heroine they’ve been waiting for.

A heartfelt and hilarious debut novel.

My Thoughts on Elly in Bloom

I absolutely adored this book. I had picked it up as a free e-book a long while back and, because this purchase pre-dated my entrance into the world of smart-phone-ownership, it just sort of sat there. Now, I’m kicking myself for having waited so long to read Colleen Oakes’ debut novel. (And for waiting so long to get a smart phone, but, that’s a different story.)

Elly Jordan has picked up and left her life in Georgia behind after finding her artist husband, Aaron, in bed with another woman. Packing up her possessions and just driving, she finds herself in Clayton, Missouri, spilling her guts to a complete stranger in a cafe. That moment, in that cafe, is where Elly’s life — and story — really begin.

As a character, Elly is refreshing and endearing. I found myself wishing on several occasions that she were a real person whom I could go track down and become friends with. She’s the owner of Posies, a flower shop in Clayton, and I basked in the descriptions of the flowers and arrangements that are included in the novel. I found myself using Google many times to get a visual reference for the specific kind of flower the author described and wishing (for the umpteenth time) that I had a comprehensive pictorial flower dictionary in my possession. (Also that I could up and leave my job and work as a floral designer.)

I love, love, love that Elly is described as plus size — a size 16, in fact. And I love that she doesn’t change her size throughout the story. So many authors want to give readers a plus size character who, through the magical redemptive power of love, sheds the excess weight and lives the rest of her life happy, loved, and thin. THANK YOU, Colleen Oaks, for not doing that. Thank you for writing a love story that shows that plus size women can be entrepreneurial, funny, witty, talented, and loved for who they are, as they are.

On several occasions, I found myself laughing out loud at the scenarios that Elly finds herself faced with: accidentally sitting in a chocolate fountain, getting lost in a winery’s cellar, and constantly having to thwart her handsome musician boyfriend from groping her. I loved every scene and felt so connected to all of the characters – especially Elly. I can’t wait to see how her story continues in the promised and forthcoming Elly in Love!

Girl with Book Lungs


Filed under: Comedy, Contemporary, ESR: 9, Review: Jenna, ,


10 Responses to “Elly in Bloom by Colleen Oakes {Jenna’s Review}”

  1. Ellie sounds like my kind of girl! Not just because she’s sturdy (and remains so…good for her and the author for no miracle weight-loss) but because she sounds like someone I could hang out with and laugh with.

  2. “So many authors want to give readers a plus size character who, through the magical redemptive power of love, sheds the excess weight and lives the rest of her life happy, loved, and thin.”

    YES! Exactly! It makes me giddy to know that doesn’t happen in this book Jenna! That alone makes me want to read this one, not to mention the gorgeous cover and your high rating. Love those books I read and then want to smack myself in the face for waiting so long to pick them up, they’re always the best:)

  3. Um, thanks for the absolutely gorgeous and week-making review! I feel the exact same way about books that have a plus-size woman losing weight and THEN finding love. I wanted a woman who never once even tiptoed near a diet to find the man (men, really) of her dreams. Thank you so much for reading!

    • Oh my goodness! I just had a little moment of a happy, happy dance seeing that my little blog post book review got a comment from the lovely and talented author herself! How exciting!

      Okay, that said, it was entirely my pleasure to read and review – I can’t wait for more of Elly’s adventures!

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