Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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!