Book: A Flower for the Queen by Caroline Vermalle and Ryan von Ruben
Genre: Historical novel
Publisher: Bastei Entertainment
Publication date: 2014
Source: E-book provided by authors’ publicist
Summary: Young Francis Masson, an undergardener at Kew, through a series of unfortunate events, is tapped to journey to South Africa. His mission: re-find a flower that Sir Joseph Banks wants to name for the Queen.
Thoughts: Since I reviewed Nelson Mandela’s autobiography yesterday, I thought I would stay with the South Africa theme and review A Flower for the Queen today which is mostly set in that country.
I have a fondness for novels about botanical exploration. About this time last year, I was reading The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert, one of my favorite books of 2013. A Flower for the Queen doesn’t reach that level, nor does it try. Instead, it’s an exciting adventure story with wily villains, a lion or two, and a romantic interest.
I knew I was in good hands, botanically, in Chapter 3. We’re in the framing story that happens during a winter storm in Canada. Mr. Masson has been rescued from the snow. While recovering over a cup of tea, he says “I was looking for flowers, witch hazel to be precise.” (p. 18) My husband, Rick, made a study of witch hazel a few years ago. That’s the flower on the North American continent that you go searching for in the winter. I’ve done it myself, but only in the wilds of the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Appeal: This will appeal when you’re in the mood for an exotic 18th century adventure.
Have you read this book? What did you think?