The Little Flower Shop by the Sea by Ali McNamara

Title - The Little Flower Shop by the Sea
Author - Ali McNamara 
Publication Date - July 30th 2015
Publisher - Sphere
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided via NetGalley)
Pages - 400

The blossom is out in the little Cornish harbour town of St Felix

But Poppy Carmichael's spirits aren't lifted by the pretty West Country spring. Inheriting her grandmother's flower shop has forced her to return to Cornwall, a place holds too many memories.

Poppy is determined to do her best for the sake of her adored grandmother, but she struggles with the responsibility of the more-shabby-than-chic shop. And with the added complication of Jake, the gruff but gorgeous local flower grower, Poppy is very tempted to run away...

The pretty little town has a few surprises in store for Poppy. With new friends to help her and romance blooming, it's time for Poppy to open her heart to St Felix and to the magic of a little flower shop by the sea!

First of all, I just have to comment on the sheer gorgeousness that is Ali McNamara's cover for The Little Flower Shop by the Sea. It reminds of a watercolour painting that you'd pass by and, seconds after, have to return to in order to admire some more. It really is beautiful and paints the most perfect, picturesque image of St Felix, the Cornish harbour town in which this novel is set. The cover caught my eye immediately, swiftly followed by the enchantment of such a whimsical title, and once I'd read the blurb, I couldn't wait to begin. It sounded like I was in for a real treat with The Little Flower Shop by the Sea and that's exactly what this turned out to be. So much warmth, so much heart and emotion. It was a wonderful read, so much so that I wanted nothing more than to step inside and linger at Poppy's side for a while, just to breathe in that fresh, St Felix air for myself.

I've always been rather fascinated by England's magnificent coastlines. No, they're not tropical paradises prodded with palm trees and exotic blooms, but they're stunning in their very own right. Ali McNamara chose such a fitting setting for Poppy's story to unravel in, especially considering the emphasis on numerous blooms and natural beauty which St Felix had in abundance. Ali's descriptions of St Felix brought the setting beautifully to life for me as a reader. I was able to imagine it all in my mind clear as day, the narrow streets, the boats bobbing on the water down in the harbour, the smells and sounds. The author touched upon each and every one of my senses, whisking me right away to Poppy's side as she stood outside of her grandmother's flower shop as the novel began. With such pleasing descriptions and an obvious hesitancy in Poppy, leading to a need to understand why she was feeling that way, I really couldn't wait for the plot to truly open up and reveal itself to me.

I was very curious about Poppy from the moment the author introduced her to me. As the novel begins, Poppy arrives in St Felix and finds herself outside of The Daisy Chain, the flower shop which was previously owned by her grandmother before she sadly passed away. Surprisingly to Poppy, her grandmother chose to leave the flower shop in Poppy's hands, despite Poppy having never shown an interest in her family's long line of working in the flower business. Even having been named after a flower, Poppy has a dislike for flowers that runs deep through her veins, for reasons kept unknown to the reader until much later on into the novel. I was intrigued to see how this situation would play out. I mean, if you don't like flowers, working in a shop based solely on that very thing probably wasn't the best of ideas. The author ensured that the reader was aware of something bubbling just beneath Poppy's surface. There were mentions of Poppy feeling uncomfortable, wary, nervous... She was obviously hesitant about even stepping inside the shop, a shop rammed to the rafters with memories that she wasn't certain she was ready to revisit. There was a deliciously mysterious edge to Poppy that had me wanting to know more about her background and past. Something had happened before that moment, something tragic, and due to my eagerness to find out what that something was, I raced through this novel.

While Poppy deals with her issues, life continues in St Felix around her. It was beautiful, watching how Poppy swallowed down her reservations and took on the shop despite her worries and troubles. It was almost as if the town of St Felix worked its magic on her from the moment she arrived and gradually began to bring her back to life. Ali McNamara added so much warmth and magic into the plot, I was utterly enchanted by what was revealed to me. At the beginning of each chapter, there would be a specific flower present, and then the meaning of that flower would follow. It was a lesson in itself, and such a charming way of continuing with Poppy's story. This emphasis on blooms and meanings held me completely captive and I couldn't wait to see what else was in store for me as Poppy began to meet and engage with secondary characters throughout the novel. I loved being introduced to each and every one of them and watching as each character's life became entangled with another. I took a particular liking to Jake, who supplied The Daisy Chain with its blooms. It became clear that Poppy wasn't the only one trying to come to terms with her past, and I couldn't help but to see Jake and Poppy as kindred spirits. They needed each other more than they realised, and I felt like I was holding my breath as I watched the friendship blossoming between them. There were so many wonderfully engaging characters for me to enjoy within this novel, all bringing their own excitement and colour to the plot, reeling me in even further while doing so. It was a complete pleasure to lose myself within St Felix and all of the beautiful things that it had to offer. It was warm, comforting, and the perfect place for anyone to escape to.

The Little Flower Shop by the Sea was an utterly delightful novel written from the heart and overflowing with emotion and warmth and all of those things that somehow seem to comfort and hold you while reading. It was beautiful in the way it was written, in the way it was told and in the way the characters developed from beginning to end. With such a charming setting and a gorgeously evocative emphasis on nature and how it can heal, this was a wonderful read by Ali McNamara.

Becca's Books is awarding The Little Flower Shop by the Sea by Ali McNamara with four gorgeous cupcakes! I've not yet read much by this author, but I know I have a few paperbacks hidden in my to-read pile somewhere which I'm now eager to hurry towards! This was the perfect novel for me to curl up with as I watched the rain lashing the windows and the grey clouds roll by overhead. I was transported to St Felix, and left all of my own troubles way behind as I danced along the harbour. It was fantastic.  

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