St Martin’s Press, $5.99, ISBN 0-312-97505-8
Historical Romance, 2000
Delia Parr’s The Promise of Flowers will appeal to those looking for a damsel in utter, dire, absolute distress fantasy. As problems and problems pile upon our passive heroine’s life, and as she weeps and weeps and weeps, chances are other readers more okay to this sort of thing will find this poetically-titled novel more enjoyable.
Me, I really feel numb from all the tears and misery.
To call Violet Dunn a sad woman is surely an understatement. Her father is so evil that he must be read to be believed. Her sister is “fragile”, so Violet feels responsible for her. When her father plots to usurp the trust fund of the Dunn (even the name sounds miserable) sisters by having them declared mad and committed in an asylum, Violet cries, cries, cries, then finally begs Sam Glennings, his father’s rival, for aid.
Meanwhile, Sam isn’t very happy either. His company is a front for illegal activities, he realizes, and he has a bad past where murder and guilt, guilt, and more guilt lurks.
Charles plots, Sam seethes, and Violet weeps and blames herself for every catastrophe that befalls her, Sam, or the starving kiddies of Ethiopia. Okay, I made up the last one, but I’m sure if she knows about them, she’ll find a reason to blame herself for their hunger too. Violet is a woman who, for her own sake, must never be allowed to watch the evening news or read the paper, or she may just kill herself out of guilt.
Hmm, maybe Charles has a point in locking the Dunn sisters in an asylum.
Either way, I can’t say I care too much for this book. Love seems like an act of mercy, especially when Sam and Violet just won’t play dirty even when the odds are staked against them. Fans of weepy, epic melodrama where the noble main hero manfully receives all the daggers life throws his way in martyred resignation and where the heroine weeps and weeps until she falls into a merciful swoon, well, these fans will have a greater time than me.