Since Spring is right around the corner, I figured it was time to share a flower-related book list. To be fair, the idea wasn’t mine (thank you for suggesting it, Elise!), but I loved it so much I had to write it right away. I know it’s pretty impossible to feature everyone’s favorite flowers, but hopefully, you’ll find some you like amongst the ten species I selected. As for the books, they’re all new releases – some are already available at the bookstores, while others will be out in a couple of days. I hope you love reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it – and, if by any chance I managed to get your book right, let me know on bookstagram or in the comments below!
The flower: Peonies are fragrant flowers that only bloom for a short period of time, but they can actually live for 100 years or more, surviving extreme weather conditions and thriving even if they’re completely forgotten. For the peony lover, I had to pick a strong heroine and a love story that stands the test of time.
The book: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is a contemporary romance about a woman whose husband dies in a car accident on her twenty-eighth birthday. When she finally starts moving on and looking for love again, life gives her a chance to go back in time and experience an alternative reality where none of the tragic events of the past few months have happened. Suddenly, she’s living two separate lives: one with her husband, the other with a new person who loves her as well.
Sunflowers: The Jetsetters, by Amanda Eyre Ward
The flower: Sunflowers are bright-colored, smile-inducing flowers that stand tall while following the movement of the sun across the sky. Someone who loves sunflowers is probably energetic, bubbly, and always looking on the bright side of every situation. For this book, I looked for a similar protagonist: someone with lots of life, a love for all things fun and a positive disposition.
The book: The Jetsetters is a contemporary book that tells the story of Charlotte Perkins, a seventy-year-old lady who dreams of reuniting her four estranged children. When she suddenly wins a cruise on a contest, the family has to pack all their baggage and spend ten days together, traveling around Europe. While lovers join the adventure and long-buried secrets are revealed, the Perkins are forced to confront their choices and look for a way to finally find peace.
The flower: Roses are usually associated with romance, but they can represent a lot more than that. Being extremely delicate flowers that bruise easily, their thorns are the only protection mechanism they get. For a rose lover, I wanted to find a book with sensitive characters who have built walls to shield themselves from the world (or each other).
The book: The Moonglow Sisters tells the story of Maddie, Shelley and Gia, three sisters who were brought up by their grandmother at the Moonglow Inn, in Texas. As children, they were inseparable, but then a wedding-day betrayal tore them apart, scattered across the globe. When they finally come home for Gia’s impending wedding, they finally get a chance to reconnect.
Cherry Blossoms: The Honey-Don’t List, by Christina Lauren
The flower: Not a flower in the traditional sense but loved by people around the globe, cherry blossoms symbolize spring and renewal, since their own life is so fleeting. They represent love, femininity and sexuality, joy and passion, which is why I had to pick a fun, romantic read to match.
The book: The Honey-Don’t List is Christina Lauren’s most recent book, and the perfect spring romance. It tells the story of Carey Douglas, who has worked for celebrity design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. When she is forced to tag along on the couple’s book tour to keep them from killing each other, she is joined by James McCann, originally hired as an engineer. They have no choice but to go and keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and that’s when their own relationship starts – pardon the pun – to bloom.
Tulips: Untamed, by Glennon Doyle
The flower: Rain or shine, the tulip blooms. They’re colorful, bright flowers that go with the flow and follow the sun, but don’t let weather adversities steal their beautiful colors. For this flower, you guessed it: I wanted a book written by someone who has gone through a lot, untamed and unfazed.
The book: Untamed is the new memoir of Glennon Doyle, an author, activist and humanitarian, wife and mother of three, who instantly fell in love with a woman while she was speaking at a conference four years ago. When she thought “There she is”, Glennon realized this was the first time she was hearing her own voice – a voice silenced by decades of cultural conditioning. Untamed is a memoir and a wake-up call, an examination of the expectations women are issued from birth, and an account of what happens when we finally become the women we were always meant to be.
Poppies: Writers & Lovers, by Lily King
The flower: Poppies are colorful, vibrant and wild. They’re also incredibly powerful: some species are used to make medicinal opium, while others are used for cooking oils, paints, and even cosmetics. Someone who loves poppies is probably very artistic, bold, but also sensitive and insightful. Which might be a good way to describe the following book.
The book: The portrait of an artist as a young woman, Writers & Lovers tells the story of Casey Peabody, a thirty-one-year-old woman who’s been blindsided by her monther’s sudden death and wrecked by a recent love affair. Still determined to live a creative life, she waits tables in Harvard Square and rents a tiny room while working on a novel she’s been writing for six years. When she falls for two different men at the same time, her fight to fulfill her creative ambitions and balance art and life is challenged in ways that push her to the brink.
Orchids: The Herd, by Andrea Bartz
The flower: Mysterious and sophisticated, orchids are demanding plants that will only share their beauty when their needs are met. Their exotic, seductive look is a reflection of the types of personalities who like them: they love luxury, beautiful things, and can be very charming and distant at the same time. For the orchid, I knew I wanted an exciting thriller.
The book: The Herd is the name of an elite, women-only coworking space that in-the-know New Yorkers crawl over each other to apply to. Among the applicants is Katie Bradley, who’s just returned from the Midwest and is lucky enough to have a sister who is best friends with The Herd’s charismatic founder, Eleanor Walsh. Katie hopes to write her next book about Eleanor’s very private life, but on the night of the Herd news conference, the founder vanishes without a trace. When the police suggest foul play and everyone becomes a suspect, Katie joins forces with her sister to chase the story of her life – and find out who made Eleanor disappear.
The flower: Lilies exist in many colors, and are beautiful all year-round. They’re vibrant, versatile, and are always reaching for the sun. Lily lovers like to inspire and uplift others, so I had to pick a self-help book for this flower.
The Book: Don’t Overthink It is a book full of actionable strategies to help us when we’re suddenly paralyzed by the fear of making the wrong decision. Living a life of constant overthinking can be a problem, and there’s a way to overcome negative thought patterns that are unhealthy and unhelpful, and replace them with a positive mindset that brings us peace and joy. From small questions to big ones, this book offers a framework for making choices we’re comfortable with, using an appropriate amount of energy and freeing us to focus on all the other stuff that matters in life.
The flower: Daisies symbolize innocence and purity, childbirth, motherhood and transformation. Their petals close at night and reopen during the day, as if they woke up and went back to sleep every night. For this flower, I wanted a book that captured childhood and innocence, even if tainted by a much darker side.
The book: My Dark Vanessa is an eye-opening book that explores the dynamics of a relationship between a teenage girl and her much older teacher. Juxtaposing past and present, the story is told through Vanessa’s perspective as time goes by until a decade later when, as an adult, she still feels attached to that relationship and the trauma from her past. It’s a story of abuse, manipulation, and toxic relationships that you won’t be able to forget any time soon.
Hydrangeas: Valentine, by Elizabeth Wetmore
The flower: Hydrangeas are beautiful flowers that are never alone; they’re usually found in big groups, since they offer strength and support to more fragile flowers in the garden. They also symbolize gratitude and have been traditionally used as an offer to someone one wants to apologize to. For this final flower, I looked for a book that told a story of community, hope and forgiveness.
The book: Valentine is a work of historical fiction that tells the story of fourteen-year-old Gloria Ramírez, who, in the early hours of the morning after Valentine’s Day in 1976, appears on the front porch of a ranch house, broken and barely alive. The teenager had been attacked in a nearby oil field, but the act of brutality is tried in the churches and barrooms of Odessa, Texas before it can reach a court of law. Valentine explores the intersections of violence and race, class and region, yet still offers a window into beauty and hope. It’s a novel that illuminates women’s stregth and vulnerability, and reminds us that it is the stories we tell ourselves that keep us alive.