I was asked by TLC book tours to do a book review for the novel "Hothouse Flower" by Margot Berwin. Since reading when you have kids is often hard to find time for, I was happy to have a good excuse to make time for myself to read a book. Plus, we've had lots of rain making it the perfect weather to read.
Hothouse Flower is about a thirty-two year old advertising copywriter who lives in New York City named Lila Nova. Recently divorced she seems to want to avoid anything that needs her such as pets, plants or people. Lila doesn't get much enjoyment from her career in advertising either other than her friendship with a co worker. Her life starts to change though when she is convinced to buy a tropical plant by a plant seller at a local green market. As her plant collection grows so does her interest in the man selling them, she seems to return to the market more out of interest in him than the plants. At the same time she meets another intriguing man who owns a laundromat. This is not a regular laundromat though, the floors are carpeted in moss and people come to see the unusual collection of plants hanging throughout it. Inside there is a secret room which holds the 9 plants of desire. Armand, the owner, tests Lila with things like having her try to root a finicky fire fern to see if she can handle seeing the rest of the plants. The story says that if you are in a room with the 9 plants of desire you can have anything you want. The book then follows her adventures in the Yucatan in finding the 9 plants of desire after they are stolen from the laundromat.
The main character Lila is likable enough, she seems to be searching for something to fulfill her empty life even though she claims to not want any responsibility. I think a lot of people could probably relate to someone like her. Another main character, Armand, is full of unusual stories and the meanings behind many of the plants he shows Lila. I didn't really like the way it felt that most of the male characters used Lila and her emptiness to get what they wanted.
Since my reading time is often broken up into short time periods any book that is easy to get back into after not having read it for a couple of days is a plus. This novel was definitely that type of book. There was lots of interesting information about the 9 plants of desire, as well as other tropical plants. But, I have to admit that because so much of what happens in the book is improbable I'm not sure if how much of the information on the plants is fact or if it's just there for part of the story.
It's hard for me to fairly review a book that is just not the genre I would normally read. I enjoy more realistic stories where I feel I'm learning something about a period of time or a place. This book is more far fetched in it's storyline. I'm sure this book would be appealing to many other people, in fact I read that it is being made into a movie, it just wasn't quite my style.