|Image via Barnes & Noble|
Summary: Stella is a single mother of two active and adorable boys. After the tragic and unexpected death of her husband, she finds herself at a loss and looking for a fresh start. She decides to move back home to Tennessee and sets up an interview to manage a local garden center, In the Garden. The interview with the owner, the formidable Rosalind Harper, goes well and soon Stella finds herself and her two boys moving into Rosalind's estate, Harper House. Stella jumps head first into her job and soon finds herself pitted against In the Garden's hunky and grumpy landscape designer. Soon Stella finds herself not only learning a new job in a new city, but working on a decades old murder mystery and falling in love.
My Thoughts: I would like this book for the throwback 2004 references alone, but there's more to like about this book than Britney references and early 2000s slang. (Although they are glorious.)
What I liked most about this story, and what I feel is a running theme throughout Robert's work, is the the sense of contentedness about the characters. The main characters like their jobs, love their families and are just overall happy with life.
Of course, they never start out that way. Blue Dahlia in particular starts out with an average woman (finally!) just trying to keep it together after a horrible tragedy. She has bills and kids and struggles a bit trying to figure out the best and right thing to do for her family. I can relate to that, and think many other people can as well. The reader roots for Stella, so when the hunky and grumpy Logan peaks Stella's romantic interest, you root for her. And you know Stella can handle Logan, because hello, she can handle her job and her kids and still have time to take her dog Parker out on a walk.
Of course, then Stella finds her dream job to which she is passionate and well suited, with an awesome and understanding boss, gets to live in an (albeit haunted) awesomely historical and grand house with a great commute, reliable child care and someone to cook all her meals, all the while falling desperately in love with a big ole' hunk of man with a steady paycheck and his own place. And if you're like me, you feel a tiny bit irritated that Stella has great skin, a collection of designer shoes and doesn't have to sit in rush hour.
But maybe that's just me.
Rating: This was a good book, and a perfect read for spring time. It got me excited about yard work for a good hour, until I realized how much I dislike bugs and dirt.
Also Read By: I've read almost all of Robert's catalog, which you can find at her website. You can check my other reviews on Robert's books by searching for Nora Roberts in the quick search on the right hand side of the page, or by clicking individual links here: Shadow Spell | Dark Witch | Thankless in Death | Concealed in Death | The Collector | Blood Magick
Reviewed By: Tami