Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Review: As Love Blooms

As Love Blooms
By Lorna Seilstad
The Gregory Sisters, #3
Revell, 2015


Young romance opens like a rose . . . but even a rose has its thorns.

Tessa Gregory is nothing if not tenacious. Denied a position as a horticulturist at prestigious Como Park in Saint Paul, Minnesota, she is not above a little benevolent deception in order to get the park superintendent to change his mind and hire her. She plans to infiltrate the world of wealthy and influential people in hopes of drumming up financial support for a world-class conservatory. But before she can put those plans into action, she meets Reese King, a handsome gardener at Como Park--and a major distraction. Still, Reese might be the key to achieving her dream. But is his goal to help her . . . or to capture her heart?

Against the lush backdrop of manicured gardens and greenhouses full of the exotic, Lorna Seilstad weaves a sweet and sassy story that is sure to delight.

My thoughts

I am glad to have discovered the writing of Lorna Seilstad and have thoroughly enjoyed the Gregory sisters. As Love Blooms concludes the series with the youngest sister's story, Tessa - and can I just say how appealing the cover is! It beautifully captures the essence of Tessa - her mischievousness, charm, wit, inner beauty, and sense of style. Although the characters overlap throughout the series, each book can stand alone.

The series features three engaging sisters who have promised to be there for each other after the death of their parents, helping each other achieve their dreams. They also have strong wills and are desirous of entering professions not usually open to women in the year of 1913 - Hannah, a lawyer; Charlotte, a chef; and Tessa, landscape design. Even their Aunt Samantha, a favorite character of mine, is actively involved in the suffrage movement. As Love Blooms lacked that certain "something" that makes for an exciting read, but I still enjoyed it overall.

Como Park Conservatory
Lorna brings in a lot of historical detail and anyone familiar with the Saint Paul, Minnesota area will enjoy the mentioning of several local scenes, including the beautiful Como Park where Tessa and Reese work. I enjoyed the garden design theme and especially all the behind-the-scene workings in preparation for the beautiful Como Park Conservatory.

Lorna infuses her writing with a gentle humor and rich characterization. Tessa is so energetic and funny, determined to prove that she is finally serious about her career. She was a dreamer who had "already passed through the journalist, photographer, librarian, and Pinkerton agent phases" and was now series about being a horticulturist. And when it came to relationships, she found playacting easier than fitting in with those around her. With his serious, humble, and protective nature, Reese was easy to like from the beginning. They complimented each other - and together, they made an unbeatable team.

I especially appreciated how Lorna connected the gardening/nature theme with everyday faith - from the importance of being rooted in Christ, to the realization that faith the size of a mustard seed is all it takes for God to work in His incredible ways. Both Tessa and Reese also learned a lesson that many of us can relate to - that faith is misplaced when we try to please or put our trust in a human being rather than God.

As Love Blooms is an enjoyable conclusion to The Gregory Sisters series and I look forward to more from Lorna Seilstad. I especially enjoyed book #2, While Love Stirs (click on title to see my review).


A history buff, antique collector, and freelance graphic designer, Lorna Seilstad is the author of When Love Calls and the Lake Manawa Summers series. A former high school English and journalism teacher, she has won several online writing contests and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Lorna lives in Iowa with her husband.

Connect with Lorna online at lornaseilstad.com and Facebook.

Thank you to Revell for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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