The Flower Reader

The Flower Reader - Elizabeth Loupas I really liked this book. I am so impressed by the historical fiction that is being written these days. Pretty much every book is well-written and captivating and The Flower Reader is definitely up there with them.This is the first novel I have read which features Mary, Queen of Scots. I was not overly fond of her in this book. I realize that this is an author's portrayal of her and may not be entirely factual, but Loupas is so good with her character development, I'm quite convinced that Mary may very well have been this sort of person. Of course, royal personages were often impertinent due to their social standing, especially female rulers who always had to stay a step ahead of the men who would try to place them under their thumbs. The behavior might very well have been a front to conceal weakness. All this being said, I am very interested in reading more fiction featuring Mary in the future.The main focus of the story is Marina Leslie of Granmuir, called by her nickname, Rinette. Rinette was raised by Queen Mary's mother, Mary of Guise, and this fact leads to a rivalry between Mary and Rinette which manifests in Mary's ill treatment of Rinette after her mother's death. Mary of Guise entrusted a precious object meant for her daughter only to Rinette and it is this action that is the center of the story. There is much intrigue surrounding this object and Rinette is caught in the middle of it all. After her husband is murdered, she is determined to find out who murdered him and to also hold on to her precious Granmuir. Rinette is a strong woman who goes after what she wants and uses the object as a bargaining chip to that end. Rinette is also a flower reader. She can read 'prophecies' in the flowers. This adds another interesting element to her character. Is she really reading fortunes in the flowers or is it just her subconscious speaking to her? At one point, she even questions this herself."I was never entirely sure whether what I heard was truly the flowers, or just my own secret thoughts and hopes and fears rising up out of my heart when I stilled myself to listen."The Flower Reader is rich storytelling and its characters are real and interesting. The historical details were obviously meticulously researched. Throw in some intrigue and scandal and we have a book that will appeal to all readers, not only fans of historical fiction. I look forward to future offerings from Ms. Loupas.