Friday, April 26, 2013

Hothouse Flower by Lucinda Riley

Paperback: 579 pages
Genre: Historical Romantic Fiction
Publisher:  Penguin 2011

Source:  Tywyn Library, Wales.
First Sentence: It is said in Siam, that when a man falls in love with a woman - deeply, passionately, irrevocably - he will be capable of doing anything to keep her, please her, to make her value him above all other.

Review Quote:'This début novel is a real saga, describing the secret history of an ancient Norfolk stately home..' Richard and Judy
 My Opinion:  Certainly one of the best family sagas of the genre that I have read recently.

NB: This novel was republished in 2012 with a different title The Orchid House

It is worth noting that Hothouse Flower was republished in 2012 with the title of The Orchid House just so that any confusion with readers thinking it might be a different story, when this is not the case are cleared up straight away.  Although the central theme of a family saga set in a country house spanning from the 1930's to the present day is far from an original one, this one is different. It has such a multi layered story to tell us with so many stirring and compelling love stories, secrets and surprises to share I stayed awake far too late at night reading this as I was engrossed. Extremely well written the story flows beautifully, period and locations  are credibly described and the characters feel realistic. The situations that they face are ones that we are all able to empathise with from generation to generation. Certainly one of the best family sagas of the genre that I have read recently.

At the centre of the story is the female protagonist Julia Wharton who growing up had spent many happy hours in the heated greenhouses of the Wharton Park estate where her grandfather tended the orchids. It seems only natural therefore for her to return to the area when she needs to recover from a devastating personal tragedy.  It is whilst coming to terms with her grief that she discovers quite by chance a family secret that will cause even more heartache. The story of the family history is related to Julia by her grandmother and stretches back to the nineteen forties when Harry Crawford the heir to the estate marries his bride Olivia before the second world war separates them. The results of this enforced separation will be felt for generations to come as this poignant and atmospheric story takes us from war torn Europe to the present day alternating between Norfolk and Thailand. With plenty of passion and twists and turns along the way I highly recommend this to all fans of the genre.

Lucinda Riley - Hothouse Flower

Author Profile

Lucinda Riley was born in Ireland on February 16th,(year undiscovered), during her childhood she  travelled extensively to the Far East. Moving to London, she became an actress, working in film, theatre and television. At twenty-four, she wrote her first novel 'Lovers and Players', based on her experiences as an actress and then went on to write seven further novels under the name Lucinda Edmonds, which were translated into fourteen languages.
After a break to have her four children, she restarted writing and 'Hothouse Flower' was published by Penguin in the UK in November 2010. It was immediately selected by the famous Richard and Judy Bookclub. It was then released in the USA as "The Orchid House", and subsequently in 25 other countries. It has sold 1.5 million copies to date, and topped the German bestseller list for a record 15 weeks.
"The Girl on the Cliff", Lucinda's second book, has already been published in 14 countries and is currently being released in the USA. Her latest book, "The Light Behind the Window", has just been released in the UK, and will be published round the world in the coming year.

Lucinda currently lives in Norfolk and France with her husband and four children. Five years ago she designed and built a house on the island of Koh Chang in Thailand, where her father had purchased land many years before. It was her  passion for history combined with  love of travel and  Thailand in particular that inspired her to write Hothouse Flower.

The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing. 

Amazon Author Profile    Facebook - Lucinda Riley   Twitter - Lucinda Riley     Simon and Schuster Profile

Lucinda Riley - Goodreads Profile    Lucinda Riley - Official Website     YouTube

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