Title: The Flower Girls
Author: Alice Clark-Platts
Publisher: Raven Books (Bloomsbury)
Publication date: 24th January 2019 (UK)
I have so many feelings about this book, it’s made it difficult to know where to start. I was given a copy of The Flower Girls at Cheltenham Book Festival, where I was lucky enough to get a ticket to attend the Raven Books Proof Party.
Alice Clark-Platts (who, by the way, is LOVELY) was a speaker that evening and when she read an extract from her book I was hooked. I looked back through my notes from that evening and there were words such as ‘dark’ and ‘atmospheric’. I held off reading it for a while as I had other advance books to get through, but the temptation got too much and I got stuck in.
There are some really interesting topics in this book. As uncomfortable as it is to read about child murder and children as murderers, there are conversations to be had about the age of culpability and if children are ‘born evil’. In my opinion, there are no right or wrong answers, nor does Clark-Platts attempt to suggest there are right or wrong answers, but she does successfully give us the opportunity to open a dialogue about such matters.
However, maybe this book is just too ambitious. There are so many plotlines it just loses itself and can’t get it back. I found myself immensely frustrated by characters who have central roles and then just disappear or walk away without looking back. There was also one character, namely the Laurel and Primrose’s deceased mother, who I was itching to get to know better and the book doesn’t scratch that itch.
The pace of this book is spot on. It kept moving and I couldn’t put it down. But when I got to the end, I didn’t know it was the end. I turned over the page and found it blank. I found myself re-reading the last chapter, thinking I’d missed some significant reveal that brought everything together, and it didn’t. That’s not to say that’s always the way it should be, but there were too many unresolved issues for my liking.
With all that said, I would possibly recommend this book. In many respects, it is good. I loved the uncomfortable dynamic between Laurel and Primrose. The account of the murder is not overly dramatic. Is it horrific? Yes. But it’s not something out of Hollywood. It’s dark, brutal, and exposes worst parts of what it is to be human. I just wasn’t satisfied – maybe I wasn’t meant to be?
If The Flower Girls appeals to you, you can order it at Book Depository. They ship to most countries (and for free!).
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What do you think of The Flower Girls? Will you be reading it? Let me know in the comments below.