How is your reading going this year? I hope you all are deep into a book and loving every minute of it.
This month our book club choice was Blossom by Christopher Lentz. The bookie who chose this book is personal friends with the author and wanted to support him and his first novel; I am so glad she did. Blossom was a great choice and the best part of the evening was having Christopher Lentz join us for our book club event, it really doesn’t get any better.
Blossom is a great book choice for February, the month of love. The book is beautifully written and is a unique love story, with the added twist of a love triangle that takes place in San Francisco in 1906; just days before the tragic San Francisco earthquake. Christopher Lentz weaves in a bit of history to the story while bringing his characters to life; they are interesting, love able, like able and add in a few priviledged debutantes that surprisingly draw you in to their world. These women are familiar because you may know someone like them, yet beneath the polished exterior there is some depth, along with a level of meanness we all understand.
As each chapter starts pay attention to the dates and times given, knowing the day and times that each chapter takes place adds a level of anticipation to the book. You know what is coming, but what we don’t know is how the story will turn, twist and surprise as the minutes tick by in a few short days.
Blossom lives with her family above their restaurant in Chinatown. Blossom sits in the back hand making fortune cookies. She is being very protected and hidden by her Gran Ma Maw, who loves her to the very depths of her soul. But what she doesn’t understand is how stifled Blossom feels.
Blossom’s exotic lavendar eyes draws people to her and she is innocent, sweet and completely unaware of her beauty. When Brock St. Clair, a wealthy, handsome rancher comes in to buy fortune cookies for his fiance’s bridal shower, he spots Blossom, and is immediately drawn to her by her eyes and exquisite beauty. He lingers, talking to Blossom’s father, asks to see how fortune cookies are made so he can see her one more time. He finally buys the fortune cookies and leaves, but he can’t get Blossom off of his mind. She has captured his heart in a few short minutes.
The book takes place over several days and intertwines the lives of Blossom, Brock, his fiance’ Clarissa, her friends, Brock’s bad boy brother Austin, along with their families and friends. Truths are told, secrets uncovered, a new love is blossoming and then…. devastation hits them at home and their hearts. The earthquake hits tearing into their families, and friends, homes and businesses. The city is devastated, fires are burning, people are running for their lives, ripping and digging into buildings and piles of debris, trying to find their loved ones. With the city in ruins Brock and Blossom are forced to make decisions and face an unknown. Will they recover, what will they do, how do they protect the love that has them in its grasp. Will Brock and Blossom make a decision for their future and will that decision lead them to deceiving family so they can be together or will they stay in a city torn to its core and face their families with what is happening between them?
Christopher graciously joined us for dinner and discussion. He talked to the book, the characters, his writing process and how he developed the story with it’s twists and turns. He answered our questions and really gave us an inside look to writing your first novel. Without hinting or spilling an ounce of information as to what is to come, we do know there are maybe two novella’s and two more books coming in the Blossom series. I for one am so anxious to see what is next for Brock and Blossom and peeling back the layers as we really get to know them and understand their choices and their love story.
I love getting to meet the authors and I can tell you that Christopher Lentz is a writer, who is passionate about his craft and he does it brilliantly. My hats off to him for a beautifully written first novel.
Much of the story takes place in San Francisco’s Chinatown and not the Chinatown many of us are familiar with; this is the 1906 Chinatown which was really the slums where poverty hovers over the neighborhoods and chokes those who live there, forcing them to arrange marriages, pushing orphans to a life of prostitution.
We dined on a beautiful Chinese dinner with authentic chopsticks and of course fortune cookies for dessert on a table decorated with valentines and hearts to symbolize February, Valentines Day and Blossom and Brock’s love story.
Once you have read the book, I hope you will jump back over and let me know your thoughts and what parts surprised you. Would you make the same decisions for love?
I will meet you back here for our next book, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom and another book I am just finishing. This book has taken me a long time to finish, but well worth it, As Always Julia; The letters of Julia Child and Avis De Voto by Joan Reardon.