June was a slow reading month, I only read two books, one of which was Red Lily, the third book in Nora Roberts’ In The Garden trilogy.
I stumbled across this series years ago, probably around 2014, I cannot recall how I got the book, but I have a physical copy of book one of the series. And I think I read that book sometime in 2014. I recall liking it and wished I could find the other books locally. I didn’t find them in Jamaica.
But in May of this year I looked up the books again and found the audio-books.
Now the audio-books were a challenge for me, the story is set in Memphis Tennessee in the USA and the narrator who overall I believe did a fantastic job had a distinct southern drawl which for me was a challenge to listen to for an expended period.
The book is set on a sprawling estate that houses a gardening and landscaping business complete with grafting houses, greenrooms and propagation stations. On this estate is Harper House, a centuries old mansion that is haunted by the Harper Bride. The Harper Bride is drawn to children and walks the halls singing lullabies to the little ones the house. The books fall into that paranormal romance, mystery matchup genre that Roberts seems to favour.
Each book features a female lead, Stella, Rosaline and Hayley.
In Blue Dahlia, the first book in the series, the romance is between the recently widow Stella Rothschild and Logan Kitridge, a successful local landscaper. Stella is new Memphis and is the mother of two young boys when she accepts the job to manage the Harper House gardens.
The books are mostly the average presentation of strong willed woman resisting alpha male advances. There is the physical attraction and then bam they are in love. The book also includes an ensemble cast of characters, Rosaline Harper-Ashby, the current owner of Harper House, and her son Harper Ashby, their cook and close family friend David, the distant cousin and will eventually be Harper Ashby’s love interest Hayley and Ros love interest Dr Mitchell Carnegie. .
Black Rose is the romance is between Ros and Mitch and then in Red Lily, Harper and Hayley fall in love.
The difference is the minor ghost story of the haunting of the Harper Bride. The books are interspersed with the ghost backstory and slowly it is revealed across three books. While I enjoyed the story and the hauntings and possessions, I do feel that the story could have been told in two books.
If I had to choose my favourite book in the series, it would be good two, Black Dahlia.