Sometimes family is the friends you make and sometimes the friends you make turn out to be family.
In 1927 England, 11-year-old Floralie Alice Laurel and her older brother, Tom, survive by selling flowers—Floralie from a basket on the street and Tom from his shop. They also get help from their grandmother. However, Grandmama’s help comes with strings attached. Grandmama owns an orphanage, and she is convinced that Floralie would be better off there and less likely to succumb to the mental illness experienced by their artist mother. In an effort to escape Grandmama’s clutches and find her mother, Floralie accepts the help of a quiet boy living in the attic over the flower shop and the local librarian, who is blind. They escape with her to France to find someone who can decipher the flowers she found hidden in the wall of the attic. This confusing series of events relies heavily on coincidence and is delivered in language that is often as flowery as Floralie’s sales job. Interesting flashbacks are woven well into the story, and the quirky relationship Floralie has with the world is intriguing. Mental illness plays a confusing role in the story, presented as an affliction that Floralie’s mother suffers from but with no clear explanation or exploration of it. A few black-and-white sketches illustrate the cast of white characters.
An ambitious story that suffers from a lack of clarity. (Fiction. 10-14)