The Last Camellia

Flora Lewis is an amateur botanist, living in 1940 in New York City. She is a lover of plants and flowers but, at the moment, is working in her parent’s bakery to help keep the family financially sound. There is a problem with the bakery and the family is about to lose the business along with the apartment over it. Flora agrees to go to England and help a ring of flower thieves find a valuable camellia plant, the Middlebury Pink. She is excited for the adventure that is coming her way. Flora is posing as a nanny at Livingston Manor where the last camellia has been hidden within an orchard built for the recently deceased Lady Livingston.

The book then jumps to New York City in the year 2000 where Addison Sinclair has found the life that she has always dreamed about. She is happily married to an English writer, Rex, and her landscape design business is starting to take off. Life seems perfect but when her dark past comes calling her back she convinces her husband this is the perfect time to escape to the home in the English countryside his parents have recently purchased. So off to, would you believe, Livingston Manor they go. They find a lovely yet odd feeling in every corner of the estate and its large gardens and they begin to be slightly curious. They begin digging into the manor’s past looking for inspiration for Rex’s next book. It is Flora’s story that begins to find its way into the present and find that there are secrets galore at Livingston Manor.

I was so impressed with the author and her ability to talk about the 40’s on the cusp of the Second World War and then turn immediately to 2000. The past and present revealing the facts that happened in both eras and fit them together like a jigsaw puzzle. This was an excellent read with great characters and an old Alfred Hitchcockian house.

Book Blurb for The Last Camellia

On the eve of the Second World War, the last surviving specimen of a camellia plant known as the Middlebury Pink lies secreted away on an English country estate. Flora, an amateur American botanist, is contracted by an international ring of flower thieves to infiltrate the household and acquire the coveted bloom. Her search is at once brightened by new love and threatened by her discovery of a series of ghastly crimes.

More than half a century later, garden designer Addison takes up residence at the manor, now owned by the family of her husband, Rex. The couple’s shared passion for mysteries is fueled by the enchanting camellia orchard and an old gardener’s notebook. Yet its pages hint at dark acts ingeniously concealed. If the danger that Flora once faced remains very much alive, will Addison share her fate?

Night Owl Reviews Jul, 2013 4.50