By K. L. Bridgewater
When I think of romance novels, I think of two people arguing and emotions coursing through their bodies like fireworks on the Fourth of July. The couple secretly wants to be together, but something, either internally or externally, keeps them apart.
I received a complimentary copy of Janice Thompson’s latest book, A Bouquet of Love, to read and review. I, however, don’t gravitate toward romance novels, as most people understand who follow this blog. I’m a huge fan of suspense novels with a little bit of romance thrown in.
Thompson’s book compares a lot to the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which I enjoyed. The book features a Greek family, the Pappas, who moved from California to Galveston, Texas to open a new Gyro restaurant. At first, the family is reluctant to move, but over time, the family, except the father, Babbas, makes friends with the dreaded Italian family across the street.
The POV is in Cassia’s perspective, a twenty-three year old woman, who adores flowers and Judy Garland. Cassia wants to “cut the apron’s strings” from her Babbas, but she doesn’t want to offend him by losing his respect. While working in the flower shop down the Strand (the street where their restaurant is located), Cassia meets Alex, the flower man, who brings in the flowers from his family’s nursery.
I, personally, see the story as a Contemporary story with hints of romance. Kind of like the story I write, suspense with hints of romance. The plot focused mostly on the dilemma between Cassia and her Babbas and the problems between Babbas and the Italian Rossi’s family across the street. The romance between Alex and Cassia occurred, but it seemed too easy. Alex and Cassia fall in love right away, and Babbas frowns at Alex as he takes Cassia on a bike ride or comes to the restaurant, but I imagined him acting like the father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which he doesn’t. Alex and Cassia like each other from the start, and never once argue. There were a number of places that an argument from Alex and Cassia would have made their relationship more interesting and realistic.
The real dilemma of the story is the “hate” relationship between Babbas and the Rossi patriarch, who owns Parma Johns across the street. Every other member of the family secretly becomes friends with a member of the Rossi family. Even so far that one day Cassia sneaks into Parma John’s to eat the dreaded pizza without her father knowing she’s there. However, she mentions a Greek pizza, which the owner adds to his menu, further fanning the flame of anger from Babbas.
The plot line of the story is interesting, and I was curious how the family would convince Babbas to stop the feud between the two families, but I think the romance should have been more convincing to the story. As a contemporary story, I believe Thompson did a good job, but to be labeled as romance might have been a stretch since the romance didn’t appear to be that important to the storyline.
I was given a complimentary copy of A Bouquet of Love from Revell publishing and all my thoughts are my own.