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Hothouse Flower Review and Giveaway

October 19th, 2010

A couple months ago I was contacted by Trish from TLC Book Tours to see if I would review Hothouse Flower: and the Nine Plants of Desire. I’m not much a modern novel reader, but figured since was a novel featuring plants, I would give it a shot.

I received my copy many weeks ago when I was super busy getting ready for vacation. I finally cracked it open last Wednesday when we arrived home. I have to admit when I read the back cover I was a bit nervous:

Lila Nova is a thirty-two-year-old advertising copywriter who lives alone in a plain white box of an apartment. Recovering from a heartbreaking divorce, Lila has a simple mantra: no pets, no plants, no people, no problems. But when Lila meets David Exley, a ruggedly handsome plant seller, her lonely life blossoms into something far more colorful. From the cold, harsh streets of Manhattan to the verdant jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula, Hothouse Flower is the story of a woman who must travel beyond the boundaries of sense and comfort to find what she truly wants.

I was happy that it wasn’t the romance novel I had feared, at least not much of one. There were a few romantic sections, but it definitely isn’t the main point of the book, thank goodness! It was a quick read, I finished it within 24 hours of starting. It only took me a couple sittings to get through the entire book, which I always enjoy. I hate books that are tedious to read and difficult to make yourself sit down to finish them. This book held my attention enough to make me want to sit down and read through it.

This book is a fluffy quick read, not an in depth book that includes lots of detail and history. You’ll find gaps in the story, perhaps questions about the mythology, storyline, the main character’s decisions and so many other things. But this book isn’t meant to be a John Steinbeck novel, it’s meant to be a quick summer read so you have to take that into consideration. If you go into it expecting something deep and meaningful you’ll be disappointed. I reminded me a lot of a Barbara Kingsolver novel, only shorter, less descriptive and a little less environmentally preachy. If you like her novels you’ll most likely enjoy this one.

The plant references were particularly interesting and I found myself wanting to look up all the plants mentioned in the book. Margot definitely has a wonderful imagination since she came up with an entire mythology about the nine plants of desire and the lore that surrounds them. The 9 Plants of Desire give the person who has all 9 of them power, insight and understanding. While reading through the book I found myself wanting to read more in depth about all of these 9 plants: gloxinia, mexican cycade, cacao, moonflower, sinsemilla, lily of the valley, mandrake, chicory and datura. There were also many other plants talked about in the book: bird of paradise, fire fern, orchids, a special nameless extinct plant, Chinese windmill palm, croton, Mexican fan palm, floribunda rose, and others.

I won’t go into much detail about the book, I don’t want to give anything away (I always hate that). Now that I’m finished with this book I’ll be giving away my copy of this book as well as a copy from the publisher. All you have to do is comment below and you’ll be entered into a drawing for the book.

Any great quick read novel recommendations? Do you know of any great books that feature botanical themes?

Kaytee from Gardening to Preserve

29 Comments to “Hothouse Flower Review and Giveaway”
  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by mark mile, Susy Morris. Susy Morris said: Hothouse Flower #Review and Giveaway #books #novel […]

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  2. Nancy on October 19, 2010 at 7:07 am

    One of my favorite plant-themed books is Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire. It’s not fiction, but it is about four plants and presents “a plant’s view of the world.” Fascinating!

    Reply to Nancy's comment

  3. molly on October 19, 2010 at 8:39 am

    I just read Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri, which is a gorgeous collection of short stories — highly recommended. As for plant-books, there’s always the Orchid Thief, by Susan Orlean and I grew up loving the children’s books about Linnea (Linnea in Monet’s Garden, etc.)…

    Reply to molly's comment

  4. Peggy on October 19, 2010 at 8:51 am

    I love your blog and would love to win this book!!:) Peggy

    Reply to Peggy's comment

  5. kristin @ going country on October 19, 2010 at 9:26 am

    I tend to re-read my favorite novels over and over, especially the ones by Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters (same author, different pen names). Books go pretty fast when you’ve read them ten times already. :-)

    Actually, one of Barbara Michaels’ books is a fiction book with a kind of rose theme–there’s a lot in there about the history of the rose. It’s called “Vanish with the Rose.” One of the reasons I love her books is she tends to pick a topic–Scottish history, the Civil War, antique clothing, the history of needlework–and delve into it in the course of the story. I’ve learned a surprising number of actual facts from her books.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  6. Heather on October 19, 2010 at 9:32 am

    That book sounds really interesting! One book I read recently that I found very quick (and based in Ohio) is The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley. It has good and interesting characters and the plot is gripping!

    Reply to Heather's comment

  7. kirsten on October 19, 2010 at 10:16 am

    sure, i’ll bite! count me in for the drawing…

    Reply to kirsten's comment

  8. Susan on October 19, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Romance and botanicals? How bad can it be? Count me in!

    Reply to Susan's comment

  9. Kim on October 19, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Sounds like a great book – please include me in the drawing!
    Terrific blog – I enjoy reading about all your adventures!

    Reply to Kim's comment

  10. Seren Dippity on October 19, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Sounds like a fun book.

    I haven’t read any plant related books lately other than basic scanning of reference books. I’m looking forward to Rosalind Creasy’s updated Edible Landscapes.

    The last good novel I’ve read is the Stieg Larsson books “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played with Fire” and “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”. And let me tell you – these are not tedious books to finish. They are page turners and addictive; make sure you don’t have a deadline or important project looming…. because all you want to do is lock yourself away and read! They are challenging intellectual crime thrillers with multiple plot lines and engaging, mysterious and well developed characters.

    Reply to Seren Dippity's comment

  11. Debbie on October 19, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    I’d love a chance to win the book.

    I haven’t read any plant related fiction that I can think of but two authors that I quite like are Audrey Niffenegger and Jhumpa Lahiri. Neither author writes fluffy filler type stuff – but literary works filled with well developed characters embracing and or strugglilng against their human condition. I highly recommend both.

    Reply to Debbie's comment

  12. Carrie Blain on October 19, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    I would love to be entered in the drawing! Now that it is getting cooler and the days are shorter, I will have time to sit and enjoy a good book.

    Reply to Carrie Blain's comment

  13. Donna on October 19, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    I’m a huge reader and would love a chance to try a new author. I’m usually too cheap to buy a new one without test driving the author from the library first.

    Reply to Donna's comment

  14. Kaytee on October 19, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    I’m a big fan of Barbara Kingsolver and I could really use a nice light read. This just made me remember I need to get to the library!

    Reply to Kaytee's comment

  15. Grant on October 19, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    One of my favorite books is Animal, Vegetable Miracle, and The Omnivores Dilemma is also good. Do you know any books that are like Animal Vegetable Miracle that is about someone who “homesteads?” I am 14 years old and love to learn more about gardening and i think your blog is great!!!

    Reply to Grant's comment

  16. annie on October 19, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    Hmm. Quick read… Neil Gaiman’s “The Graveyard Book” was a quick good read. “Ruby Fruit” Jungle by Rita Mae Brown I read in one night years ago. As for plant themed books… “Like Water for Chocolate” comes to mind. It’s got a lot of food made from fresh vegetables and herbs. And there are Susan Wittig Albert’s herb mysteries. They are both about plants and quick reads. And she just started a new series all about a gardening club during the great depression.

    Reply to annie's comment

  17. Sarah H on October 20, 2010 at 10:09 am

    I like Pollan’s books but sometimes a novel is nice. Thanks for the giveaway.

    Reply to Sarah H's comment

  18. amy manning on October 20, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Maybe when I have some extra time on my hands I could actually sit down and read a novel. Haha.

    Reply to amy manning's comment

  19. prairiechick on October 20, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    A light, fluffy read is exactly my kind of book – an escape for an evening. :) AND it includes flowers?! :D

    Reply to prairiechick's comment

  20. Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours on October 20, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    I’m so glad that you enjoyed the book and the mythology the author created about the plants! That part definitely has me wanting to pick this one up.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour. :)

    Reply to Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours's comment

  21. Joan on October 20, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    I would love to read the book! Love your blog….great stories, info and photography!

    Reply to Joan's comment

  22. Karen on October 21, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Thanks for a chance to win this book. I would love to read it now that the garden is almost finished producing. I will have the time to read it!

    Reply to Karen's comment

  23. Herbwifemama on October 21, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    I’m not in for the drawing, but I’ll share my favorite “light reading” author. She writes mysteries. Her name is Susan Wittig Albert, and she writes the China Bayles series. They feature lots of herbal lore and recipes, and I love it. She lives in TX, and has her own blog where she writes about writing, crafting, and herbs. I’m going to check this one out from the library. :)

    Reply to Herbwifemama's comment

  24. Aubrey on October 22, 2010 at 9:29 am

    I love Barbra, her ‘Animal Vegetable Miracle’ helped my husband and children catch the local bug.

    I like the Mary Russell series… not normally a series gal, but these are smart fun and quick.

    Reply to Aubrey's comment

  25. cathleen on October 22, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Have you read Diane Ackerman’s ‘Cultivating Delight, a Natural History of My Garden’? I LOVE this book! It’s not a novel but a very delightful non-fiction. I read it while I sip tea on my garden bench in the summer and I read it every night during the winter when I am longing for my cottage garden. It soothes me. Here is a link so you can read the reviews:

    Reply to cathleen's comment

  26. Deborah Auen on October 23, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Looks like a Good~Book….I really enjoy your blog and love your mom’s new greenhouse.I must save my pennies as well:)

    Reply to Deborah Auen's comment

  27. Bladerunner on October 24, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I was a big fan of Animal Vegetable Miracle as well. Right now, I’m reading the whole Riley Jensen/Guardian series by Keri Arthur. No botanical themes, and only sort of a romance kind of book, but I’m having great fun with it (especially that I don’t usually go in for this sort of fantasy genre). For botanical themes, I mostly do non-fiction: Independence Days, A Jam Making Hymnal, Wild Fermentation, Carrots Love Tomatoes, that sort of thing.

    Reply to Bladerunner's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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