Instagram is a wonderful place to meet like-minded book lovers. Through one of my buddy reads, I connected with someone who loves Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as much as I. She told me about a retelling that I had not yet read, Coming Up Roses by Staci Hart, and I decided I wanted to read it. The bonus was the realisation that Staci Hart is an indie author. When purchasing the novel, I decided to purchase the second in the series, Gilded Lily, as it was claimed to also have connections to Austen’s novel.
Genre of both novels: Romance, Contemporary, Retelling
Blurb for Coming Up Roses:
Everyone hates parts of their job.
Maybe it’s the paperwork. Maybe it’s the day-to-day grind. Maybe it’s that client who never knows what they want, or the guy who always cooks fish in the microwave.
But not me. I love every corner of the Longbourne Flower Shop, every flower, every petal, every stem. I love the greenhouse, and I love Mrs. Bennet, my boss. I love creating, and I love being a florist. I don’t hate anything at all.
Except for Luke Bennet.
The Bennet brothers have come home to help their mom save the flower shop, and Luke is at the helm. His smile tells a tale of lust, loose and easy. He moves with the grace of a predator, feral and wild. A thing unbridled, without rules or constraint.
When he comes home to save Longbourne, I almost can’t be mad at him.
He doesn’t remember that night I’ll never forget. That kiss, touched with whiskey and fire. It branded me like a red-hot iron. But it meant nothing to him.
Everyone hates part of their job, and I hate Luke Bennet.
Because if I don’t, I’ll fall in love with him.
Blurb for Gilded Lily:
They say there’s no such thing as perfect.
But I’ve built my life to perfection—the perfect boyfriend, the perfect apartment, the perfect career planning celebrity weddings. My job—my only job—is to make sure every event is absolutely and completely perfect.
What’s not perfect? Kash Bennet.
And I wish I didn’t find that so appealing.
I could have told you every perfectly imperfect thing about the gardener at Longbourne. Like his hair, lush and black and far too long. Or his nose, the flat bridge of a Greek god, bent a little like it’s been broken. Or his size. Beastly. Roped and corded with muscles, gleaming with sweat and peppered with dirt.
There’s no escaping him, not if I’m going to use his family’s flower shop for my events.
But nothing is what it seems. And in the span of a heartbeat, my perfect life is turned inside out.
They say the best way to get over somebody is to get under somebody new. When Kash offers his services to the cause, it sounds like the perfect plan.
What’s not part of the plan? Falling in love with the gardener.
But they were right—there’s no such thing as perfect.
And I’m the fool who finds out the hard way.
The stories are VERY loosely based on Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice. The novels do address the theme of the original novel, and reference as well the characterisations of Elizabeth and Darcy – although the sex of the characters has been changed. What I loved was Hart’s representation of Mrs Bennett – it was spot-on and perfectly done. I loved it so much that I would love to see more of her in the stories (that seem to be a series she is currently writing).
The novels do not give an in-depth portrayal of the characters. Even though the characters do come to certain realisations, we do not see their growth and development towards these realisations and, in a way, the characterisations are superficial. Having said that, however, the format followed in general romance novels is that in-depth explorations are not expected.
I enjoyed both of Hart’s romance novels in this series. They were a perfect read for my mood – I wanted something lighthearted that did not encourage too much thought. The well written words made me chuckle and I did want to find out how the characters found their true love (after all, that is what happens in novels like these). If you enjoy romance novels as well as supporting indie authors, the series on the Bennet Brothers is worth picking up.
I give these novels ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020
(This novel was the 51st and 52nd novels in my book pledge for 2020)