Book Review: BLOOM AND DOOM by Beverly Allen

Series: A Bridal Bouquet Shop Mystery, #1
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★½

As the co-owner of The Rose in Bloom, Audrey Bloom creates magnificent flower arrangements for brides to be. Though helping to plan a wedding can be stressful, it’s nothing compared to the groom turning up dead.

A designer of eye-catching bridal bouquets—many of them based on the Victorian meanings behind each flower—Audrey Bloom is used to celebrations that end with happily ever after. In fact, every couple she’s worked with is still together, living in wedded bliss. But her perfect record is about to be broken.

Her childhood friend Jenny Whitney has reeled in the most eligible bachelor in Ramble, Virginia, and she’s hired Audrey to design the bouquet. But before Jenny can walk down the aisle clutching her blend of anemone, scabious, and pussy willow (a floral disaster in Audrey’s mind), the groom is found dead—sprinkled with bits of a bouquet. This is bad for business—not to mention for Jenny, who has become the prime suspect. So Audrey decides to do a little digging herself, hoping she won’t be the next Ramble resident pushing up daisies…

I’ve read several fantastic “first in a brand-new series” cozy mysteries lately, and BLOOM AND DOOM is definitely on that list! The main character, Audrey Bloom, was flat out hilarious. She had me laughing throughout the book.

Audrey runs The Rose in Bloom flower shop with her cousin Liv in the quaint town of Ramble, Virginia. Their business is on the verge of booming when word gets out that Audrey’s bridal bouquets are good luck. No couple she’s ever worked with on their wedding has broken up. I guess all good things come to an end! When Audrey’s ex-bestie Jenny comes to her for a bridal bouquet, the groom ends up murdered, and there’s strong evidence implicating Jenny as the killer.

The flower shop was an intriguing character on its own, and it had a big presence in this book. I loved how the “language of flowers” was interwoven throughout the story. Audrey’s passion is creating arrangements based on the Victorian meanings of flowers to suit her customers’ needs. For a dose of wisdom, add an iris. For fidelity, use ivy. I had no idea there were so many flowers with meanings! Interesting stuff.

The mystery was good, though it took a while before some serious investigation went on. With such incriminating evidence against Jenny, Audrey is afraid the police won’t look for other suspects. Audrey is a kind person and wants to help clear Jenny’s name, even though Jenny dumped her as a best friend years ago. The mystery wasn’t easy for me to figure out. Many clues were presented, along with a couple red herrings, and it was a challenge to put the puzzle pieces together.

BLOOM AND DOOM was a fun and enlightening cozy mystery that I greatly enjoyed. There’s even a hunky baker named Nick who has his eye on Audrey, and vice versa. It will be fun watching their relationship bloom in future books, along with the flowers. ;-)

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.