Lily In Bloom
By Margaret P. Cunningham
Black Lyon Publishing, May 2008
These long, cold months really have me longing for my gardens. As the snow piles up outside, I find my head filling with ideas for new garden spots, my hands itching to get out and dig in the soil. With two feet of snow making my gardens indistinguishable from the rest of the yard and a good six weeks left of winter, I found the next best thing in Margaret P. Cunningham’s debut novel, Lily in Bloom.
Lily McVay has always taken good care of herself. At fifty she is physically fit and alarmingly attractive. That’s why she is stunned when her husband, Howard, runs off with his much younger assistant, Heather. Insult is added to injury when Howard demands a divorce and the terms of their settlement hinge on the restoration of Lily’s deceased mother-in-law’s prize-winning gardens. Months later, discouraged by a string of disastrous blind dates, prank phone calls that begin to come with increasing regularity, and the unsettling feeling that her house is haunted by her mother-in-law’s ghost, Lily focuses her attention on the task at hand; bringing the once-gorgeous gardens back to their former glory in time for the town’s annual soiree. The daunting task is soon lightened by the presence of sexy master gardener, Will. As they work together to rebuild the garden, Lily finds herself growing more and more attracted to the irresistible Will. Telling herself the sixteen-year age difference is insurmountable, Lily fights her attraction, turning her attention to finding out the reason for the unsettling presence that haunts her home, and the meaning of the strange, unsettling phone calls. With a little sleuthing and the help of her eccentric neighbor, Lily soon unearths some surprising family secrets, along with a forgotten old fountain. As the weeks pass, Lily and Will’s labors begin to pay off and the garden is not the only thing that begins to flourish …
There was an awful lot to love about this book. The premise was delightful, and the many interesting plot twists had me eagerly turning the pages to see how things would all work out for this star-crossed couple. I enjoyed the interaction between Lily and her middle-aged, well meaning friends, Helen and Marilee, and I thought the author did a wonderful job of developing the romance between Lily and Will. Her offbeat sense of humor and obvious love of gardening were woven throughout this beautifully written story. I would recommend Lily in Bloom to anyone who likes romance sprinkled with humor.