The Blue Iris book review Tessa Lewis Koehler Books
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Book Review: The Blue Iris

THE BLUE IRIS by Rachel Stone is a charmingly heartfelt tale about rediscovering love in a big city’s small flower shop. Check out what Crysta Montiel has to say in her book review of this Koehler Books novel.

The Blue Iris

by Rachel Stone

Genre: Literary Fiction / Women’s

ISBN: 9798888240939

Print Length: 380 pages

Publisher: Koehler Books

Reviewed by Crysta Montiel

A charmingly heartfelt tale about rediscovering love in a big city’s small flower shop

The Blue Iris tells the story of Tessa Lewis as she returns to her childhood home in Toronto following the completion of her post-graduate studies. Although Tessa seems to have a picture-perfect future (with a stunningly handsome lawyer-fiancé to boot), she has a strong desire to find her own place in the world. 

This leads her to the Blue Iris flower market, a quaint shop nestled in an upscale neighborhood with a colorful cast of characters. Despite Tessa’s declaredly magnetic personality and irresistible smile, she must tackle unresolved trauma surrounding her mother’s death to fully open herself up to a renewed journey.  

After fifteen years away from home, Tessa Lewis cruises through Toronto with her fiancé Will Westlake and his flashy Porsche. Although the city has changed more than it’s remained the same, when Tessa spots an old flower shop that she remembers from her childhood, she’s enraptured by memories of a trip there with her mother. She acquaints herself with the shopkeepers, Charlie and Darryl, who offer her a temporary summer job.  

We quickly learn that the Blue Iris Flower Market is in the throes of mourning—the shop’s former keeper, Sam, Charlie’s lover and the glue that held everyone together, disappeared earlier in the year. To make matters worse, when Darryl opens Sam’s safe and discovers that half of his trust fund is missing, we’re left with more questions than answers. Maybe the Blue Iris Flower Market needs Tessa just as much as she needs it. 

Meanwhile, Tessa distances herself from Will’s fast-paced lifestyle, and an emotional physical attraction bubbles between her and her coworker Luke. Tessa navigates her new routine, all while juggling PR dinners with her sour future mother-in-law and image-obsessed future father-in-law as he runs for mayor. 

Tinged with romantic suspense, mystery, and an unquenchable desire for a different life, The Blue Iris guides readers along a heart-tugging adventure of healing wounds and planting roots.   

Boasting an ensemble character list, Stone shifts between various perspectives. A perspective shift offers us an intimate look into the minds of each character. We learn that Will’s brother, who suffers from addiction, incites anger in the elder Westlake. We also learn that Tessa struggles with temptation outside of her partner, seeking a stripped-down relationship with much more emotional intensity. Omniscience also allows readers to explore Toronto’s socialite circles with Will, while granting us access to side characters and worldbuilding in The Blue Iris. 

Tessa’s perspective, along with those of the Blue Iris family, keep readers confined within Toronto’s bright floristry world. Without “rose-colored glasses,” Stone shows the dirt, debris, and openness of the environment. Luke describes their dynamic best when he says, “there isn’t much room for secrets,” at the Blue Iris flower market. There’s a stark contrast between Tessa and Will’s chapters, with the latter spending his chapters at high-roller events with the Westlake family or his firm. While Will’s family surrounds themselves with luxury and fine dining, a lack of authentic intimacy creates an emotional barrier between them. Stone’s flexible storytelling emphasizes Tessa’s realization that she desires the richness of family and not social status.  

Rachel Stone expresses an important sentiment about grief and love in The Blue Iris, reminding readers that pain and healing can be shared experiences that lead to a newfound sense of identity. Reminiscent of a Pride & Prejudice for the modern age, Tessa Lewis’s story will resonate with new adult romance readers looking for a fresh story about self-love.


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