rage of plum blossoms book coverReviewed by Holly Madison

“Plum blossoms don’t just persevere: they bloom. I could almost hear Jordan saying, “Quinnie, don’t accept what is if you don’t believe in it. Get mad!”…And so we four had become a militia of plum blossoms. We bloomed when we were expected only to endure.”

I really enjoyed reading this book. It drew me in from the very first page, and continued to captivate me throughout. The pace was perfect, the writing was beautiful, and the story was a compelling mystery–a genre I don’t typically read, but very much enjoyed.

The Rage of Plum Blossoms centers around a bright lawyer named Quinn and her husband Jordan, who is mysteriously found dead one day. The police rule it a suicide, but Quinn knows that her husband would not have killed himself…especially not when their dog was present (a notion which I completely understand, being an animal lover). To further confuse things, the clothes that he is found dead in are not his, and several other small details simply do not add up…such as the vast amount of money Jordan leaves to Quinn which she never knew he had.

People assume that Quinn is in denial – a grieving widow who can’t face the suicide of her husband, but she knows that there is a lot more going on than meets the eye. She decides to find out the truth herself, and sets off on an investigation that spans the course of the book. As time goes on, Quinn discovers missing pieces of a life that she never knew her husband had. This person who was her other half, who she knew as well as herself, starts to become a stranger to her. Different characters are introduced to help her with her investigation throughout the book, including a retired cop named Bernie, a man named Ryan, and a man named Sam (who becomes quite important to Quinn later in the book). Each character brings their own charm to the story, and there is a lot of humor mixed in with the mystery. I really loved the character development and the way the friendships evolved throughout the book.

Most enjoyably, Quinn is an incredibly likable character. I feel like I could be good friends with her if she were real, and I constantly found myself rooting for her to find some sort of a happy ending. That almost doesn’t happen when Jordan’s mysterious past comes back to haunt Quinn, and she finds herself fighting for her life on multiple occasions as she digs deeper and deeper into Jordan’s story.

I found that many parts  made me laugh, like the scene where Jordan and Quinn first meet. It is very clear that they are destined to be together, and to be the best of friends (in addition to husband and wife). Parts of this book also made me cry. This combination, to me, is the foundation of what makes a book great. I particularly loved the ending and the little “surprise” that Jordan leaves for Quinn. It made me feel sadness as well as happiness at the same time, and made the whole thing worth reading.

There were only a few negatives in this book. First, the timeline doesn’t always flow smoothly. Also, parts of this book weren’t terribly believable, such as Quinn’s unlikely fluency in Mandarin and Cantonese…particularly since she kept this a secret and wasn’t able to really use the languages often. Having studied several foreign languages in the past, I know that you need to practice them or you lose them. Looking past that was easy though, and it didn’t really impact my enjoyment of the book as a whole.

At the end of the book, Quinn tells Sam, “we always have to pick up the pieces, and if we make an effort to do that, we can find some beautiful things still. Not the same beautiful things, never the same. We have to find a reason to go on. I now have one.”

Sometimes life doesn’t give you what you expected, but you eventually find something just as beautiful in its own different and unique way. It was a beautiful message to end the book with.

Holly has a Bachelors degree in Environmental Science and owns a small business with her husband selling fleece and hand-spun yarn. When she is not spinning yarn, she does freelance work as a graphic design artist and is highly involved in animal rescue.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Author Marketing Experts, Inc. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.