At first glance, this sounded like the perfect book for me. I mean, it’s about plants. Hello? So me, right?
I don’t know what happened, but I knew next to nothing going into this book. I know I’ve seen reviews, several trusted bloggers loved it, but somehow, none of the descriptions of the book stuck in my overcrowded brain. Big surprise, right? But it was cool, sometimes I like to come into a book completely blind. It reminds me of the old, pre-blogging, days when I picked up books on a whim. Ya know?
So, anyway, this book is about finding yourself. Or, rather, it’s about Lila Nova finding herself. Fresh off a painful divorce, Lila is taking baby steps. She has her own place and, now that she’s feeling a little stronger, she thinks it’s time to try taking care of something else. So, she buys a plant. But not just ANY plant. No, New York City living, advertising executive working Lila buys a tropical plant. It’s a bird-of-paradise and she is instantly attracted to the seller, David Exley. Exley is hot and it isn’t long before, well, you know how it goes. David introduces her to the my of the nine plants of desire. The legend goes that whomever owns all nine plants will have their wildest dreams fulfilled. Then, how convenient! She meets Armand, who claims to own all nine plants. As you would imagine, obsession seems to follow this myth wherever it goes and Lila is quickly just as obsessed as everyone else.
Lila is naive. She trusts EVERYBODY and as a result, she’s off on an adventure of a lifetime, in the Yucatán. Alone. In the rain forest. And here, things get pretty exciting.
Don’t let my flippancy fool you. I really enjoyed this novel. I thought it was great fun! And wow, I never quite realized how, well, sexy plants could be! There were a few blush-worthy moments in this book, let me tell ya. Quite a few sexy-times! But don’t let that put you off; nothing is really heavily described or anything. I loved the characters. Lila was more than just a New York City Ad Executive looking to find herself. Berwin gave her personality beyond that. What could have been a caricature was not. Exley was more than just a plant salesman, more than just a lover, friend, and bad guy. Armand was, by far, my favorite character with his lovely laundry, his lovely home deep in the wilds of the rain forest, and with his robust sense of humor. And Diego. Oh, Diego. Want to know more about him? You really should read the book. But, if I was a cat, I would purr.
What’s more, Berwin has a wonderful way with words. It is like poetry! Her descriptions of the different plants, of the rain forest, of everything are so lush and gorgeous. For instance:
“Plants need roots because they can’t move on their own. Their roots serve them well, stopping them from getting blown all over the place by the wind. But we humans can move around at will, and our roots hold us in place unnecessarily. Usually in a place we don’t want to be. Then, when we try to move, we rip our roots, and it hurts, so we end up staying right where we are.”
“It was a color I didn’t realize the earth could make without the help of human beings. I knew the water would be blue, but I had in mind a tamer, more pastel blue: a light color through which all the sand and fish underneath would be clearly visible. This water was like super-wavy, lit up turquoise, and so beautiful I could hardly take my eyes off it. The moment I was spellbound by the color of the water was the moment I knew I had been in New York for to long and my decision to leave was a good one.”
Gorgeous! I’m so glad I was able to join the tour for this book. It wasn’t everything I expected, it was more and less, but it was a wonderful read.
Written by Margot Berwin
Category: General/Literary Fiction
Published by: Vintage
On Sale: June 1, 2010
Purchase from The Book Depository.
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