When I discovered this book, I was at the start of my Nora-Roberts-passion phase. Needless to say, I am still a huge fan of her. This novel is the start of a fantastic trilogy I still love and enjoy whenever I can. The meaning of family, love, trust, and a bit of the paranormal are brought together by Nora Roberts in a wonderful captivating way. And for her readers, it is a fantastic opportunity to relax and enjoy a story that comes right from the heart of the world´s most famous romance writer.

Blue Dahlia
by Nora Roberts
In the Garden Trilogy #1
Publisher Berkley on October 26, 2004
Genre Novel 
Pages 384
Format Paperback
Source Library 

Trying to escape the ghosts of the past, young widow Stella Rothchild, along with her two energetic little boys, has moved back to her roots in southern Tennessee. She isn´t intimidated by Harper House – nor by its mistress. Despite a reputation for being difficult, Rosalind Harper has been nothing but kind to Stella, offering her a comfortable place to live and a challenging new job as manager of the flourishing In the Garden nursery. As Stella settles comfortably into her new life, she finds a nurturing friendship with Rosalind and expectant mother Hayley and a fierce attraction to ruggedly handsome landscaper Logan Kitridge. He´s difficult but honest, brash but considerate – and undeniably sexy. And for a sensible woman like Stella, he may be just what she needs …
The orderly, single-minded, planning, and, list-addicted single mother Stella moves with her boys Luke and Gavin from Michigan to Tennessee to work in the garden center of their married relative Rosalind Harper Ashby and start a new life. Although she keeps getting into a fight with the landscape gardener Logan Kitridge because she wants to bring order to the chaotic business, she still enjoys and loves her new life to the fullest. When she notices that Logan not only awakens angry feelings in her, everything turns in Stella. She didn´t plan that, and certainly not with a guy who seems to go through life and work so apparently without a plan. Nevertheless, she cannot escape his attraction. But soon scary nightly visits to the nursery and confusing dreams make Stella doubt herself and the others, as the Harpers all claim that it is the Harper bride, the house spirit of the property. Ironically, a ghost! Ridiculous. However, when one night she sees the house spirit herself, she must make friends with the thought that she is sharing the property with the Harper bride. But when one evening the situation escalated and the house spirit prevented her from accessing her sons, Stella fought with the biggest and most powerful weapon she had: her motherly love. 

With this novel, Nora Roberts has once again written a wonderful, soulful, exciting, and amazingly effective story. In a visually powerful but simple language, she creates wonderfully colorful landscapes, scenes, and feelings for the reader that do not fail to have an effect. Her dialogues are funny, entertaining, and amusing. I laughed more than once when Stella and Logan had a chat or Rosalind Harper Ashby, the hostess on Harper House, was talking to another character. Written in the personal narrative style and with small retrospectives of the life of the Harper bride, the plot is lively and original and reads so fluently and captivating that as a reader it is difficult or impossible to put the book down. 

The protagonist Stella Rothchild is a very contradictory woman in a positive sense. On the one hand, she is blessed with a red curly hair that is barely manageable and the light skin of the redhead, on the other hand, she is almost fanatical about her sense of order, rules, and life itself. Nevertheless, she is fantastically uncomplicated as soon as she picks up a flowerpot and starts planting or goes to the evening sleep ritual with her boys. But her attitude towards the reader becomes clearer when she first meets Logan and at first has no idea who he is, only to think a few hours later that he would be the lover of her new boss. 

With the figure of Rosalind Harper Ashby, Nora Roberts has succeeded in creating a wonderful, pragmatic, completely fascinating, and extremely amiable figure that must be unparalleled. She´s a bit messy, but otherwise, she can be very energetic and tough when it is necessary. This character has an attitude to life that is not trivial, is breathtakingly beautifully packaged, and still has a weak side and truly clear features. She should be the absolute dream mother for everyone. 

A wonderful emotional and lively story about love, passion, past, family, and cohesion, told in a loving way and ideally suited for relaxing reading hours and wonderful entertainment. 

Happy reading

Nora Roberts
Nora Roberts ©Bruce Wilder

Nora Roberts, born in Silver Spring, Maryland, is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels. During the now-famous blizzard, she pulled out a pencil and notebook and began to write. It was there that a career was born. Several manuscripts and rejections later, her first book, Irish Thoroughbred, was published by Silhouette in 1981. Having spent her life surrounded by men, Ms. Roberts has a fairly good view of the workings of the male mind, which is a constant delight to her readers. It was, she’s been quoted as saying, a choice between figuring men out or running away screaming. Nora is a member of several writers groups and has won countless awards from her colleagues and the publishing industry. Recently The New Yorker called her “America’s favorite novelist.” She is also the author of the bestselling futuristic suspense series written under the pen name J. D. Robb. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.


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