Send Me No Flowers by Trish Jensen
Reading Level: Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Pages: 160 pages
Source: Net Galley
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
When she was a child living in Daredevil, South Carolina, Jenny Creighton was overweight, and her peers taunted her with the cruel nickname, "Jumbo Jenny." Not only that, her mother was considered "loony." Rob Townsend was a few years older than her and very protective of the little girl, standing up for her against the bullies on many occasions until Jenny's family moved away when she was 10 years old. Decades have passed, but Jenny never forgot his kindness, and he was at least part of the reason she has returned to Daredevil and opened a flower shop.
Jenny has slimmed down greatly, not from dieting, but from loss of appetite due to grief at her husband's death. No one recognizes Jumbo Jenny in the lovely widow she is today--including Rob, who has grown into a handsome, sexy man and is the town's sheriff. Jenny doesn't rush to point out who she is, because she doesn't want to remind everyone about her unhappy past. She is enjoying too much the way everyone sees her now. In an attempt to help out Jenny's business, Rob begins ordering from her expensive flower arrangements to send to various women of Daredevil when he ends his temporary, romantic relationships with them. Rob is the local heartbreaker who has dated every attractive woman in town, and many outside of Daredevil. He never stays with anyone more than a few weeks, and women grimace and shy away from poor Jenny when she arrives to deliver Rob's flowers. The reactions are so dismayed, Jenny is worried that Rob's orders will actually harm her business. Then, suddenly, Rob starts acting as if he wants to date Jenny, and though Jenny is extremely attracted to him and respects his innate kindness, she has no desire to be just one more in a long line of his short-term lovers.
Jenny and Rob are attractive, sympathetic protagonists, and it's a wonderful ride seeing them progress from friendship to romance without rushing straight into bed. Each is vulnerable in her or his own way, and this creates believable and emotionally intense romantic conflict. There is also an important subplot about Rob's injured, ex-fireman brother that is very moving.
The entire theme of being misjudged for superficial reasons, and the journey to discover and reveal to each other their deepest, truest selves is extremely well done.
I very much enjoyed the colorful, Southern culture and inhabitants of small-town Daredevil. All of the subcharacters are vividly drawn and completely three-dimensional, especially Rob's wonderful brother, yet they never upstage the appealing protagonists.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
I rate this book as follows:
Romantic Comedy Plot: 4