Where the Last Rose Blooms

Ashley Clark’s third installment in the Heirloom Secrets series, a dual-narrative historical novel, intertwines the lives of two women bonded by loss and a hidden language of flowers. The suspenseful story flips between post-Katrina New Orleans and Civil War-era Charleston, focusing on Alice, a florist who stumbles upon an embroidered mystery, and Clara, a Confederate general’s daughter, turned abolitionist spy. The women, separated by centuries, share a common determination and depth of spirit as they face challenges including slavery, societal prejudices, and personal demons.

The novel shines with its well-crafted female protagonists, both embodiments of resilience and faith. The historical fabric of the narrative, particularly Clara’s journey, is richly woven, though sometimes strays into territory that feels less authentic, with modern sensibilities occasionally seeping into a past setting. The contemporary storyline, while integral, leans towards the sentimental, veering into territory that might remind one of a formulaic TV movie.

Readers may find that knowledge of the previous books in the trilogy would enhance the experience. Despite a few stumbles, the book offers a heartfelt look at the enduring human spirit and the timeless nature of love and courage. 3 stars.

** Thanks to the publisher for a review copy of this novel. The opinions are my own.

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