I love when a books title and cover grab your attention. I had seen this book on the shelf and it caught my eye right away. Then once I read the description I knew this was a book I would be returning to soon. Luckily it was waiting for me wrapped under the Christmas tree.
The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller is a historical fiction book that follows Elodie Buchanan, the eldest daughter of an infamous plant hunter. While her father is off in Asia searching for new and exotic plants to bring back to England, Elodie is helping her mother take care of the house her all of her younger siblings. One day though their father does not immediately return home. They are then told that he is going to break his contract and unless he returns to China and retrieves the flower in his contract he will end up in debtor’s prison. Determined to not let her family be destroyed Elodie decides to sneak aboard the ship to China and accompany her father on his quest to find the orchid and save their family.
I really enjoyed the setting of the second half of this book. The first half took place in England and the second half took place in China. I have not read a lot of books that take place in China so being able to read such vivid descriptions of the book was fun and different. I love when authors can paint a beautiful picture in my mind and this book did this.
The plot was a little slow moving and in fact reminded me a lot of Spindle. The first half of the book was a lot of build up to the exciting part of the book. It also focused a lot on the role of a woman in England during this time period. However, I feel that it dealt with the message much better than Spindle did. I did not feel like I was reading a text book. Instead it felt like I was shown how a specific woman was affected by these restrictions through her own stories.
The book was a little cheesy as far as the romance went but I am a sucker for romance in a book. I know not everyone wants a love story when they read but I will enjoy a book much more if there is a love story so I was glad that it included that. I think Elodie showed some good character development throughout the book as well. Overall, I enjoyed reading it and definitely wanted to find out how it would end.
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