The Funeral Flower
By Michelle Jester
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[I received a copy of this novel from Netgalley in return for my honest review.]
When she’s a young girl, Kelly Rodgers loses her grandfather. Unable to cope, her life begins to spin out of control until she meets a young boy through the fence at her grandparent’s house who becomes her new foundation. Kelly learns to smile and hope again, but tragedy isn’t done with her yet.
Kelly makes the best of her bad situation and is uninterested in love until she sees him. James Delaney, the man who pushes all hesitation about love out of Kelly’s mind. She may only be in high school, but Kelly knows what she wants to do.
But the breathy highs of true love, the damning lows are sure to follow.
At first glance, the novel’s very off-putting. The prose is childish, but you quickly learn as Kelly begins to grow that this is a stylistic choice. Thankfully, even though the dialogue remains clunky, the writing begins to improve.
The story quickly becomes very god-heavy, which was fine, it was just distracting. There’s a lot of stuff that I like in The Funeral Flower. There are little stylistic choices that are engaging. But the story didn’t grab me like it should have and although it’s a book that calls itself feminist, it is entirely focused on men.
Don’t get me wrong, The Funeral Flower is feminist in its own way.
It gives a perspective that I’m not used to which I appreciated. I rarely read books set from the perspectives of the deeply religious and I enjoy when I get the chance to. This novel just wasn’t for me.
Some other positives are the family. They’re loving and supporting of their daughter, allowing her to make the choices that she wants to with her body even if they don’t always agree. If that dynamic was expanded upon, I think the novel would have been much stronger for it.
Where the novel falls apart is the focus on the men in her life. James is dominating, bordering on abusive behaviour, but we’re supposed to find it endearing. He has the Edward from Twilight problem for me. His protective, jealous behaviour is meant to show how much he cares about her, but he wants to own and control Kelly.
And we’re supposed to root for them.
This is a dramatic novel and I wish that it had allowed itself to be a bit lighter. My favourite part of the novel was when Kelly was twelve years old and living her own life without being dragged around by a boy.
It was the time when she was happiest, and where the dramatic moments aren’t as intense. I don’t mind drama when it’s earned, but The Funeral Flower is constantly escalating.
I’d recommend this for people who like Christian romance, Twilight-like relationships, and soap opera dramas. Personally? I’d recommend Love & Gelato instead.
An interesting enough premise that misses the mark.