The Flower Reader

The Flower Reader - Elizabeth Loupas "Just a small peek.. no one will ever find out." It was those famous last words of her husband Alexander that started Rinette on a long journey, one that she hated and feared all at the same time. After looking into the silver casket that the former queen had entrusted her into giving to her daughter, Queen Mary of Scotland, Rinette was determined to do so. On their journey to deliver it to the queen however, Alexander was murdered, and everything that Rinette knew came crashing down around her. She hid the casket, determined that it would not be delivered until her husbands murderer was found, and tried. At first Queen Mary was willing to go along with the demands, but through time her patience wore thin, and she was not the only one wanting the box. Several men approached Rinette about buying the casket from her, something Alexander set in motion before his murder, and something that he hoped would give them enough money to live comfortably on. She seeks comfort from the flowers, hoping that they can tell her something, but they only show her wisps of what is to come. The flowers speak to her, but for some reason they seem to be silent. How can she know what to really do or who to trust?
Nicolas de Clerac seems to be the only one interested in helping Rinette solve the murder, but can he be trusted? Rinette slowly learns that trust even in the hands of the right person can lead to devastating ends, but Nico seems to always be there when Rinette needs help. Is it coincidence or is he a little to convenient? The flowers, for so long her window into the future are frustratingly silent, only giving glimpses and more riddles than answers. Is it a friend or one of the many countless foreign visitors of the court who wants to put their hands on the casket? Would the queens own brother betray her for his own means? No one can be above suspicion for Rinette, not even some of the women in the queen's own household.

Soon the truth comes out, but will it be something that Rinette will live through or will the person who murdered her husband murder her as well, all over the silver casket of letters?

Elizabeth Loupas weaves an intriguing tale of court gossip, murder and royal intrigue. She has a few areas where the book seems to flounder (toward the middle) but then it picks up again and you are caught trying to put it down, but unable to walk away until you know who the murderer is! She stays within historical bounds, and gives a light into the court of Scotland, and the many people who inhabited the palace walls, all looking to gain further promise and wealth from the pretty young queen. Will it all be for nothing in the end?