Later, in Chapter Three, the reader learns more about those mysterious letters. We are introduced to Michael, the new man in Liz’s life. He has just sent her roses, something her ex never did .
When Liz finally confronted Dick, he grabbed the box, threw her a “who the hell are you” kind of sneer, and stormed out. The next day he came back, attached his trailer to his green pickup truck and left for good. And Liz began drinking herself to sleep.
These excerpts might have you thinking Flourish is a romance novel. It’s anything but. Yes, there is a little romance, some heartache, not only from those letters, and a touch of sex (what would a novel be without it?) but Flourish, I've been told by some in the book business, is upmarket women’s fiction which means it crosses the lines of literary (character driven) and commercial (plot driven) fiction. It is a novel, unpublished as yet, appropriate for book clubs. Flourish is a story of how women, with grit, determination, and the support of friends, can overcome adversities and succeed in ways they never expected. It is set on a hillside vineyard in the emerald green Lehigh Valley.
Recently I read two other books with strong female characters full of guts and moxy, with their land playing a huge role in their stories, just like Liz and her beloved vineyard: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, partly set on a vineyard, and The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo, set in an olive orchard. On my "to read" list is a much older book, Oh! Pioneers by Willa Cather, about a woman who inherits the family farmland and devotes her life to making the farm a viable enterprise. She sounds like my Liz, only Liz didn't inherit her land, she aquired it when her husband walked out, and she is determined to keep it and prove him wrong.