Title: Out of the Blue Bouquet
Authors: Hallee Bridgeman, Alana Terry, Carol Moncado, Chautona Havig, Amanda Tru
Series: Crossroads Collection
Major Themes: Korea
Synopsis: These five stories all fit together, although they are all very different.
This is a fun collection of stories that all have a common theme. The first one, Courting Calla, is a low-key romance with a hint of a mystery. Calla’s car quits running as she gets to work, and the man she has secretly had a crush on ever since she began working at Dixon Contracting comes to her rescue. This, and a mis-delivered bouquet, puts Calla in contact with Ian—but she can’t tell him about the major problem she has in her life. When she is arrested in front of him at the airport, she knows it will be the end of their relationship. I loved watching the ups and downs in their relationship, and learning what the mystery was behind Calla’s life. This was a very good story, and I was thankful that the kisses weren’t described in much detail.
Seoul in Love is the second book, written by one of my newly-discovered favorite authors, Alana Terry. I have read three of her books now, and loved all three. This one tells the story of Jolene, who traveled to Seoul to be a bridesmaid in her deceased daughter’s best friend’s wedding, and bumped into her ex-husband, who was there on a work trip. This chance encounter, brought about by a mis-delivered bouquet, sent both of them into turmoil. Joseph and Jolene found themselves on quite a journey during the two days covered in this book, and you will learn a lot about dealing with your past and forgiving others as you follow them through a foreign country. As they ask some hard questions of themselves, you might find yourself asking the same questions.
The third book is A Kærasti for Clari, by Carol Moncado. Apparently, kærasti is Icelandic for boyfriend. One of the fun aspects of this story is the frequent Icelandic terms; although the book is set in an imaginary place, many real places on Earth are referred to. Joel is a Yfir (Uber?) driver, and when he delivers a bouquet to a woman who works in the palace, he ends up driving her all over the city and up into the hills to her grandparent’s cabin on a treasure hunt. Along the way, both Joel and Clari realize they are learning to like each other quite a lot. I consider this story to be pretty much fluff; there wasn’t a lot of substance to it, but it was a fun read. There was a mystery mentioned that I wonder if the author will elaborate on in a future book; it was just left hanging in this story.
Premeditated Serendipity, by Chautona Havig, is the fourth book in the series. Reid is working hard as a chef to pay off his school debts and stay clear of the law after time in jail. He is also spending time every day in the community’s prayer room, where he gets to know Kelsey. Meanwhile, Wayne, Fairbury’s florist, is trying to figure out how to push Reid to admit that he likes Kelsey. When he hears about his niece Brooke’s mistake, he has an inspiration…. There was a lot to love in this story. I’ll have to admit that one part of it struck a rather raw nerve, when Kelsey told about how her 16-year-old brother had died because of experimenting with something he was curious about. That brought up the subject of forgiveness, which was illustrated very clearly here. I loved watching the mystery in the story grow and be solved—so well done!
The last book in the set, and the one that ties all the others together, is Out of the Blue Bouquet, by Amanda Tru. She was a new author to me, and I enjoyed this story very much. The first part of it had a lot of comical moments. Brooke and her co-worker had been left to run the floral shop for the day, and somehow they bungled all the orders. When an irate man came in to complain that every one of the multiple girlfriends he had for the entire past year had received a bouquet from him, Brooke knew she was in trouble. And then, he demanded that she make it right with all of them. What a circus! And then, by the end of the day, he was looking at her in a different way—one she didn’t want to think about. The main theme of this story seems to be trust—being able to trust God that He didn’t make a mistake when he made you just the way you are. It was very good to watch Brooke learning what she needed to. I also loved the way this story mentions people and incidents from the other stories.
Out of the Blue Bouquet is truly a collection unlike any others. I loved the way the stories all tied together; that was masterfully done by some very good authors. The lessons that are brought out in the stories are well worth reading, as well. For example, one quote I liked was from the last book. Brooke told Dylan, “The search for satisfaction and happiness is an issue that everyone struggles with, just maybe not in the same way.”
WARNING: There were some intense kisses in a few of the books.