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» » Ella in Bloom
Ella in Bloom

Ella in Bloom

Shelby Hearon
PDF book size:
1359 kb
ePub book size:
1608 kb
Fb2 book size:
1915 kb
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4.3 of 5
Thorndike Pr (May 1, 2001)
Genre Fiction
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Ella in Bloom by Shelby Hearon
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Living in the shadow of her "perfect" older sister and her mother's continuous disapproval, Ella rediscovers her own value when she is reunited with the man who had once been an object of rivalry between her sister and herself.
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7 Reviews
  • In Texas, the two sisters, Terrell and Ella grew up under a steel magnolia of a mother who believed decorum and appearances are more important than substance. The older sibling Terrell learned quickly how to please their mama who places elegance and etiquette ahead of everything else in life. The younger of them Ella never really learned that lesson as she ran off with a man beneath the acceptable social line of her mother.

    Now a widow, Ella sends letters filled with lies to mama about her refined lifestyle. In reality, Ella does not want to deal with further condemnation if she told the truth about her life as a single mom to a teen watering the flowers not leisurely growing them. The dynamics of the relationships between the three women abruptly change when Terrell dies in a plane crash. Mama turns to Ella, who has become acceptable. However, Ella begins to question who she is and if being in the fold as the new "perfect" daughter is what she really wants from her life.

    Shelby Hearon is known for her numerous domestic tranquillity novels especially involving the frailty of relationships even in marriage. Her latest Southern drama is populated by strong characterizations including the male cast which turns a cotton candy plot into a well written, warm tale. ELLA IN BLOOM provides a message that the wise learn: that to live you "got to please yourself" (Stephen Stills) or become a mental and emotional puppet. Ms. Hearon's philosophy inside the sugar and honey works for readers who relish a pleasant cutesy finding oneself drama.

    Harriet Klausner

  • Light. Water. Love. These are elements a plant needs - in just the right amount - to flourish. And this is the motif of Shelby Hearon's new novel, "Ella in Bloom," her 15th to date.
    Ella waters plants for a living. She lives with her 14-year-old daughter, Birdie, a budding cellist. They dwell in a scruffy, run-down duplex in rain-drenched Old Metairie, Louisiana.
    Raised in East Texas, Ella has happily settled away from her professor father and hard-to-please mother, both genteel Southern folks.
    The novel opens with Ella writing a letter to her mother. Attempting to match her mother's own "cultivated garden," Ella invents one of her own, an elaborate rose garden, researched from out-of-print rose catalogs, with the intention of fooling overly genteel Mother into believing she is, well, better off than she actually is.
    Her ruse grows more difficult, however, when Ella is called home for a birthday party. Having recently lost her older and "more" perfect sister, Ella is forced to take a new position in the family.
    Returning to East Texas, the roots of her past intermingle. She meets up with her sister's husband, Red, a lawyer and mourning widower. While the family gathering rekindles nostalgic flames of mutual adoration between Red and Ella, the passions and deceptions of three generations, parents, lost lovers and kids comingle. From the ashes of loss, new blossoms form and grow anew.
    The novel is satisfying on many layers, from the top soil on down. Hearon effectively roots out the suffocating "niceties" that segregate people, classes and generations. The novel is not all "heavy," but unfolds nicely with rich detail, all-too-human characters, and intelligent dialog.
    She effectively depicts the existential quandary of protecting our parents from the harsh truth about our lives.
    In a poignant and ironic moment, Ella realizes that not only has she been fabricating "gardens" to her own mother, but her mother, in turn, had been doing the same.
    She holds father's big hands into her own and says, "It's all right," I told him. "It's all right." And I sat with him like that, silent and sickened by the knowledge of how each generation lied to the next."

  • I work part-time in a bookstore so every now and then, while shelving books, I will find a sleeper (not one of the best sellers you find on the plexi at the front of the store) that sparks my interest. This is my first novel by Shelby Hearon but not my last. I loved the characters in ELLA IN BLOOM. Ella is lovely. A little lost but very real. In her eyes she has gone through life in second place--the younger daughter falling in love with her older sister's cast-off boyfriend who gave her nothing but an interesting daughter, Birdie. I like how the story works. Hearon is successful at developing the sexual chemistry between Ella and her man (who I won't name here because I don't want to spoil it for you). This novel won't disappoint you.

  • I had heard great things about "Ella in Bloom" by Shelby Hearon. I had heard what a great book - wonderful characters - gripping story. Everything. So, I gave it a shot.
    It started off really great - I was interested. Getting to know the characters, learning the story - appreciating the language and prose. I was moving right alone and then it just started to get stale. About half to three-quarters of the way, I was bored. It just didn't move along anymore. I kept waiting for the next big crisis or climax. Never happened.
    I think this book could have been great - perhaps more help with the ending would have really saved it. I was disappointed - a shame really, since it started off so wonderful.

  • Nobody can create a loveable character like Shelby Hearon. This is the story of Ella, the little sister who feels she can never measure up to her perfect older sister, Terrell. ..., this family built on carefully woven lies begins to unravel. For Ella, with this unraveling, comes truth, love and revelation. This was a beautifully written book that I pulled a late nighter to finish. Ms. Hearon's descriptions of the rose gardens were awesome. You could literally see and smell the roses in Ella's "imaginary" garden (which is a tale in itself). I also highly recommend all of Ms. Hearon's books. She gets better with each successive novel!