Title: A Bouquet of Love
Author: Monique Mulligan , Teena Raffa-Mulligan, Glennys Marsdon, Bree Verity , P.L. Harris, Louisa West, Barbara Gurney, Ilona Krueger , Claire Boston & Carolyn Wren .
Published: April 28th 2017
Publisher: Serenity Press
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Short Stories, Australian, Romance
Rating: 4.5 stars
Ten couples not looking for love find something unexpected when they visit Serendipity Bridal Boutique, Kate Peron’s vintage-styled salon. Love is in the air and it’s about to blow into their lives, bringing fortunate accidents of the heartfelt variety to those lucky enough to walk through Serendipity’s doors.
A man comes to Eagle Point to stop a wedding. A magazine editor finds herself in a cheesy situation. A different kind of bride takes to the catwalk. Readers will be swept away by this bouquet of stories from ten Australian authors – stories of healing and second chances, of opening hearts and minds, of souls connecting and remembering, of temptation and desire. Life and love in Eagle Point has never been more challenging … or fun!
From cupcake wielding assassins to hilarious blind date set-ups, there’s something for everyone in this delightfully romantic collection that proves there can never be too much ado about love.
Serendipity Bridal, a vintage bridal shop situated on a trendy cafe strip in the fictional coastal West Australian town of Eagle Point, is the gel that binds together the stories selected to appear in an anthology titled A Bouquet of Love. The ten unique stories contained in this book are by a collection of ten diverse Australian female authors, who have combined their talents to produce this brand new release from Serenity Press.
The ten authors featured in A Bouquet of Love were issued with a challenge, they were each asked to write a romance filled short story, featuring the same premises, Serendipity Bridal Boutique. The authors were able to include pre set key characters such as owner Kate, designer Kyle and shop assistant Vanessa but they were also able to create their own characters. The result is a set of memorable tales that perfectly encapsulates the whole bridal shop experience. A Bouquet of Love most importantly captures the romance but also the anticipation, happiness, fun, organisation, disappointment and even the uncomfortable parts that go hand in hand with weddings – think six inch heels!
Wedding lovers will be sure to rejoice in reading this truly romantic collection. For me, the stories in this book allowed me to relive moments from my own wedding preparations, to my turn at being a bridesmaid and the memories I have of attending friends or family members weddings. Aside from the great memories this anthology managed to conjure from my reading experience, expect to laugh (thanks to Teena Raffa’s brave male bride), be shocked (Carolyn Wren’s cupcake debacle) and sob your heart out (thanks for the forewarning Barbara Gurney). There is even a gem of a story that cleverly references my favourite Shakespeare play, Much Ado About Nothing. Expect to also be dazzled by a range of diverse characters and different relationship scenarios, from the beauty of mature love, second chances in love, same sex love and Cinderella style love. In this book, love is definitely all around for the customers, as well as the workers of Serendipity Bridal. Contained with each story are the resounding themes of family, life, love, romance and self discovery. A Bouquet of Love draws our attention to how weddings have the power to incorporate not only the bride and groom but also the family, friends and the venders who work hard to ensure the big day is a success. When you reach the final and pivotal story in this collection about Serendipity’s owner Kate, who was only a background character for the bulk of the book, A Fortunate Accident gives this character a chance to shine. The last story also shows us how all these stories may be different but they share a common link. I guarantee a smile will reach your face by the time this collection meets its close, as hardworking Kate finally gets her own happily ever after. When I reached the end of A Bouquet of Love although I got the sense that the wedding party celebrations may be over, the romantic experiences I gained from being a part of each of these ten special tales was especially heart-warming.
Both as a contributor and as an editor of this anthology, Monique Mulligan should be praised for her work on A Bouquet of Love. Alongside Serenity Press owner and business partner Karen McDermott, Monique Mulligan manages to bring out the best in all the stories chosen to feature in this novel and tie them together neatly in a consistent bow. The setting, characterisation and general storyline, all seem to slip together in a precise fashion. A Bouquet of Love sure worked its magic on me – as I am not a fan of short story collections but this anthology has managed to convert me! With the success of this anthology, I look forward to the next romance fiction anthology – Destination Romance by Serenity Press, which is set to head our way next year.
*I wish to thank the publisher, Serenity Press, for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
A Bouquet of Love by Serenity Press was published in April 2017 by Serenity Press. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
Learn more about Serenity Press here.