‘The Last Tale of the Flower Bride’: I wish this had worked for me

May 15, 2023

TITLE: The Last Tale of the Flower Bride
AUTHOR: Roshani Chokshi
GENRE: Gothic/Mystery
AGE RANGE: Adult
PAGES: 289pg
PUBLISHER: William Morrow

Once upon a time, a man who believed in fairy tales married a beautiful, mysterious woman named Indigo Maxwell-Casteñada. He was a scholar of myths. She was heiress to a fortune. They exchanged gifts and stories and believed they would live happily ever after—and in exchange for her love, Indigo extracted a promise: that her bridegroom would never pry into her past.

But when Indigo learns that her estranged aunt is dying and the couple is forced to return to her childhood home, the House of Dreams, the bridegroom will soon find himself unable to resist. For within the crumbling manor’s extravagant rooms and musty halls, there lurks the shadow of another girl: Azure, Indigo’s dearest childhood friend who suddenly disappeared. As the house slowly reveals his wife’s secrets, the bridegroom will be forced to choose between reality and fantasy, even if doing so threatens to destroy their marriage . . . or their lives.

Combining the lush, haunting atmosphere of Mexican Gothic with the dreamy enchantment of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, The Last Tale of the Flower Bride is a spellbinding and darkly romantic page-turner about love and lies, secrets and betrayal, and the stories we tell ourselves to survive.

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You said: “If you pry, you’ll destroy our marriage.” But oh, my love, you lied.

I’m disappointed to say that I didn’t enjoy The Last Tale of the Flower Bride until the final 15-20%, and even then, it never redeemed itself from a dreary, bland start and characters that I found it impossible to care about.

We start off with the bridegroom’s POV as we learn how he and Indigo came to marry, and it is a painfully instantaneous romance that holds no chemistry or depth whatsoever. Instead of character development, the narrative was comprised primarily of one fairytale reference after another, and I felt like I was being beaten over the head with blunt metaphors. As someone who typically loves purple prose, this was a rare experience in which the writing veered far past whimsical and into the territory of downright pretentiousness for me.

After a bit, the story begins to alternate between the bridegroom and Azure, his wife’s childhood friend, and while the plot developing within her segments was far more interesting, I struggled with the fact that the writing did not differ in any way whatsoever between their inner monologues.

On top of the previous issues mentioned, I feel obligated to mention how predictable the twist was; I literally guessed it within the first 10% of the book, even down to the outline of how it played out in the end. I typically don’t knock off stars for predictability because I know I’m the type of reader who guesses twists often, and that doesn’t always act as a negative against the writing; still, in this case, it only added to my boredom. I would have set this book aside early on, if not for the fact that I became determined to see if I had guessed correctly.

It genuinely hurts me to write this review because The Last Tale of the Flower Bride held so much potential and I think, in another writer’s hands, it could have been a perfect read for me, but the writing is what held this story back in every possible way. I can fully understand how this book has been popular with so many readers in the brief time since it was released, and I expect it will find a great deal more fans from here on, but unfortunately, I’m not one of them.

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy! All thoughts are honest and my own.

content warnings →
WARNINGS (click to expand):

toxic friendships and relationships, abuse (physical, mental, emotional, and sexual), pedophilia, assault, brief gore, an injury resulting in blindness, terminal illness, murder, attempted murder

representation →

Indigo, Azure, and Tati are BIPOC (no specific mentions of their ethnicities, one brief mention of Azure being uncertain of her ethnicity)

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More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a children's librarian/horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, grad school, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

3 Comments
    1. Gosh, your rating surprised me, as I’ve heard a lot of great things about this book. I wait for this to come to paperback

    1. Don’t mind me reading this through closed fingers 😭😭 I think I’m neutral towards purple prose and liked what we had in the book. I only figured out the just before it happened lol 😄

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