The Scent of White Lilacs
Jessie Salisbury
Contemporary Romance

Charlotte has been left alone. She spent years waiting for Kevin to propose marriage, but then Kevin died in a car crash. Now she has nothing left but her position as manager of an art supply store, and that may soon be for sale. What will she do then?

Malcolm, a well-respected attorney, buried his heart when his wife Rosalie died a lingering death from cancer. Now he has to cope with his teenage daughter, Leah, who blames him for her mother’s death, convinced he could have done more for her.

When Leah’s need for art supplies takes Malcolm to Charlotte’s shop, the attraction between them is obvious from the beginning. But there are many obstacles, including Charlotte’s need for a lawyer to deal with a lease, the purchase of the store, and vandalism. 

But if she retains Malcolm, what are the ethical questions that arise if they develop a relationship?

Uncaged Review: Charlotte FitzRoberts is a 36 year old manager of an art store. She had spent years waiting for Kevin to marry her only to for him to die in a car accident as he was speeding. In the opening she is staring at the ruined lilac bushes in her yard, comparing the damage a late winter storm did to the bushes to her life which has been torn apart with Kevin’s death. She had planned on using the lilacs as part of her wedding bouquet, only now there would be no wedding.
She realizes the chances of her marrying Kevin had decreased over the years. He had enjoyed being free, living his own life, never sharing her dreams, only good times where he made no promises. Being realistic, she knows he never would have married her, no matter how long she waited for him. The dream now dead, like her lilacs.
Charlotte gave up her dreams of being a painter to manage the art store for the past ten years. She loves what she does and thinks of the store as hers even though she is only the manager for an absentee owner.
Malcolm Carlsmythe is a lawyer whose wife died two years ago from cancer. His teenage daughter, Leah, still blames him for not keeping her mother alive, not understanding Rosalie had made the choice, not him, as to what treatment she was willing to accept. He meets Charlotte when he goes to get art supplies for Leah which a new art program has ordered for them. Some of the supplies aren’t in and he’ll need to come back for them. He finds himself attracted to Charlotte.
Leah is 17. She loves art, having learned to draw and paint from her mother. She is friends with her lab partner, Jeffery Short who helps her understand the lab work. The extra art class she is taking is offered a trip to Italy to visit various museums. She has her father pick up the supplies she needs at the Artist’s Loft where Charlotte works
A things move along, Malcolm becomes more attracted to Charlotte, Leah resists his moving forward while she and Jeffery embark on a science project for the science fair where she will do the drawings for his research. It isn’t until the owner of the store, Peggy Martell offers to sell the store to Charlotte things get more interesting. Malcom agrees to handle the sale for her. He finally admits his attraction to her. When the store is vandalized, he shunts the case off to a friend to purse her romantically.
Leah meets Charlotte and isn’t sure what to say to her about her father. She asks for help in contacting a local artist for help with the science project in painting feathers for the drawing of some ducks. She questions her father as to his intent where Charlotte is concerned, not fully understanding his answer.
As the book moves forward, the author continues to weave the various plot lines skillfully together until the end. It was a great book of second chances and coming of age for his daughter. Each chapter gave you a good reason to keep reading as you delve into their lives, watching Leah go from angry to accepting and Malcom and Charlotte moving into a relationship neither expected to find.
I loved this book and give it 5 stars with a recommendation to savor the well written story. Reviewed by Barbara

5 Stars