In The Light of Hidden Flowers by Jennifer Handford, we are introduced to a touching and realistic relationship between a father and his daughter. Melissa Fletcher works with her father who she admires for his ability to garner trust and friendship with his clients. His of memory allows him to draw upon background information that helps solidify their trust. Melissa herself is more quiet and serene, working behind the scenes at their business helping to guide both her father and the others who work in their financial offices.
As her father’s memory begins to falter, Melissa tries to help as much as she can. When his clients also begin to notice the decline, their trust begins to falter. Leaving the more demanding tasks of the business to his closest partner, Melissa can only do her best to help her father through the ravages of Alzheimer’s. She’s never wanted to become primary manager of the firm but it is thrust upon her when he passes.
When she finds a letter from him, meant to sooth her, she is only further troubled. For on one hand he praises her for being dutiful and yet he also scolds her for not taking risks. Unable to put his words aside, Melissa heads for Italy where she meets a young woman who suggests a very radical idea.
Melissa soon finds herself in India, searching for herself while putting together a plan of redemption and reconnecting with a lost love. Is her search really the answer to her father’s dream or her own? She must pursue her dreams and take the risks that have always felt so out of bounds. Can she overcome her insecurities and become the woman her father dreamed her to be, and can she come to terms with her own dismay at his words?
Handford takes us into the psyche of a young woman who has grown up in a sheltered world and been in the background of her father’s life, unwilling to move from the protection. When she is thrust from her comfort zone and forced to face the world on her own she must draw from within to find what she finally understands is missing. Yet she must deal with anger and pain, self-doubt and insecurity pushing her own internal boundaries.
The story of love, loss and growth is well written and grabs you from the beginning. You endure the heartache of the loss of a loved one and the journey of redemption. There is a great reminder that it’s never to late to follow our dreams.
If you enjoy contemporary fiction with threads of growth and loss, love and light, and an overall moral of determination you will find this a great work for your library. The beauty of thought leaves you searching your own dreams.
This would be a great look for a Book Club or reading group. The idealism and questions garnered would create solid dialogue.