Flowers of Darkness by Tatiana de Rosnay – Book Review

Synopsis:  Clarissa is a 60-something year old author living in Paris who has recently left her second husband and is desperate to find an apartment.  Several years previously Paris, London and Venice had been the victim of attacks and landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Sistine Chapel and Big Ben no longer exist.  Climate change has caused extreme heat waves and the extinction of insects, birds and bees.  Clarissa eventually finds a “smart apartment” in a high-rise whose residents are all artists.  She moves in immediately but soon starts to regret her impetuous decision when she finds cameras in almost every room, is required to take special vitamins and submit to a medical check each day and a virtual assistant who is annoying and intrusive. She confides her fears to her 14-year-old granddaughter who tries to help Clarissa find some answers.

My thoughts/What I Liked:

  • A story where the protagonist is neither a young adult, a 40-55 year old or an octogenarian.  It is rare to find a book where the protagonist is a woman in her 60’s.
  • The realistic narrative of what climate change has wrought.
  • I found the descriptions of the smart apartment very intriguing.

My thoughts/What I Didn’t Like:

  • Clarissa signs a legal agreement to rent prior to reading it.  A few days later once she is concerned about her privacy and is fearful, she decides to read the contract and the regulations at that point.  Really?????
  • The recklessness of Clarissa putting her grandchild in danger.  If she was that terrified of living in the apartment, she could have moved out immediately into temporary lodging until she could find another apartment.
  • So many loose threads were not explained by the end of the book. 

I gave this book 3/5 stars.  I liked the premise but I think there are just too many problems with the storyline to give it a higher rating. Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  This book is now available at North American booksellers.

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