3 out of 4 stars
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The monotony of everyday life can certainly diminish one’s joie de vivre. Anna is beginning to feel the strains of taking care of two children while her workaholic husband spends very little time showing his appreciation for all that Anna does. Anna loves Douglas deeply, and after fifteen years of marriage, she is still committed to keeping the spark in their marriage alive despite the wall Douglas continues to build. Anna’s desire to keep their love alive ends abruptly when she discovers a secret her husband has been keeping from her. In order to come to terms with the change in their relationship and determine what she wants to do about it, Anna takes a couple of weeks away from Douglas and her kids. While away from her family, a man from her past reemerges in her life and sparks a passion that didn’t come nearly as easily with Douglas. The Dandelion Bouquet by Renee Jurkiewicz is the story of Anna’s struggle to find the right path to take for herself, for her children, and for the two men in her life.
Right from the beginning, the reader is introduced to Renee’s philosophical and poetic style of writing. Her descriptions of Anna’s emotions are profound, touching, and genuine. Although I have not been through all of the things Renee highlights as being struggles for Anna, I found her emotions and thought processes on issues I could relate to very much in sync with how I’ve felt in the past. Although Anna makes decisions that made me upset at times, the choices she makes are realistic. I imagine any middle-aged woman with children who has felt the burden of parenthood and marriage could easily relate to Anna.
What I found hard to understand was Jacob’s return to Anna’s life. His behavior toward her is not romantic, as I surmise the author intended it to be. Rather than manifesting as unrequited love, which could come across as sweet and endearing, Jacob’s feelings for Anna result in actions one would expect from a stalker. This veered far from what I was expecting based on the summary of the book and Jacob’s declared feelings for Anna. In addition to my confusion and dislike for Jacob’s behavior, I was none too impressed with Anna’s feelings for Jacob. The two only knew one another as children; they had never developed an adult relationship prior to their reunion. As a result of that, the feelings that they so strongly based on their past together didn’t make much sense. Also, Anna’s original commitment to her marriage and her family seem to just be washed away with Jacob’s appearance. Truthfully, Jacob is someone Anna doesn’t even know, yet they both act as if they have a long history together.
Aside from Anna’s relationships with Douglas and Jacob, her relationships with her family members are also central to the story. Anna is very close to her sisters and her mother; the support they lend to one another is inspiring and beautiful. Anna learns to truly appreciate the love her mother has for her as the story progresses. With each barrier that Anna encounters in her search to decide what she really wants, her family steadfastly stands by her side. Renee’s poetic nature highlights these relationships beautifully.
Sadly, Renee has passed away, and it is her son who had The Dandelion Bouquet published. I think Renee’s writing is true poetry, and I wish she could read this to know how wonderful I think her writing style is. The way she describes Anna’s emotions are unique and lovely. Despite my concerns about the way Anna and Jacob’s relationship rekindles and the dire need for a professional editor, Renee’s writing style is worth 3 out of 4 stars. This is a beautifully written book about the hardships of marriage and family. For any woman who struggles to find happiness in the seemingly mundane activities that can overwhelm one’s life, this is a great book. As should be obvious from my description of the book, The Dandelion Bouquet will not be enjoyable to those who are offended by characters who engage in extra-marital affairs.
The dandelion bouquet
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