Violet’s Vow, by Jenny Knipfer, is book two in the Botanical Seasons Novella series. This story focuses on Violet, the owner of flower shop, Fragrant Sentiments. She recently lost her husband and is searching for answers to how and why he died. This is a nice short story to read. I especially enjoyed catching up on the characters from the first novella in this series. I enjoyed reading of the different flowers. This story is has so much written into it. A childhood friend returns, Violet has a secret admirer and her sister comes to visit. Even with the bad timing of her sister’s visit, something good comes from it. I enjoyed the friendship Violet and Holly shared as well and the friendship that builds between Violet and Holly’s uncle. This story contains mystery as well as romance and is very easy to read.
I voluntarily received a complimentary copy of this story from the author. This is my honest review.
About the Book:
“Author Jenny Knipfer made the 1890s come alive; the characters all seem real and the plot so believable. It is a must-read for all romantics, Victorian-era historical fiction lovers, and anyone who just enjoys a good book!” five-star review, byTrudi LoPreto for Readers’ Favorite
A springtime novella of a secret love and a passionate vow
In the late 1890s, intuitive flower shop owner Violet Brooks opens up her heart and business to the Moore family but yet has vowed to get justice for her deceased husband, Roger, whom she believed had died as a result of bucking the Moore lumber company.
Handsome lumberbaron Devon Moore frequents Violet’s shop with his niece, Holly, who’s preparing for her upcoming wedding. Running the shop herself after her husband’s death a year prior exhausts Violet, so she hires Holly, surprising herself by hoping to have more chances for her path to cross with Devon’s.
In the meantime, a secret admirer leaves Violet messages in the language of flowers. Her heart blossoms to the sentiments within.
She’s torn between her growing attraction for Devon and her admirer, or are they one in the same?
Journalist Frankie Dermot, an old classmate and flame of Violet’s, comes back to town. Violet enlists his help in her search for the truth about Roger’s death. But when they uncover who’s really responsible for her husband’s passing one year prior, Violet is shocked.
Will Violet shut herself off from newfound love, or will she allow her past vow to her deceased husband to dictate her future and keep her from the man who wins her heart?
Readers of Christian historical fiction and Christian historical romance with a twist of mystery will find their hearts set aflutter by Violet’s tale of discovering romance and be inspired by her path to grace.
“Knipfer has created intriguing plots in previous books and this one is no exception. Readers are sure to enjoy this sweet historical tale filled with mystery, interesting twists and mercy.” Dawn Kinzer, inspirational author of The Daughters of Riverton series
Barnes and Noble:
Libraries and retailers can purchase wholesale on Ingram
About the author:
Jenny lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Ken, and their pet Yorkie, Ruby. She is also a mom and loves being a grandma. She enjoys many creative pursuits but finds writing the most fulfilling.
Spending many years as a librarian in a local public library, Jenny recently switched to using her skills as a floral designer in a retail flower shop. She is now retired from work due to disability. Her education background stems from psychology, music, and cultural missions.
All of Jenny’s books have earned five-star reviews from Readers’ Favorite, a book review and award contest company. She holds membership in the: Midwest Independent Booksellers Association, Wisconsin Writers Association, Christian Indie Publishing Association, and Independent Book Publishers Association.
Jenny’s favorite place to relax is by the western shore of Lake Superior, where her novel series, By The Light of the Moon, is set.
She deems a cup of tea and a good book an essential part of every day. When not writing, Jenny can be found reading, tending to her many houseplants, or piecing quilt blocks at her sewing machine.
Her new historical fiction, four-part series entitled, Sheltering Trees, is set in the area Jenny grew up in, where she currently lives, and places along Minnesota’s Northern Shore, where she loves to visit. She is currently writing a four-part novella series entitled: Botanical Seasons and working a series of retold fairy tales.
Keep current with Jenny by visiting her website at https://jennyknipfer.com/ Ways to connect with Jenny via social media, newsletter, and various book sites can be found on her website, or visit the following links.
Facebook group, Journeying with Jenny:
Fluffing out the head of the peach-colored carnation in her hand, an envy built in Violet for the simplicity of the clove-scented flower. But although the fragrance held sweetness, carnations were said to have sprung up from Mary’s tears along the path Jesus trod as He carried His cross. And thus, it was a divine flower, birthed in passion.
Though far removed from what the Lord suffered, Violet knew a bit about spent passion and wondered if her hopes and dreams would end up buried with Roger. She brought the ruffled carnation petals to her nose, closing her eyes and breathing deeply. The spicy scent reminded her of the aftershave he had worn.
Dear Rodger—her best friend, confidant, and husband. She conjured his rugged yet handsome face in her mind: wide-set, brown eyes, a heavy brow, and deep lines around his mouth, from too many days in the sun. How she missed him still. Though his passing had been over a year ago, in some ways, it seemed like yesterday. They had been such good companions, interested in the same things, but Violet hadn’t really considered them to be a love match. Theirs had been more a union of like minds, and oddly enough, their relationship had satisfied them both.
The bell tinkled on the shop door, and Violet stood to attention, rolling her eyes open to see who had entered her domain—Fragrant Sentiments. She and Roger had worked so hard to establish the flower shop, providing most of the cut flowers from their three greenhouses and multiple gardens. It had been full-time work just growing the flowers, let alone selling them, until they had hired Webster, a young man unafraid of hard work and eager to learn more about gardening. The three of them had made a happy team. However, they were three no longer, and the workload, at times, overwhelmed her. Whether she could keep the business afloat without Roger remained to be seen.
Violet keenly missed Roger’s presence in the shop. Oddly enough for a man, he’d had an eye for design and arrangements of a grander scale, while it was the everyday bouquets that spoke to Violet. Her heart lay in the little treasures to brighten the home. She held to the philosophy that flowers should be an everyday part of a household, as much as tea or coffee were. Her Aunt Dahlia had often said that flowers were the morning drink of the soul, and Violet agreed.
Violet positioned the carnation next to some lilacs in a white, porcelain urn which held a half-arranged bouquet of flowers, destined for the funeral of a young woman. Finally focusing on her clientele, Violet’s gaze brushed over the tailored cut of the man’s light gray suit and the fine, couture lines of the light blue, silk dress the young woman wore. A loose pompadour style encapsulated her dark hair, and her dark brown eyes glistened like dewy centers of a rudbeckia.
The woman smiled, easy and sincere, showing straight teeth. “A good morning to you, ma’am. My, it smells so lovely in here.”
She turned her head left and right, taking in the shop displays and buckets of flowers.
Violet offered a slight curve of her lips in return. “Thank you.”
A tinge of envy nudged at Violet. She had lost that sense of identifying an overpowering, welcoming fragrance upon entering the flower shop some time ago, and she missed it. Her nose had gotten used to so many flowers in one space.
The young woman loosened the blue, velvet pouch dangling from her wrist and pulled out a calling card. “I’m Miss Holly Moore, and this is my uncle, Mr. Devon Moore.”
She flipped her wrist in the man’s direction. He smiled, sincere as well but with a hint of something else altogether. Sadness perhaps. Upon that intuition, Violet instinctively glimpsed his spirit as a purple hyacinth, holding regret and sorrow. She had a way about her, for matching flowers to people.
Inclining his head ever so slightly, he said, “Ma’am,” in an airy but not unmasculine voice.
Reaching out to take the card, Violet said, “Why, good day. I’m Mrs. Violet Brooks. How may I be of service to you?”
Violet stood along with her customers and said, as she walked them to the door, “I’m sure I’ll be seeing you again soon. Thank you so much for stopping in and for your business. I look forward to creating something special for your wedding, Miss Moore.”
Extending her hand, Violet shook Miss Moore’s.
Miss Moore flashed another winning smile Violet’s way. “It is I who should thank you for your expertise. I will inform you as soon as I can about my availability. Good day.”
With a spring in her step, she walked out of the shop door, which Mr. Moore held open.
Still leaning against the door, he caught Violet’s gaze. “Forgive my saying so, but you seem the semblance of your namesake.”
He cleared his throat and dropped his gaze a second, as if repenting of speaking.
Violet did see herself as reserved and holding a quiet beauty, of a kind, which the botanical violet was said to be known for. Roger had always said so.
She took Mr. Moore’s words as a compliment—though Violet would rather have been perceived as something more exotic than the modest and humble violet—and replied simply, “Why, thank you.”
He lifted his forget-me-not eyes again and tipped his head toward her. “Not at all.” A reserved smile arched his lips. “Good day, Mrs. Brooks.”
He turned and left, closing the door softly behind him, leaving a whiff of clove and bergamot behind him.
Through the glass panes of the front window, Violet watched niece and uncle amble away from the shop, arm in arm. Not one to form attachments easily, a slight sadness picked at Violet.
It would be nice to have the cheery company of Miss Moore in the shop, she decided, and she began to hope Miss Moore’s fiancé would agree to their employment scheme.
Expelling a large breath, Violet turned and walked back to her worktable to finish the arrangement she’d been making before the Moores had walked into Fragrant Sentiments, undeniably brightening her day. She whistled as she nestled carnations next to voluptuous branches of lilacs and pictured Mr. Moore’s forget-me-not eyes.
Just a little more… Violet stretched out her arm and groaned. She gripped the top of the ladder with one hand and worked at hanging a paper banner on a nail with her other, but she hadn’t positioned the ladder close enough.
“Oh, bother!” she growled out, as her foot slipped on the rung she stood on and the banner fluttered from her grasp.
“Here. Let me,” a deep voice said, startling her.
Concentrating so hard, Violet hadn’t heard anyone come into Fragrant Sentiments. She looked down from the five extra feet she stood at and spied Mr. Moore fishing for the looped string of the banner among the leaves of a Ficus tree.
He pulled it out. “Ah, ha!”
A warm smile lit up his face. A twinkle in his eye danced when he tipped his gaze up at Violet. Violet wobbled, as if she might slip again, but she gripped the ladder firmly with both hands.
“Thanks so much, but I think I need to move the ladder over a bit. My arm is too short,” she told him before she backed down the ladder with care.
When she set her feet on the floor, she extended her hand for the end of the banner.
However, Mr. Moore held it fast. “No, no. You must allow me.” And before Violet could protest, Mr. Moore shifted the ladder over and climbed up it, like a man half his age. He hung the end of the banner on the nail without incident. “There.”
He sounded satisfied and came back down.
But instead of being grateful, annoyance simmered in her heart. Violet hadn’t asked for his help, and she certainly didn’t need it.
“Thanks,” she squeaked out.
He looked up at the banner. “A big sale, huh?”
In stenciled letters, Violet had spelled out, “All flowers here 30% off,” on the pennant-shaped flaps of the banner.
“I’m trying to get through some product before it expires.”
He looked back at her, concern lowering his eyebrows. “Don’t you have a cooler?”
“I do, but it’s just a small, insulated room that I keep blocks of ice in. The temperature of the space is difficult to control.”
“I see.” Mr. Moore smiled again, and Violet repented of her less than kind thoughts about him. “I was in Chicago not long ago and stopped at a flower shop that boasted an electric cooler.”
Again, irritation rubbed at Violet, like an itchy collar. “I could never afford such a thing. It must be terribly expensive.”
In truth, she and Roger had discussed investing in an electric air cooler to keep the flowers fresh, but in the end, they had both determined it to be too costly and too much of a risk.
“Yes. I suppose they must be.” Mr. Moore’s warm tone wavered, likely due to the starchy way Violet had responded to the mention of the cooler. He looked down at the tips of his shiny, brown shoes. “I don’t mean to take up your time, Mrs. Brooks, but I told Holly I would get this to you.”
With eyes full of unasked questions, he focused on Violet momentarily before pulling a small, handwritten notecard out of the inner pocket of his casual, taupe suit jacket. He held it out to her.
Taking the note from him, their fingers brushed, and Violet pulled back too quickly, sending the note to the floor. “Oh, dear. Nothing wants to stay within my clasp this morning.”
Violet’s hand fluttered to the hollow of her neck. He must think I’m a clumsy lout.
Mr. Moore stooped down and retrieved the note from the floor.
“I can’t imagine why,” he told her, placing it in her open palm with a light touch.
Violet’s fingers folded around the thick, linen, cream-colored cardstock, a distinctive warmth kissing her wispy hairline at the back of her neck at his veiled compliment. “Thank you. Do give my regards to your niece.”
He stood still, watching her for a few seconds, then continued. “Should I wait while you open it? In case you’d like to send a response?”
What is the matter with me? I need a second cup of tea.
Violet fumbled with the seal and opened the note, reading through it quickly, trying not to squirm under Mr. Moore’s intent observation of her.
The note relayed that Miss Moore would be available to work immediately up to the week of her wedding and could start again the week following, if such was agreeable to Violet. Tucking the note back in the envelope, Violet wondered just who was hiring whom. Miss Moore seemed to have arranged things and assumed Violet would hire her, with few to no questions asked. Violet hadn’t imagined finding anyone so swiftly, but she knew she needed help, and who better than sweet Miss Moore?
Clearing her throat, Violet said, “You may tell Miss Moore that I’ll expect her first thing Monday morning. Eight O’clock sharp. We’ll discuss other details at that time.”
Mr. Moore smiled, and Violet noticed how his eyes crinkled at the corners. The creases made him look even more distinguished.
“Holly will be so pleased,” he replied. “She deserves to be happy.”
“Don’t we all?”
The question slipped out, a whispered thought, before Violet could take it back. Why did she so often speak without thinking first? It dismayed Violet. It was a habit she had not grown out of.
Mr. Moore tipped his head back and laughed. “Well, we’d all like to think so, wouldn’t we?” Then he turned serious. “Now, I must go, but I’ll leave my card with you.”
With his middle and pointer finger, he plucked a business card out of the breast pocket of his jacket, as gracefully as a card shark, and arched his arm to give it to Violet.
She took it and forced herself to smile. “Thank you.”
Mr. Moore tipped his hat. “I feel quite certain we’ll be seeing more of each other, Mrs. Brooks.”
He left before Violet could decide whether she agreed with him or not.
She threw up her hands in mild frustration and went to organize the flowers in buckets under the sale sign, but try as she might, Violet could not clear her mind of thoughts about Mr. Devon Moore.
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