The Flower Girls

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 24 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

A thrilling read which kept me turning the pages, characters you care for and just brilliantly written.  Great novel!!
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The Flower Girls is anything but the sweet story of childhood innocence its title might suggest, as Alice Clark-Platt’s novel deals with the disturbing and highly emotive subject of child abduction and murder where the perpetrators were children themselves.

The Flower Girls is what the media dubbed sisters Laurel (10) and Primrose (6) after they went on trial for the murder of a child who went missing. Laurel ended up going to prison where she still is to this day, while Primrose was given a new identity. One that is now in danger of being exposed 19 years later when Hazel (fka Primrose) is away for New Year with her partner and his daughter and a little girl goes missing from the hotel where they’re all staying.

It’s clever of Alice Clark-Platt to not only place Hazel in the vicinity of this latest missing girl but in the exact same hotel as the child was staying with her parents, as it helps to provide a heightened sense of what Hazel’s life must have been like since she was given her new identity.

When guests are confined to the hotel, it brings home the claustrophobia and fear of detection Hazel has felt for the past 19 years, living under the dally threat of being found and exposed by those who either don’t believe she deserved to be given a second chance and/or who are looking for a scoop.

The danger of being exposed could also prove damaging to older sister Laurel’s upcoming case review before the parole board, and help re-ignite the campaign against her release.

By framing The Flower Girls’ story within the present-day missing child case, Alice Clark-Platt shows the raw emotions of everyone involved in the immediate aftermath of a child’s disappearance, how the situation evolves with every passing minute she remains unaccounted for, together with the longer term impact on those involved in such a polarising case. But she’s also able to look at how a sensational case that hit the headlines still resonates, and is raked over again with each new case that’s reported.

The author looks at it from every perspective: from family member to police officers to perpetrator to traumatised potential witness/bystander to the press and media right down to concerned members of the public together with those who are more voyeuristic or looking to profit from it.

The Flower Girls explores the role of nature/nurture, whether evil can be present in children so young, the age of criminal responsibility, the potential for rehabilitation in such cases or whether those involved need lifelong supervision or professional help to protect them and wider society, public opinion, and the media’s role in reporting these cases and how responsible they are for influencing public opinion with their headlines and at best insensitive, at worst often sensationalist, reporting.

Alice Clark-Platts mines a dark seam for her material and this is a difficult and uncomfortable read, whether or not you’re familiar with the cases mentioned. (I’d question if direct reference to existing real cases even needed to be made but they are, so it’s a moot point.) It might not provide the answers some readers will be looking for but I think it raises questions that are well worth considering and exploring and which could form the basis for a fascinating (book group) discussion.

The Flower Girls is a disturbing but strangely compelling story and I’ll be interested to see what Alice Clark-Platts does next.
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As much as I kept reading, I didn't find this book to be as complex or gripping as I wanted it to be. However, I enjoyed the closed setting and I think Alice Clark-Platts' writing was strong so I might still pick something up by her in the future.
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I enjoyed reading this book, at first I thought I had it all worked out - I was wrong! I loved how the story unfolded and although I had guessed one of the twists, I wasn't expecting the second!
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It took me a long time to get into this book and found the pace and quality of writing inconsistent - some parts were rushed and some parts seemed to trail off. I also felt that some parts of the story were far too far-fetched and unbelievable.  The ending was a little unsatisfying.
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I don't want to give any spoilers to this book as it will ruin the story. It was very thought provoking and I liked that the author didn't go into graphic detail, instead just enough to use your own imagination. A great read that I would recommend.
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I read this novel quite a while ago now so I’m embarrassed that I’ve somehow managed not to review it before now. I will say that despite the gap the novel is still really quite fresh in my mind so it shows it’s a book that really gets under your skin! This is about two sisters who murdered a young child when they were also young children. One of them was old enough to face trial and the other wasn’t. They’re now adults and Laurel is out of prison and trying to build a new life under her new identity. This all comes unstuck when she goes on holiday with her partner and a child goes missing from the hotel. This is such a brilliant novel that explores lots of angles to a case like this in a sensitive and thought-provoking way. I flew through the book because I was desperate to know what was going to happen in the end. I highly recommend this book if you haven’t already read it.
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Oh my goodness! Really enjoyed it, finished it in two sittings, was well and truly freaked by the ending and how good the characters were. Loved it!
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“The Flower Girls” by Alice Clark-Platts is an ominous and intricate story of two sisters. The intensity of the work leaves the reader submersed in the world of the of the sisters from the opening pages. The reader learns the two sisters, Laurel and Primrose aka Rosie aka Hazel Archer, have been involved with the murder of a 2-year-old baby, Kirstie Swan. I want to include the babies name as in the other reviews she is nameless. This is a reflection of our society; we focus on the perpetrators rather than remember and consider the victim.

While “The Flower Girls” could be classified as a police procedural, the police are the supporting characters. The driving force of this story, even when not present in the scene, is Hazel Archer. Initially, I felt sorry for her and wanted some kind of positive resolution for her but at the heart of the book, I began to feel decidedly unnerved by her. It’s nothing I can describe here without spoiling the ending but readers should be prepared to be uncomfortable.

I liked the “The Flower Girls” but I can’t say I enjoyed it. There seems to be an unfeigned malignancy always waiting for the right moment to snap.

I may only have rated the book 3 stars but it is better served at 3.5. My thanks to @netgalley for an ARC copy.
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This was such a taut, tension filled book I felt I was having to hold my breath. So cleverly written, layer upon layer of Rosie/Hazel slowly peeled away until the heart of her was revealed. The heartbreaking story around Laurel disturbed me almost as much as the murder of baby Kirstie. I empathised with Joanne, wanting to make things better for her beloved sister. I thought all the characters were well drawn and I wanted to take Uncle Toby home and look after him. The whole thing was great, right up until the end, where one element spoiled it for me. However, as I loved most of the book, and thought the writing was excellent with sharp dialogue, I will definitely be looking out for more of this author's work
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This was incrediable. I didnt know all too much about it going into it, as you can see the synopsis is pretty vague, and i totally urge you to not start looking all to into depth about it because i feel knowing very little was the best way. This was a netgalley review book but i would 100% buy this.

The Flower Girls, at one time everyone knew them, two young girls - one who was convincted of murder, the other too young to be charged. One given a whole new life, one who is stuck behind bars never having experienced real life.

Nineteen years later,  another child has gone missing and all hell breaks loose as the Flower Girls are brought back into the spotlight. Told as it intertwines the two sisters over time, we get chance to slightly glimpse at the girls over time, as girls and women.

This book opened up some many questions, it was brilliantly written - the ending was unexpected and left me thinking about the book for days after. Whilst this is only a short review, i dont want to ruin this read, its a case of read this and discover for yourself but i highly reccomend it!
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Good read although not sure I enjoyed the ending, kept me turning pages though so it redeems itself there...Would recommend!
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This made quite uncomfortable reading at times. The many references to brutal, real-life killers of children and the sinister undertones to it. I guessed the twist quite early on, but really hoped that right would be done in the end. However, the last few paragraphs added another, unseen twist, which left me hanging and feeling rather shuddery.

It was hard to feel much sympathy for any of the characters. All were flawed and it felt we only scratched the surface of them. Indeed, there were probably a couple of characters too many, but all in all I enjoyed the book and I suspect it will stay with me for a while.
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The Flower Girls is a disturbing, compulsive psychological thriller with a dark twist.  Whilst I am not keen on novels about child murder, in this novel the author keeps graphic detail to a minimum and presents a clever and we'll plotted story.
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I loved the atmosphere of this book. Reminiscent of Picnic at Hanging Rock with punchy characters and a cracking mystery.
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An excellent read and beautifully written with well-differentiated and convincing characters.. A twisty turny plot that was always believable and built the tension up brilliantly. No real red herrings and a few hints to the eventual ending, but a very satisfactory conclusion with the roast meat, caramelised vegetables and garlic taking us nicely full circle.
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Disturbing and scarily close to events that have happened in the news.  A great read, and sensitively handled subject matter.
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You ever finish a book and just think... huh. Cos that's me right now. I have absolutely no idea what rating to give this, but I need to talk about it, so here we are.I requested this ARC immediately after reading the blurb, I'm sure I've mentioned before, but I am a Basic Bitch™ and I love crime novels/investigations and here we are, a crime novel about killer children? You know I was going to be all over it.Was it an engaging read? Yes.Did it tantalise the A Level psychology in me? Yes.Did I enjoy it?... I don't know.  Here's the thing, I hate giving bad reviews and this isn't a bad book, it has just left me with thoughts.YOU'LL NEVER FORGET THE FLOWER GIRLSThe Flower Girls. Laurel and Primrose. One convicted of murder, the other given a new identity.Now, nineteen years later, another child has gone missing.And The Flower Girls are about to hit the headlines all over again...Let's break this down.This book is an engaging psychological exploration and there is plenty it does right. It's an addictive read, I desperately tore through the pages wanting to know what happened to Georgie, wanting to know if Hazel would remember what happened in 1997... Will we ever find out why these things happened?It did take up a lot of my brain space and as it frequently wove real life crimes in with these two fictional ones, it was dark and disturbing. Which crime novels need a good dose of.However...This book had too many POVs, some of which were fascinating, but others seemed a bit pointless. If it had just been Hilliar, Hazel, Laurel and Johanna I think it would have flowed better and we could have spent more time seeing how the Flower Girls incident affected and shaped each one of them.This book also left me with huge questions that I tried really hard to ignore. One character is being blackmailed, but the culprit doesn't make sense because of their circumstances. Another is to blame for the brief disappearance of a young girl, but the motivation behind it is never discussed. There aren't enough answers and the ending left me unsatisfied. Hence my conundrum. I don't know what star rating to go for. Because it was enjoyable and engrossing but also... Huh.Generally speaking this was an interesting premise with lots of promise, but ultimately it left me disappointed.
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The Flower Girls is the label applied by the media to two young girls, Laurel and Primrose, whose involvement in a murder generates lurid tabloid headlines. But the body of this novel goes behind the headlines to explore the damage done - over a period of 20 years - to the lives of everyone connected to this dreadful crime. The writing is tight and the characters vividly believable. There are twists and turns aplenty and several edge-of -the-seat moments. But the overarching theme is one of conviction. Be it that of the Toby [the lawyer], Joanne[ the bereaved aunt], Hillier[the policewoman], Max[the frustrated author] to name but a few. Since so many of the characters in this novel invest themselves in Laurel and Primrose it is hardly surprising some of them have damaged lives, or careers, as a result. Was their investment worth it? Were their actions and beliefs justified? The only way for you to find out is to obtain a copy of this gripping novel and read it right to the last page. Now there's a clue!
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This was great - creepily disturbing throughout.  Well written with well rounded characters, it was really believable.  Thoroughly recommend.
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