To Hold a Flower

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Pub Date 18 May 2022 | Archive Date 15 Aug 2024

Description

Liela and Dunet are sisters and best friends.

Liela is compassionate and dedicated, striving to protect her sister. Her dream is to become the commander of Claralis, a defensive city on the northern border of Mathar, but her world is slowly unraveling. Desperate to keep her sister from growing up, Liela finds herself torn between her piling responsibilities to her nation, and her need to protect Dunet's carefree childhood. Forced to drift further apart, Liela is unable to be there as Dunet's sense of self-worth slowly crumbles.

In the midst of Liela's turmoil, she stumbles upon Myllia, a girl drifting through life in a daydream. Myllia falls for Liela, and she becomes an anchor for the aspiring commander. Soon Liela finds peace in Myllia, while dealing with her ascending rank and the looming threat beyond the city walls.

To Hold a Flower is a character-driven fantasy novel and a gentle exploration of newfound identity and mental health.

Liela and Dunet are sisters and best friends.

Liela is compassionate and dedicated, striving to protect her sister. Her dream is to become the commander of Claralis, a defensive city on the northern...


A Note From the Publisher

Detailed Rep List for To Hold a Flower:
Lesbian Rep: Liela and Myllia
Neurodivergent Rep:
- Liela (a strongly masking autistic)
- Kreenie (Autistic and / or ADHD and she doesn't mask; side character)
- Dunet (I strongly believe that she's neurodivergent in some way; while I wasn't sure after writing this first book and my editor didn't initially think she was, after receiving feedback from my editor on my sequel, I consider her autistic)
+ Several other characters could be read as neurodivergent
Fat Rep: Myllia
Depression Rep: Dunet
Anxiety Rep: Dunet (+ Liela and Myllia, though to a lesser degree)
There is some additional rep that is unstated in this first book..

Trigger Warnings:
- Internalized Ableism through shame, guilt, and repression, that results in heavy masking
- Ableism directed towards an unmasked side character from a main character and several side characters
- Depression
- Anxiety and social anxiety

Edited by I.O. Scheffer
Cover Art by Sophia Lindstrom

To Hold a Flower is the first book in a series focusing on mental health and identity that features a queer romance and neurodivergent characters. It is primarily a character-driven story.

Update: The sequel to To Hold a Flower, The Essence of Longing has released and is also available on Netgalley, expanding on the characters and themes of my series.

Version Notes: I've released a newer version of To Hold a Flower with improvements to the fat rep. This version of To Hold a Flower (the one on Netgalley) is an older version without those changes.

Detailed Rep List for To Hold a Flower:
Lesbian Rep: Liela and Myllia
Neurodivergent Rep:
- Liela (a strongly masking autistic)
- Kreenie (Autistic and / or ADHD and she doesn't mask; side...


Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9780578928722
PRICE $13.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 12 members


Featured Reviews

First, a note: I had the opportunity to read this book via Netgalleys, which is super cool, so a big thanks for that!

This book was lovely, start to finish! The story was slow-paced in the best way; it didn’t feel like it dragged along, rather took its time getting to the places it wanted to. The writing style was interesting, very formal and descriptive, so it took a while to get used to but it grew on me. It gave the whole narrative this atmosphere of present, dignified nobility that I think suits the characters and setting very well. Speaking of the setting: wow!! I love the world of this book. It always felt like there was more happening than what the audience was shown. Very alive, and I love that about it. I found the characters lovable and their relationships were decently compelling. The plot took a backseat to character development, but it wasn’t diminished because of that. This book shines in its characters more than anything else. Also, the way the book was broken up into chapters was really interesting to me— temporality is a bit unclear through the different vignettes but I think that’s the point. It gave the whole narrative a dreamlike, reminiscing feel that is subtle and hard to describe. It added a lot of depth to the central theme of familial relationships, which can often be tinged by memory to the point that they’re defined by recollection and perceptions (or misperceptions!). Really nice effect.

I do have a few criticisms: there is a tendency to tell more than show through this book, and while it didn’t ruin the writing, the whole story just would’ve shone so much more if that wasn’t an issue. Some of the dialogue also felt a bit clunky, possibly due to how formal the writing was, but it wasn’t a dealbreaker for me.

Regardless of that, though, this book is an obvious labor of love by the author; you can tell while reading it how much she clearly cares about the characters, their relationships, and the world they live in. That obvious passion for telling this story is I think what made it most compelling to me— it is so genuinely incredible to feel this much effort and love has been poured into a book. I liked it a lot.

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