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Hothouse Flower and the 9 Plants of Desireby Margot Berwin
Synopses & Reviews
Eat, Pray, Love meets The Orchid Thief in this rollicking debut novel about plant magic, spiritual discovery, and romantic fever in the jungles of Mexico.
Shortly after her divorce, advertising executive Lila Nova purchases her first plant. It's a bird-of-paradise, and the seller is David Exley, a rugged "country-sexual" who seems to promise a paradise of his own making. Lila is immediately obsessed — with plants and with the man who sells them — but when David introduces her to the myth of the nine plants of desire, and when she meets a man named Armand who claims to own the nine plants, her obsession reaches unexpected heights: if she can possess all nine plants, the legend goes, her wildest dreams will be fulfilled.
But Lila is too trusting, and as a result she is soon off on an adventure she never meant to take: in the Yucatán, alone, hefting a backpack full of travel guides and expensive shampoo, and learning more than she ever wanted to know about the rain forest — and about herself.
Plant mythology, shamans and charlatans, mysterious spirit animals, orchid obsessives, scorpions, poisonous snakes, and handsome Huichols...they're all here in this tale of mystery, adventure, and heat — in every sense of the word.
"Berwin delivers a bangup debut packed with adventure, betrayal, love and, naturally, rare plants. New York ad woman Lila Nova, increasingly disillusioned with her job and the city, becomes enchanted by David Exley, a handsome guy selling plants at a green market. Soon, she's hooked on him, and her budding fascination with tropical plants leads her to a Laundromat that has a rare fern displayed in the window. Proprietor Armand quickly befriends Lila and gives her a trimming from the fern to take home, telling her if it forms roots, he'll show her the nine special plants he keeps in the back room. When Exley sees the fern trimming, Lila tells him about Armand's special plants, and soon the plants have been stolen and Exley has disappeared. Armand guilts Lila into coming to Mexico with him to find replacement plants, and there's magic, romance, greenery and greed as Lila and Armand venture through the Yucatan, hooking up with potential love-interest Diego and running into the devious Exley. It's a fun page-turner — escapist and wonderfully entertaining. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A] shameless guilty pleasure of a romp....An adventure combining the kinetic, cinematic razzledazzle of a Spielberg fantasia with the Mesoamerican metaphysical mojo of Carlos Castaneda....[A] sultry, psychedelic summer soufflé of a read." Elle
"Margot Berwin is equal parts fabulist, botanist, and comedian. I learned a lot from this delightful novel, and now I know just what to do the next time I confront a rattlesnake, a scorpion, or a strange but wise plant man in a Laundromat." Chris Bohjalian, author of Midwives, The Double Bind, and Skeletons at the Feast
"Nearly impossible to put down. This refreshing novel has an almost comic book sense of high adventure. Strange and improbable, Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire is unswervingly fun to read." Catherine Ryan Hyde, author of Pay it Forward
This rollicking debut novel about plant magic, spiritual discovery, and romantic fever in the jungles of Mexico follows a divorced advertising executive on an adventure she never meant to take in the Yucatán, alone, learning more than she ever wanted to know about the rain forest and herself.
Lila Nova is a thirty-two year-old advertising copyrighter who lives alone in a plain, white box of an apartment. Recovering from a heartbreaking divorce, Lila's mantra is simple: no pets, no plants, nopeople, no problems. But when Lila meets David Exley, a ruggedly handsome plant-seller, her lonely life blossoms into something far more colorful.
From the cold, harsh streets of Manhattan tothe verdant jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula, Hothouse Flower is the story of a woman who must travel beyond the boundaries of sense and comfort to find what she trulywants.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
When Lila stumbles across a strange laundromat, which houses a fern so valuable that a small piece of it is worth thousands of dollars, the owner offers her a cutting provided that she passes a test of growing a fire fern from a small cutting.
About the Author
Margot Berwin earned her MFA from the New School in 2005. Her stories have appeared on Nerve.com, in the New York Press, and in the anthology The Future of Misbehavior. She worked in advertising for many years and lives in New York City with a killer collection of plants.
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