“Bloom Where You’re Planted” (The Friendship Chronicles #2) by Darby Baham (ARC Review)

Baham, Darby. Bloom Where You’re Planted. Toronto, Ontario: Harlequin, 2022.

ISBN-13: 978-1335408587 | $5.99 USD | 288 pages | Contemporary Romance 

Blurb 

What happens when the first blush of love fades?

Jennifer Pritchett feels increasingly invisible and left behind as her friends move on to the next steps in their lives. As she goes to therapy to figure out how to bloom in her own right, her boyfriend, Nick Carrington, finds himself being the one left behind. Jennifer wants their relationship to have more intimacy, but he can’t help but feel like he’s being compared to others—and found wanting. Can they each get what they need out of this relationship? Or will the flowers shrivel up before they do?

Review 

5 stars 

Bloom Where You’re Planted was not what I expected…and not what many faithful category readers will expect either. It is, however, not a bad fit for category romance or the Special Edition line, in my opinion, as while it does deviate from the “typical” setup in a lot of ways, the romantic arc is still central, albeit in a different way. 

From the moment I read the blurb, Jennifer’s story resonated with me, as I’ve also felt feelings of being left behind as people in my life move on and make plans without me, and I’m struggling to keep up. I felt joy upon seeing her come to terms with her insecurities and blossom in her own right. 

As for the romance, I love that it’s about a committed relationship where they have issues and the story sees Jennifer and Nick navigate them in tandem with Jennifer’s personal journey. While “relationship in trouble” stories aren’t uncommon, they are still less common, and it’s definitely not a plotline I’ve seen from a Harlequin category (although I’m very open to being proven wrong on this). 

It’s a really sweet, heartfelt, and insightful book (it’s even interspersed with quotes related to “blooming” and personal growth), and while it is a rather atypical release from a Harlequin category line, it’s definitely worth giving a chance. 

Author Bio

Darby Baham (she/her) is a New Yorker of five plus years who has had personal blog posts appear in the Washington Post’s relationship vertical and has worked in the communications industry for more than two decades. Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, she lived in the Washington, DC area for fifteen years, where she cultivated a beautiful sprawling shoe closet and let some of the best people in her orbit. Her debut novel, The Shoe Diaries, was released in January 2022.

Website

Buy links

Bookshop (affiliate link)

Harlequin

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