The Flower Girls, Alice Clark-Platts
THE FLOWER GIRLS has a curious cast of characters that are oddly disconnected from each other, despite all being immersed in a net of pain and regret that none seem likely to escape from. This work has all the right ingredients for a thriller novel in that we are presented with circumstances that we must examine, and question, throughout the read. What we need to accept as undeniable is that a murderer can kill at any age. We ask are the signs of that malignancy of character present in the killer right from childhood? Do they fade, or do they develop over time?
Early in THE FLOWER GIRLS the reader is conscious of a ticking clock with Hazel, in that she is not going to be allowed her happiness when very few people believe she is innocent of the most heinous of crimes. The aunt of the murdered child has made it her life’s work to keep Laurel in prison and the case in the public eye. Hazel on the other hand has made it her life’s intention to distance herself from the killing.
We readers are gently led to have our doubts about everyone in THE FLOWER GIRLS and are not able to rest our dark suspicions on the head of one character for too long before we begin to suspect the intentions of the next. Author Alice Clark Platts writes with an elegant hand, introducing through secondary characters such quandaries of the age of criminal responsibility, the sentencing of minors, the culpability of family members when a killing has been committed by a child. None of this is designed to make the reader comfortable in what they are examining, but it does provoke further thought. THE FLOWER GIRLS conclusion you will feel was there from the opening pages, but in between you’ve had a lot to consider as you’ve journeyed through.
Haunting and unsettling, THE FLOWER GIRLS treads gently down dark paths, leading the reader towards its uneasy and daunting truth.
All little children like to play house, don’t they? What happens when the ‘baby’ is naughty?
The public’s obsession with ‘The Flower Girls’ never completely went away and with the increasing popularity of social media, every keyboard warrior and her cat now have the platform upon which to voice their strident opinions. Hurtful, uniformed or just plain annoyed, the unseen haters have over the past nineteen years added to the colossal damage served on two families wracked with grief over the loss of happy lives that should have been theirs. Hazel knows this better than most, having spent the entirety of her years since the murder distancing herself from the actions of her older sister Laurel.
Hazel was once Primrose, the younger of the two flower girls. Primrose at twenty-five now has a lovely fiancé who adores her and is nervous at the prospect of becoming a step mother to his teenager. When a child goes missing from the same hotel where Hazel is having her birthday stay, Hazel’s identity is public knowledge once again. It was only Laurel who was convicted for torturing and murdering a toddler whose only crime was to want to play with two older children - ten year old Laurel and 6 year old Primrose.