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Ever since Daphne Harper graduated from college, all of her friends have fallen in love, become engaged and walked down the aisle. Be it a blessing or a curse, Daphne (a hopeless romantic and perpetual single girl) catches the bouquet at every single wedding she attends.

Daphne’s love life is a mess. Her first love, Mayson, haunts her heart and keeps her from pursuing happiness with any man who comes along. As she struggles to move on from the one who got away, Daphne wonders if she will ever break her curse and find her happily ever after.

BOOK REVIEW: Bouquet Toss

Melissa Brown

Book Series: 


“Could he be the one? Could he be my soul mate?”

Never has a book resonated with me on such a personal level as this one. It hit scarily too close to home at times, making the heroine’s journey an intimately familiar one.

Daphne is the epitome of every woman who has ever had one great love in her life that came to an unwanted end. The ghost of ‘the one that got away’ ends up haunting us, affecting all subsequent relationships, often setting an unreachable and somewhat idolised standard of what true love should feel like. Mayson was ‘that’ love for Daphne. He was her first love, a man she adored and hoped to spend the rest of her life with, but who ended up breaking her heart and leaving her only with memories of “coulda-woulda-shoulda”.

Daphne is a romantic soul, she dreams of happily-ever-afters, she craves the kind of love that is all-consuming and eternal, she loves with all her heart and she bleeds the same way when her heart shatters. As afraid as she is of never finding true love again, she never loses hope, bravely putting herself ‘out there’ and willing to take a chance. Daphne is also full of insecurities – the ‘great love of her life’ never really knew her, never saw her fragile side or witnessed her careless and fun traits. She was always so afraid of losing him, constantly dreading doing something that would eventually scare him away, so she kept holding back and hiding all the colourful facets of her personality that she was unsure he would have approved of. She tried to be perfect for him all the time, avoiding conflict at all costs.

“Desperate to stay in this moment with Mayson, I’m once again pushing away my true wants, my true needs. My heart sinks as I realize just how much of myself I’ve been keeping from him, simply afraid of making him run for the hills. And so, I cling desperately to this beautiful man before me, and hold back my questions, my concerns, my fears.”

Her image of Mayson is also a warped one. Their relationship is based on so many unanswered questions, from both sides, making Daphne’s little romantic castle of cards something she can never truly depend on or draw strength from. He represents an unreachable ideal in her mind, built on failed hopes and unfulfilled dreams, but one that affects her ability to give her heart away to anyone else.

“… you still love him, too … I can’t compete with a memory … I don’t think anyone can. You will always remember Mayson the way you want to remember him. Over time, you’ll forget all the bad stuff and focus only on the good. You’ll focus on … the future you could have had with him if things had been different. How can you and I possibly have any sort of future together if you are clinging to the past?”

It is irrelevant in my mind whether Mayson was ‘The One’ for Daphne or not, this touching story deserves to reveal that on its own. I felt that the message was much more important in this case than the scenario itself. Daphne’s story reminded me of how easy it to forget oneself while desperately chasing an ideal of love. The fear of rejection, of not being ‘enough’, of disappointing someone by being our true selves, of making our needs and desires take second seat and putting someone else’s before our own – all this made this story ‘real’ and almost palpable in my mind. However, as much as I wanted to make Daphne the embodiment of all the mistakes I have ever made in my love life and achieve some sort of redemption through her, I felt that the emotional development of this beautiful character could have been deeper. I struggled to feel her emotions at times, leaving me no other option but to project my own onto her and that is not what I’m necessarily seeking from a fictional character. I wanted to immerse myself in what she was feeling, cry with her, laugh with her, feel utter earth-shattering heartbreak with her until I don’t know which way is up and which way is down, or such joy that makes my skin tingle, but I felt we never quite got there. The dialogues between the characters didn’t help me either to feel that connection with them that I was so desperate to achieve. They were weak in parts, awkwardly strained in their wording and not spontaneous enough, often not flowing well for me or distracting me from the moment itself. This affected my overall enjoyment of the book but it did not deter me from wanting to finish it.

Daphne’s story is incredibly real and almost uncomfortably familiar. Her search for ‘true love’ is moving, sincere, heart-warming. I believe her quest for love is just as much about finding her voice in a relationship as it is about finding the right person. It shows us what love should really feel like and how much our predisposition to fear losing love can impinge on setting ourselves free.

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“He understands me. He loves me for who I am. He knows the deepest voice in my heart and he cherishes me for it. It has got to be the best feeling in the world.”

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Love of My Life - Recommended Reading Order

(standalone stories with interconnected characters)

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