Book Review: 'Where Petals Fall' by Melissa Foster

by - January 06, 2014

"With vivid prose and a tender heart, Melissa Foster has crafted a psychological and emotional mystery fueled by love in all its forms."
Jennie Shortridge
Author of Love Water Memory

Where Petals Fall is a gripping and emotional novel with an undercurrent of suspense, featuring a determined mother whose world slowly comes apart around her. Where Petals Fall will appeal to fans of Lisa Scottoline's Save Me or Jodi Picoult's Salem Falls, who love an emotional and gripping read. They will root for Junie as they follow her transition into an indomitable heroine who must reconcile what she discovers about her husband and family’s tragic past, and find a way to put the pieces of her family back together and carry on.


On the surface Junie Olson’s life looks idyllic, from her handsome husband and beautiful daughter to her successful business, the bakery she always dreamed of opening. But in the past few months her world has slowly unravelled. Her precocious child is withdrawing, showing unexplainable signs of emotional regression, a condition that frays the bonds of Junie’s once impenetrable marriage. When her father dies suddenly of a heart attack, Junie packs up her daughter and goes home to help her mother. Her homecoming stirs up memories of the nightmare she thought she had put behind her, the disappearance of her childhood friend, Ellen. Haunted by recurring memories of what happened on that fateful day, Junie must gather the courage to revisit her past and untangle the secrets surrounding her missing friend, and the trauma that has caused her little girl to climb back into herself. As the pieces come together on the event that shook her small town, and at the risk of losing everyone she loves, Junie will question everything she thought she could rely on and everyone she thought she knew.


Where Petals Fall is the first Melissa Foster novel I have read and I can say whole-heartedly that I am a new fan!

The story takes the reader on an enormously emotional journey as you follow Junie as she battles through her present life's struggles, whilst at the same time fighting with unanswered questions from the past. In her current life Junie is struggling with her daughter's regression and mutism, and as a result her marriage to her husband Brian seems to be growing distant and strained. As if that isn't enough, Junie's father suddenly passes, calling her back to her old home to be there to support her mother. What Junie didn't realise was that coming home would awaken a sleeping giant - the truth behind the disappearance of her best friend Ellen, when they were seven.

Melissa Foster's writing captures the sadness and heartache of the story beautifully - you can really feel the pain and suffering Junie is going through. The story explores different family relationships and the effects one traumatic event can have on all these ties. The lies and deceptions surrounding Ellen's disappearance have followed Junie into adulthood, as she realises she never sought out the truth about her friends disappearance, and is now finding memories she never realised she had are coming back piece by piece - but with everything else going on in Junie's life, it leaves the reader wondering if Junie has the strength to cope with it all. Junie's determination to solve the mystery of her friend, Ellen's, disappearance leads her to cause tension between her and her husband Brian (as he can't cope with drudging up the past), as well as with her mother, Ruth, as she keeps interrogating her mother about the day Ellen disappeared, and begins to make some horrific accusations about her father that has recently passed. Melissa Foster constantly has the reader wondering whether Junie is pushing things too far and risking her entire family to find out the truth about Ellen. Junie unearths some family truths which leave her questioning her entire upbringing. 

Junie's daughter, Sarah's, regression is a devastating and heart-breaking part of the story - her mutism, bed-wetting and complete lack of emotion are not what you hope to see from a 7 year-old girl. This definitely tugs at the heart strings as you can feel Junie's desperation to fight to get her daughter back. 

Throughout the story Junie is searching for the answers to the troubles she is facing, however when Junie is getting closer to the truth she tends to draw herself in and delay the inevitable, as she is afraid of the truth and what it might do to her family. Until Junie feels ready to deal with the truth, she pushes those closest to her further away. Melissa Foster follows this journey as Junie, and the reader, discovers the truth about the mystery disappearance and whether it will completely unravel and tear apart the picture perfect life Junie once had. Junie's mother, Ruth, is one of my favourite characters as she has so much strength and love for her family. She always remains positive and strong for her daughter, Junie, despite having only just suffered the loss of her husband (Junie's father). Ruth is a wonderful mother and person, as she doesn't judge Junie or interfere in her life, but simply helps to guide and support her.

I loved Where Petals Fall - it really draws the reader in and the thrilling mystery keeps you turning the page. You feel as though you're right with Junie as she battles through the hardships. Melissa Foster's writing successfully builds up tension and as Junie gets closer to discovering the truth, you can feel your own heart racing and you can feel the relief lift as the truth is revealed, answering a huge number of questions that line the events in the novel. I couldn't put the book down - Melissa Foster's writing grips the reader entirely, and I became as desperate as Junie to find the truth and solve the mysteries that interlinked all the troubles in her life.

I would definitely recommend Where Petals Fall - an intense thriller, exploring the heartache that comes from secrets and lies, laced with love and unbreakable bonds between family.

Melissa Foster is giving away 3 e-copies of her novel Where Petals Fall, so hurry and enter the giveaway below for your chance to win!

About the Author 

Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women's fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today's book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women, and the World Literary Café. When she's not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine.

Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family.

Visit Melissa on The Women's Nest, Fostering Success, or World Lit Cafe. Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.

Authors Links:





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  1. What a fabulous review Jess. Really get a feel for the story.

    Thank you for taking part in Melissa's tour.


  2. I enjoyed reading this! It sounds like a captivating read.

  3. What a fabulous sounding book, while reading the "blurb" I was listening to a music show and there was a girl singing while playing the harp. The music just seemed to go with the novel and it gave me goosebumps. Thank you for the chance of the give-away. Xxx

  4. Thank you Shaz - I really enjoyed this book, glad you liked the review xx

  5. Thank you everyone, so pleased that you enjoyed reading the review! It is a truly captivating book, filled with emotion. How spooky Sheerie! That would have given me goosebumps too. Maybe you're meant to read the book ;) it's a sign xx

  6. Hi Jessica, love your blog. This was a fabulous review of a great book that clearly "got you"! Kim

  7. I'm so sorry that I missed your post! What a great, and well thought out review! I appreciate how much you enjoyed the book. XOXO

  8. I was looking for a book to read recently and after reading your lovely review on Where Petals Fall I decided to give it a try. I have not previously read anything by Melissa Foster but thought if the book was nearly as good as the review I would love it. AND I DID! From the first page to the last I was captivated. I will certainly be reading more of Melissa Foster. Thanks for the great review xx


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