My inability to arrange flowers, my tendency to kill plants and my slowness in the morning are three good reasons for me never to have considered floristry as a career. To be honest (and I do apologise to all florists reading this) I don’t think I’ve ever thought of it as a career in the way it’s described here.
Amanda Dane is sixteen when we meet her, the only child of her widowed father, and about to leave school. She has no idea what she wants to do with her life but a series of unexpected meetings makes her consider doing something with flowers. We then have several pages of Amanda and her father considering the options. Should she try for an apprenticeship (she’s a bit old perhaps?) or would it be better to go to flower school (was that actually a thing?) where she’d learn more quickly? In the end after pointless discussions about fees and grants (I think they’re there just to make real girls aware of the options; they certainly play no part in the plot) she chooses the latter.
It’s a fairly tame story but there are some decent characters in it, one of whom will become the man Amanda marries. There’s a bit of period detail when he is posted overseas (he’s doing National Service). Amanda is very worried for his safety and he concedes in letters that it’s not pleasant. I have to confess that I had to do a little research to find out where in the eastern Med he might have been sent in the late 1950s. (The book was published in 1959.) For those who don’t know, it was Cyprus.
After her time at flower school, Amanda takes on a series of different jobs – as the florist in a big hotel, in a small shop in the provinces (don’t know where; it clearly only matters that it’s not London) and finally, the job she’s been dreaming of in the West End. As the book concludes she’s about to go into business with one of her friends and we can feel marriage approaching.