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Half-Blown Rose

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An irresistible story of a woman remaking her life after her husband’s betrayal leads to a year of travel, art, and passion in Paris, from the award-winning author of This Close to Okay.   Vincent, having grown up as the privileged daughter of artists, has a lovely life in many ways. At forty-four, she enjoys strolling the streets of Paris and teaching at the modern art muse An irresistible story of a woman remaking her life after her husband’s betrayal leads to a year of travel, art, and passion in Paris, from the award-winning author of This Close to Okay.   Vincent, having grown up as the privileged daughter of artists, has a lovely life in many ways. At forty-four, she enjoys strolling the streets of Paris and teaching at the modern art museum; she has a vibrant group of friends; and she’s even caught the eye of a young, charismatic man named Loup. But Vincent is also in Paris to escape a painful betrayal: her husband, Cillian, has published a bestselling book divulging secrets about their marriage and his own past, hinting that when he was a teenager, he may have had a child with a young woman back in Dublin—before he moved to California and never returned.   Now estranged from her husband, Vincent has agreed to see Cillian again at their son’s wedding the following summer, but Loup introduces new complications. Soon they begin an intense affair, and somewhere between dinners made together, cigarettes smoked in the moonlight, hazy evenings in nightclubs, and long, starry walks along the Seine, Vincent feels herself loosening and blossoming.   In a journey that is both transportive and intimate, Half-Blown Rose traverses Paris, art, travel, liminal spaces, and the messy complexities of relationships and romance, with excerpts from Cillian’s novel, playlists, and journal entries woven throughout. As Cillian does all he can to win her back, Vincent must decide what she wants . . . and who she will be.


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An irresistible story of a woman remaking her life after her husband’s betrayal leads to a year of travel, art, and passion in Paris, from the award-winning author of This Close to Okay.   Vincent, having grown up as the privileged daughter of artists, has a lovely life in many ways. At forty-four, she enjoys strolling the streets of Paris and teaching at the modern art muse An irresistible story of a woman remaking her life after her husband’s betrayal leads to a year of travel, art, and passion in Paris, from the award-winning author of This Close to Okay.   Vincent, having grown up as the privileged daughter of artists, has a lovely life in many ways. At forty-four, she enjoys strolling the streets of Paris and teaching at the modern art museum; she has a vibrant group of friends; and she’s even caught the eye of a young, charismatic man named Loup. But Vincent is also in Paris to escape a painful betrayal: her husband, Cillian, has published a bestselling book divulging secrets about their marriage and his own past, hinting that when he was a teenager, he may have had a child with a young woman back in Dublin—before he moved to California and never returned.   Now estranged from her husband, Vincent has agreed to see Cillian again at their son’s wedding the following summer, but Loup introduces new complications. Soon they begin an intense affair, and somewhere between dinners made together, cigarettes smoked in the moonlight, hazy evenings in nightclubs, and long, starry walks along the Seine, Vincent feels herself loosening and blossoming.   In a journey that is both transportive and intimate, Half-Blown Rose traverses Paris, art, travel, liminal spaces, and the messy complexities of relationships and romance, with excerpts from Cillian’s novel, playlists, and journal entries woven throughout. As Cillian does all he can to win her back, Vincent must decide what she wants . . . and who she will be.

30 review for Half-Blown Rose

  1. 4 out of 5

    Taylor Reid

    Learning a shocking truth about her husband’s past, Vincent escapes to Paris where she sinks into her new life. When she catches the eye of a vibrant young man, they fall into a heady affair. With her time in Paris coming to an end, the clock is ticking for Vincent to decide what she wants from her life. An utterly intoxicating story with every turn of the page.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Leesa

    FIVE FLASHING GOLD STARS BC I THOUGHT IT, I SOLD IT, I WROTE IT, I LOVE IT. This is my third novel, my fifth book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    emily • emilybookedup

    I LOVED THIS BOOK AND I NEED MORE PEOPLE TO READ IT AND TALK ABOUT IT!!!! …also if you’ve read it, i NEED to talk about that ending!! Leesa, we need an epilogue STAT babes!!! 😨😱😯😧🫢 i listened to this on audio but also flipped to the physical a few times too. i even re-read the ending on my physical copy to make sure i got it right. HIGHLY recommend the audiobook… set in Paris, this book has literally the best vibes ever. the scenery, the prose, the writing, the accents, the French flirtation phra I LOVED THIS BOOK AND I NEED MORE PEOPLE TO READ IT AND TALK ABOUT IT!!!! …also if you’ve read it, i NEED to talk about that ending!! Leesa, we need an epilogue STAT babes!!! 😨😱😯😧🫢 i listened to this on audio but also flipped to the physical a few times too. i even re-read the ending on my physical copy to make sure i got it right. HIGHLY recommend the audiobook… set in Paris, this book has literally the best vibes ever. the scenery, the prose, the writing, the accents, the French flirtation phrases… everything 🙌🏼 it’s equal parts romance and coming of age. Vincent is a married woman trying to find herself after her husband makes a huge mistake and leaves them at a crossroads. so she leaves him in Kentucky and goes to Paris to figure out what to do. and there, life surprises her in more ways than one. if you enjoyed THE IDEA OF YOU and/or like romance with a large age gap and lots of steam… this is for you!! full review to come on my IG soon!! THANK YOU Grand Central Publishing for my gifted ARC and Libro FM for my gifted ALC 🌹🌹🌹

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    Woooooooooo boy, I cannot believe I am in love with a romance novel. Wow wow wow! Honestly I only picked up HALF-BLOWN ROSE because the cover looked so beautiful—never in my wildest dreams would this end up becoming one of my FAVORITE books of the year. I will be busy for the rest of the year reading Leesa Cross-Smith's other books as this was my first venture with the author's books. The story focuses on a 44-year old woman, Vincent (give the name a chance readers, it took me awhile too), travel Woooooooooo boy, I cannot believe I am in love with a romance novel. Wow wow wow! Honestly I only picked up HALF-BLOWN ROSE because the cover looked so beautiful—never in my wildest dreams would this end up becoming one of my FAVORITE books of the year. I will be busy for the rest of the year reading Leesa Cross-Smith's other books as this was my first venture with the author's books. The story focuses on a 44-year old woman, Vincent (give the name a chance readers, it took me awhile too), traveling to Paris after finding out about her husband's betrayal (you'll find out when you read it, because I don't want to spoil it and it's a major point of action in the story). In Paris, Vincent is takes up a job at a modern art museum and meets a 24 year old charismatic and beautiful man Loup (Lou), who captures her attention. Loup is much younger than Vincent, but the two forge a steamy, beautiful, romantic relationship. Ugh LOUP IS A F'N BABE. THERE I SAID IT. As Vincent navigates Paris and her relationship with Loup, her husband Cillian is hoping to rekindle their marriage at their son's wedding. However, Vincent's decision on whether she decides to stay with Cillian or move on with Loup becomes very complicated. This book is absolutely breathtaking. I fell in love with the Parisian atmosphere and the story was so enthralling that I couldn't put it down. This book is a really powerful as it touches many deep and powerful topics that society deal with today. And again, LOUP IS A FN BABE. I loved every second of this book and I know that I will be thinking about it for a long time.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Korrie’s Korner

    Full on shivers from this book. I’m drowning in it. The audio elevated it and gave a little something extra. I fell so in love with this book!! Vincent, a 44 year old woman betrayed by her author husband when he publishes a book that reveals a secret. You have to read to find out. This story, set in Paris is sheer perfection. The narration coupled with this story feels like a soft caress on the skin..a faint whisper in the ear that leaves chill bumps all over your body. This story was sensual ro Full on shivers from this book. I’m drowning in it. The audio elevated it and gave a little something extra. I fell so in love with this book!! Vincent, a 44 year old woman betrayed by her author husband when he publishes a book that reveals a secret. You have to read to find out. This story, set in Paris is sheer perfection. The narration coupled with this story feels like a soft caress on the skin..a faint whisper in the ear that leaves chill bumps all over your body. This story was sensual romance with a coming of age storyline that I did not see coming (I went in blind). I love age gap stories where the woman is older and I loved that she was Black. I want to see this normalized more because there is a difference when it is a woman older vs a man. Loup, a 24 year old hella sexy man steals her heart and soul. I was at the edge of my seat literally not knowing where this story was going. I need about 3 epilogues because this story was just everything and unpredictable. This was intense, knock you off your feet type love story and I’m so glad I listened to this masterpiece!! I. Need. More.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Randi (readsrandiread)

    While the audiobook was well done (love me an Irish accent), the story itself didn’t do it for me. The main character, Vincent, seemed so self-pitying to me. She is dealing with a “betrayal” and I just couldn’t get behind her massive reaction to it. It seemed disproportionate to the offense, but to each their own I suppose. Who am I to tell fictional people how to act and respond? ⁣ ⁣ Also, the name Vincent for the main female character confused me the entire book. My mind kept hearing Vincent and While the audiobook was well done (love me an Irish accent), the story itself didn’t do it for me. The main character, Vincent, seemed so self-pitying to me. She is dealing with a “betrayal” and I just couldn’t get behind her massive reaction to it. It seemed disproportionate to the offense, but to each their own I suppose. Who am I to tell fictional people how to act and respond? ⁣ ⁣ Also, the name Vincent for the main female character confused me the entire book. My mind kept hearing Vincent and thought it was the male character, even though her name being Vincent was well established, my brain couldn’t make it work without effort. ⁣ ⁣ I love the cover! I love reading books set in Paris. This just wasn’t the one for me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tess

    I just TRULY cannot get enough of Leesa Cross-Smith. As soon as Netgalley approved me for her newest novel, I dropped everything and devoured it. Cross-Smith's writing is like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket, chatting with an old friend, and listening to your favorite nostalgic playlist. Her prose is witty and cozy, and her characters are full of life and lovable. I want to live inside her worlds, and HALF-BLOWN ROSE may be my favorite one yet. Our heroine is a woman named Vincent, currently I just TRULY cannot get enough of Leesa Cross-Smith. As soon as Netgalley approved me for her newest novel, I dropped everything and devoured it. Cross-Smith's writing is like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket, chatting with an old friend, and listening to your favorite nostalgic playlist. Her prose is witty and cozy, and her characters are full of life and lovable. I want to live inside her worlds, and HALF-BLOWN ROSE may be my favorite one yet. Our heroine is a woman named Vincent, currently living in Paris in her parent's apartment after separating from her husband unexpectedly at 44. There, she has a rose-colored life of teaching at an art museum, making fabulous friends, eating incredible food, and falling into bed with a 24 year old who looks like Timothée Chalamet. We learn about her extended family, her grown children, and the love story between her and her husband (and the surprising reason why it soured). As she is torn between her old life in Kentucky and her new, dazzling life in Paris, we go with her on a journey of self-discovery, love, and lots of fun surprises. Cannot recommend enough!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    Paris, oh how I adore you! "The Idea Of You" anyone?? Half-Blown Rose definitely gave me similar vibes. I really enjoyed the writing style and could feel the intense chemistry between Vincent and Loup. I absolutely loved this book right up until the very end. Unfortunately I was left wanting more. What happened to the characters? What was the reaction to Vincent's final decision? I've never really been a fan of open endings. - alas, that's a me problem. :) The playlists throughout the book are exc Paris, oh how I adore you! "The Idea Of You" anyone?? Half-Blown Rose definitely gave me similar vibes. I really enjoyed the writing style and could feel the intense chemistry between Vincent and Loup. I absolutely loved this book right up until the very end. Unfortunately I was left wanting more. What happened to the characters? What was the reaction to Vincent's final decision? I've never really been a fan of open endings. - alas, that's a me problem. :) The playlists throughout the book are excellent! I loved that addition to the story. Overall I enjoyed the story and looked forward to picking it up each time. There's a whole lot of love for this book so I encourage you to give it a read. Thanks so much to Grand Central Publishing for this gifted copy!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Heather | booksbyheath

    4.5 stars!!! Obsessed

  10. 5 out of 5

    MaryBeth's Bookshelf

    I listened to the audio of Half-Blown Rose and was swept away by this beautiful and heartfelt story. Vincent (named after the artist Van Gogh) leaves her husband after he reveals a past secret in a devastating way. She escapes to her beloved Paris; there she teaches art at a local university and tries to make sense of the wreckage of her life. While wandering the street of Paris, she meets a man half her age and begins a passionate affair. Loup opens her up in ways she never expects. At the same I listened to the audio of Half-Blown Rose and was swept away by this beautiful and heartfelt story. Vincent (named after the artist Van Gogh) leaves her husband after he reveals a past secret in a devastating way. She escapes to her beloved Paris; there she teaches art at a local university and tries to make sense of the wreckage of her life. While wandering the street of Paris, she meets a man half her age and begins a passionate affair. Loup opens her up in ways she never expects. At the same time, the pull of her past life is constantly right outside her door. I highly recommend listening to the audio of this one (if you aren't a member of LibroFM I can't recommend it enough!!!) - it's very atmospheric, sexy, flirtatious, sensual, sexual, heartbreaking, and romantic. It's a love letter to Paris, to finding out who you are and finding your voice. My heart broke for Vincent as she dealt with the consequences of someone else's choices and it soared when she found her voice. I nearly wept at the end, that's how sad I was that it was over. This is my first novel by Leesa Cross-Smith and it certainly will not be my last.

  11. 5 out of 5

    luce ❀ wishfully reading ❀

    DNF i recognise that this book is definitely not my cup of tea. additionally, it seems i have a low-tolerance for americans or british authors writing about france & french ppl. why why why do they have to be so clichéd about it?

  12. 5 out of 5

    Girl Well Read

    Cross-Smith's strength is in her immersive prose. She doesn't shy away from creating a strong female lead who (gasp!) puts her own passion above everything, even her family. Reeling from betrayal, Vincent—as in van Gogh—embraces her desires and sexual needs and what it means to be a woman, even while bleeding and emotional. (There's lots of period talk.) But here's what doesn't work. Every character is not only attractive, but intelligent and interesting, which makes it feel like it's a script fo Cross-Smith's strength is in her immersive prose. She doesn't shy away from creating a strong female lead who (gasp!) puts her own passion above everything, even her family. Reeling from betrayal, Vincent—as in van Gogh—embraces her desires and sexual needs and what it means to be a woman, even while bleeding and emotional. (There's lots of period talk.) But here's what doesn't work. Every character is not only attractive, but intelligent and interesting, which makes it feel like it's a script for a Hollywood movie. There are also no consequences for anyone's actions, least of all our heroine's (cue the ending). Meandering at times and manic at others, readers will be left feeling a little empty. Half-Blown Rose is compelling, passionate, and beautifully written.

  13. 4 out of 5

    The Lexington Bookie

    I'm going to be really honest even though I don't like having to be... Half-Blown Rose really wasn't my cup of tea. I was so excited for Cross-Smith's latest- the cover is beautiful, the plot description sounded dreamy, and I adore Cross-Smith's writing style. However, I just felt like this wasn't her best- it was a little predictable, a little drawn out, and honestly a little scattered. I didn't love the flashbacks and the interwoven excerpts. I didn't love Vincent constantly second guessing he I'm going to be really honest even though I don't like having to be... Half-Blown Rose really wasn't my cup of tea. I was so excited for Cross-Smith's latest- the cover is beautiful, the plot description sounded dreamy, and I adore Cross-Smith's writing style. However, I just felt like this wasn't her best- it was a little predictable, a little drawn out, and honestly a little scattered. I didn't love the flashbacks and the interwoven excerpts. I didn't love Vincent constantly second guessing herself. I disliked Cillian entirely. Unfortunately, this was a real dud for me.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    Fives. Fives across the board. When I started reading this...I was unsure. But I very quickly fell in love with this quirky, beautiful book - full of love, light, and personal exploration. This book takes up shortly after Vincent, a 44-year-old woman, flees to Paris after her novelist husband, Cillian, makes a big life-changing reveal in a book he's just published. Vincent is searching for herself now that her kids are grown and she's not sure if she can trust her husband. Meanwhile, she meets Lou Fives. Fives across the board. When I started reading this...I was unsure. But I very quickly fell in love with this quirky, beautiful book - full of love, light, and personal exploration. This book takes up shortly after Vincent, a 44-year-old woman, flees to Paris after her novelist husband, Cillian, makes a big life-changing reveal in a book he's just published. Vincent is searching for herself now that her kids are grown and she's not sure if she can trust her husband. Meanwhile, she meets Loup, a 24-year-old Parisian, full of passion and energy, and despite her best efforts, she isn't able to avoid him. Throughout the book, Vincent must decide who she wants to be with and who she wants to become. Half-Blown Rose is just SUCH a work of art. Cross-Smith weaves in playlists, excerpts from Cillian's novel, journal entries, text messages, and so many little excerpts of life. In some ways it felt almost like a scrapbook entwined with the novel, bringing in these beautiful pieces of Vincent's life. The book is rich with references to music, food, art, travel, and more. Because of this, I think it would have been hard to jump right into the audiobook, but when I did, it was a feast for the ears. On a deeper level, the book explores liminal spaces, or the spaces in between. To me, this is where the book came across as absolutely brilliant. The book highlights those in-between places and moments - trains and planes, life transitions, and so much more. Especially as my kids grow and I'm getting closer to 40, I found it so inspirational to see the ways in which life can continue to deliver, surprising you with new adventures and joys. This book is slow and sensual and so beautifully descriptive. It places with sound and language, with repetition and absences, with feeling and all of your senses. In places, it's absolutely steamy and then it pulls back again to reveal the small joys of foods and places and sounds surrounding us. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Genre: literary fiction with f/m romance Location: Paris (mostly) with some London, Amsterdam, and other destinations Reminds me of: You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi Pub Date: out now Read this if you like: ⭕️ books filled with travel, food, music, art, etc. ⭕️ reading about the "in betweens" of life ⭕️ multidimensional women ⭕️ slow burns with lots of description Thanks to Grand Central Publishing and #netgalley for an e-copy and physical copies of this book!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amanda at Bookish Brews

    This was so immersive that I feel like I had a passionate love affair in Paris. I literally felt like I had to admit to my partner that I read this. I'm shocked at how much I enjoyed it Bookish Brews | Ko-Fi | Twitter | Pinterest | Tumblr | Facebook This was so immersive that I feel like I had a passionate love affair in Paris. I literally felt like I had to admit to my partner that I read this. I'm shocked at how much I enjoyed it Bookish Brews | Ko-Fi | Twitter | Pinterest | Tumblr | Facebook

  16. 4 out of 5

    LK

    Vincent Wilde runs away from her home in Kentucky to her parents’ Paris apartment after learning, along with the rest of the reading world, that her best-selling-author husband, Cillian, fathered a child at 15 years old and never told Vincent in their 25 years together. Vincent (yes, after Van Gogh) explores Paris newly jolted from domestic comfort and committed to do What She Wants. That soon becomes Who She Wants when Vincent falls for Loup, 20+ years her junior. Whew. In texting about this book Vincent Wilde runs away from her home in Kentucky to her parents’ Paris apartment after learning, along with the rest of the reading world, that her best-selling-author husband, Cillian, fathered a child at 15 years old and never told Vincent in their 25 years together. Vincent (yes, after Van Gogh) explores Paris newly jolted from domestic comfort and committed to do What She Wants. That soon becomes Who She Wants when Vincent falls for Loup, 20+ years her junior. Whew. In texting about this book, my overall feelings were summarized thusly: The pacing was so, so off putting. I loved the writing and the lyricism. I was shocked by all the turns of events. I was confused by the lack of conversations about privilege and race. I continued to get Eat, Pray, Love and Carrie Bradshaw (obsession with Paris) vibes. I truly don’t know who the target audience is for this book! The true shining light of this book is Cross-Smith’s style of writing: short vignettes rich with feeling and color. I think this style suits Vincent during her time in Paris because of her unwillingness (bordering on need) to feel untethered and free from Cillian and their life together. My overall impression of Half-Blown Rose was the same as Eat, Pray, Love: who can afford to have this experience except for the elite? And thus, who is going to relate to this book? Vincent acknowledges her wealth privilege briefly while with her entire family— two well-known and wealthy artist parents and two well-to-do siblings— in Amsterdam. To which they all traveled relatively last minute on a whim! What fun! And Vincent has the added freeness to leave Kentucky because her two children are not in the home and in their 20s. She supplements her Parisian life by creating jewelry and teaching art classes at a museum. I tried not to be bitter but at the same time… excuse me? I really was rooting for Vincent. Truly. I mean, for goodness sakes, she learned about her husband’s secret love child IN A BOOK at the time it was PUBLISHED for everyone else to read and learn too?! But then, I found myself wondering when I’d see her angry. And then, towards the end of the novel, when I’d see her accept consequences of her own actions. When I finished Half-Blown Rose, though, I wanted the best for her regardless. If someone asked, “Should I read this book?” I’d respond with a shrug and say, “Yeah… sure.” Thank you to Net Galley and Grand Central Publishing for this ARC in exchange for my honest review of Half-Blown Rose by Leesa Cross-Smith.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Samantha // fictionfigurine

    First let me say that Leesa, we need an epilogue! I have feelings about that ending. Plot summary, Vincent is a 44 year old woman recently betrayed by her famous author husband, Cillian who had recently wrote an “auto fiction” about having a secret love child before marrying her. Vincent is understandably hurt, the love of her life has held these secrets their entire relationship, and didn’t bother to be honest with her until the book was published. She makes a decision to remake her own life and First let me say that Leesa, we need an epilogue! I have feelings about that ending. Plot summary, Vincent is a 44 year old woman recently betrayed by her famous author husband, Cillian who had recently wrote an “auto fiction” about having a secret love child before marrying her. Vincent is understandably hurt, the love of her life has held these secrets their entire relationship, and didn’t bother to be honest with her until the book was published. She makes a decision to remake her own life and travels to Paris, living in a home owned by her parents, and becoming an art teacher at a local campus. There, she is consumed by everything Parisian and is completely immersed in the new life she’s created, despite her estranged husband’s frequent requests for forgiveness… which she declines. Then she meets Loup, a young “looks like Timothée Chalamet” student who is smitten with Vincent. And before long, a intoxicating love affair begins. This book is structured from Vincent’s POV, with chapters from her husband’s book “Half-Blown Rose”, and what seems like screenplay narrations. I didn’t quite grasp the need for the narrations until the ending (I still want that epilogue though!) There are also email communications between Vincent and someone (I won’t spoil it)… and lastly there are several of Vincent’s current playlists sprinkled throughout the book. I couldn’t really tell where my reading experience was headed, the book is quite unique in its structure, written like a diary at times, but quickly I sunk deeper into some very compelling plot points… will Vincent continue to live in Paris? Will she ever go back to America and forgive Cillian, who she still can’t help but love deeply? How will she ever have a life without Loup, who so kind and full of life and loves her like she’s never experienced? While Vincent “discovers” herself, the use of French language, and the Paris setting is absolutely a book in itself. I personally love all things French, but the way the author writes about this experience is absolutely mesmerizing. I saw another review where someone describes Leesa Cross-Smith’s writing like a warm blanket. I couldn’t agree more! There was something very comforting about Vincent coming into herself and reflecting on her life and her future choices at hand. I absolutely love lyrical prose and you will definitely find that in this book. By the ending, I felt like I had watched an impassioned French film which actually sent me into a happy cry when it was over. Ultimately, Half-Blown Rose was such an immersive literary experience, which are my very favorite kinds of books. If you love the things I mentioned above, you will definitely enjoy this one! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Thank you to @grandcentralpublishing and #netgalley for my advanced e-arc in exchange for an honest review

  18. 4 out of 5

    Susan Ballard

    4.5 🌟 Y’all, this one wrecked me! I’m not for infidelity, but ugh this one had me - until the end. Vincent (a woman - parents named her after the artist) just read her husband Cillian’s new best-selling book. In it, he reveals that he fathered a child in his teens back in Dublin before coming to California. This is the first Vincent hears of this in over twenty years of marriage and two children of their own. Confused and hurt, Vincent takes off to Paris. She is surrounded by friends, and she teac 4.5 🌟 Y’all, this one wrecked me! I’m not for infidelity, but ugh this one had me - until the end. Vincent (a woman - parents named her after the artist) just read her husband Cillian’s new best-selling book. In it, he reveals that he fathered a child in his teens back in Dublin before coming to California. This is the first Vincent hears of this in over twenty years of marriage and two children of their own. Confused and hurt, Vincent takes off to Paris. She is surrounded by friends, and she teaches art classes. Here, Loup, a handsome man half her age, takes an interest in her. Try as she may to stave off any feelings of attraction for Loup, they begin an intense affair. Meanwhile, Cillian is trying to win Vincent’s heart back, but what will that take, and will it ever be the same again? My feelings were bouncing all over the place with one. Sometimes I understood where Vincent was coming from, but most of the time I felt like she was just plain cheating. But dang, it was sexy nonetheless. If you have the chance to listen to the audiobook, the accents add so much! Whew! My only complaint was the ending; I just didn’t understand it completely. I needed an epilogue. Thank you @grandcentral pub for a gifted copy and @librofm for the fantastic audiobook narrated by #melalee and #Timcampbell

  19. 5 out of 5

    juliawreads

    4 stars after more thought! :)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amethyst

    This smart and sexy book is the perfect escape from the heaviness of the world. It's an easy read about (mostly) European travel, romance, betrayal, memories, and the wild unpredictability of life. I felt like I was experiencing the sights, smells, and sounds of London, Nice, Amsterdam, Auvers-sur-Oise, Tuscany, and especially Paris so vividly. There are several dinner, studio, and travel music playlists listed throughout the book, enhancing the reading experience, and each is a vibe!  I've now r This smart and sexy book is the perfect escape from the heaviness of the world. It's an easy read about (mostly) European travel, romance, betrayal, memories, and the wild unpredictability of life. I felt like I was experiencing the sights, smells, and sounds of London, Nice, Amsterdam, Auvers-sur-Oise, Tuscany, and especially Paris so vividly. There are several dinner, studio, and travel music playlists listed throughout the book, enhancing the reading experience, and each is a vibe!  I've now read each of Leesa Cross-Smith's three novels (she has two other books that I've yet to read), and she writes about complicated relationships in a deliciously unique way. This Close to Okay and Whiskey & Ribbons also center unexpected or taboo relationships in ways that have challenged my own thinking and who I'm mentally rooting for. Each of her characters is fully developed, but never over-written. I've consistently been left wanting more after reading her books. This novel in particular feels like she had fun writing it and was a joy to read. These are my favorite quotes from the novel: "Everyone who says Paris is a woman is right. Paris is la vie en rose. Paris is sexy. Paris is splendor. Paris is full of light. Paris is full of life. Paris is a new beginning. Paris, mon amour. Paris is the only city in the world." "Our memories make up who we are. And I don't say that lightly. Our hippocampus helps us to store and recollect them. Our brains contain vast wealth of memories in their storehouses. Imagine our minds, our hearts, without our memories. I believe that you'd find yourself wanting to hold on to even all of the bad ones if met with the idea of losing every memory in one swoop." Many thanks to Leesa Cross-Smith, NetGalley, and Grand Central Publishing for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review before its release on 5/31/22.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Fon

    "The best way to know life is to love many things." While Half-Blown Rose is lush and dreamy, it just wasn't for me. Disclaimer: I do tend to stay away from fictional books about extramarital affairs involving couples with children because that's not my idea of ~fun~. That being said, my issue with Half-Blown Rose wasn't the fact that Vincent, a 44-year-old woman, starts up a passionate love affair with a 24-year-old Timothée Chalamet lookalike in Paris following her estrangement with her husband "The best way to know life is to love many things." While Half-Blown Rose is lush and dreamy, it just wasn't for me. Disclaimer: I do tend to stay away from fictional books about extramarital affairs involving couples with children because that's not my idea of ~fun~. That being said, my issue with Half-Blown Rose wasn't the fact that Vincent, a 44-year-old woman, starts up a passionate love affair with a 24-year-old Timothée Chalamet lookalike in Paris following her estrangement with her husband. In this case, her children are all grown up. Rather, my issue with Half-Blown Rose was that nothing really happens. Hear me out: Half-Blown Rose is marketed as a story about a woman remaking her life, yet I felt like there was very little to no character development. At its core, Half-Blown Rose is 384 pages of Vincent's love affair in Paris and, at one point, it gets a tad bit very tiring to read, especially with Vincent going back and forth between Cillian, her estranged husband, and Loup, her lover. Don't get me started about the ending. There are some positives: - The writing transported me to Paris - I can tell Leesa Cross-Smith went above and beyond because there are playlists embedded throughout Half-Blown Rose But in the end, Half-Blown Rose was frustrating to read with Vincent choosing to live her life in denial about her reality. That might be the point of the book, so I chalk my dislike of the book up to me (late 20's) not being the book's target audience. @movedbyprose's rating system ★★★★★: i love everything about this book ★★★★✩: notable with minor issues ★★★✩✩: mediocre but slightly enjoyable ★★✩✩✩: struggled to finish / forgettable ★✩✩✩✩: problematic Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher, Grand Central Publishing, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. instagram | goodreads | storygraph

  22. 5 out of 5

    Via

    DNF @ 48% I’m not really sure where the story was supposed to go. I hit the halfway mark and not much had actually happened. I liked the protagonist’s confidence in her identity and self-worth, and exercising independence in Paris, but the subplots with her husband and Loup were very slow and didn’t hold my attention. I can see why other reviewers enjoyed this but I don’t think I’m the right audience for this story. Thank you to the author and Grand Central Pub for a gifted ARC of this novel in e DNF @ 48% I’m not really sure where the story was supposed to go. I hit the halfway mark and not much had actually happened. I liked the protagonist’s confidence in her identity and self-worth, and exercising independence in Paris, but the subplots with her husband and Loup were very slow and didn’t hold my attention. I can see why other reviewers enjoyed this but I don’t think I’m the right audience for this story. Thank you to the author and Grand Central Pub for a gifted ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest thoughts.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Half-Blown Rose by Leesa Cross-Smith was a beautifully written book that brought Paris to life for me, even if the story left me feeling flat. Vincent escaped from her life in Kentucky to Paris when her husband of 20 years revealed in a novel he wrote that he had a child with another woman before they were married, and his parents forced him to leave his native Ireland for the US and leave the woman and his child behind. She was shocked that he kept a secret like this and couldn't forgive him, s Half-Blown Rose by Leesa Cross-Smith was a beautifully written book that brought Paris to life for me, even if the story left me feeling flat. Vincent escaped from her life in Kentucky to Paris when her husband of 20 years revealed in a novel he wrote that he had a child with another woman before they were married, and his parents forced him to leave his native Ireland for the US and leave the woman and his child behind. She was shocked that he kept a secret like this and couldn't forgive him, so ran off to her parent's apartment in Paris to recover and decide what to do about her marriage. While there she taught some classes and met a young, attractive man, Loup, who was the same age as her son. They embarked on a passionate affair, traveled together and she couldn't decide whether to stay with Loup or go back to her husband. I spent the entire book waiting for something to happen, so we could see the consequences of her choice, how it would affect her children, her husband's illegitimate son, her husband and Loup, but no. We plod along until the very last page when she makes her decision and the book ends. What??? Nothing about her husband, her kids, the baby she is carrying? And why did she sleep with her estranged husband when she was carrying Loup's child? I found the whole thing disappointing. Thank you to the author, Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC of this title in exchange for my honest review.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Denise Deen

    This was an interesting read........The protagonist Vincent (daughter of artist parents who loved Van Gogh) was very relatable to me. Not the rich beautiful part but the deeper, creative, sensitive, emotional part. The book is written from her POV. Same as me; she loved all kinds of music (her playlists were fantastic!), walking everywhere and everyday, good literature, all kinds of art, and travel. She is an introvert but has a strong connection and loyalty to her children and siblings and she This was an interesting read........The protagonist Vincent (daughter of artist parents who loved Van Gogh) was very relatable to me. Not the rich beautiful part but the deeper, creative, sensitive, emotional part. The book is written from her POV. Same as me; she loved all kinds of music (her playlists were fantastic!), walking everywhere and everyday, good literature, all kinds of art, and travel. She is an introvert but has a strong connection and loyalty to her children and siblings and she has a deep love affair with the City of Paris. She is a strong independent woman but becomes very emotional (weeps) over extreme joy, beauty and love. She has great empathy and is very sensitive to other's feelings. I was completely drawn in to her dilemma as she left her husband of 20 years after he publishes a book revealing a secret from his past that he had kept hidden from her. She escapes to Paris where she tries to deal with the betrayal and move forward with her life but also knowing she has to return within the year for her son's wedding (and a reckoning!). I was totally absorbed into her journey of mentally processing her choices, memories and life decisions while walking the streets of Paris. It took me a bit to get into this author's writing prose but I eventually got into the groove and ended up loving the way this was written. It is part screenplay, part diary, part flashback, part travel itinerary. The author does a FANTASTIC job of transporting me to Paris and the English countryside. This was probably my favorite part of the book. I have read other reviews and some people compare this to Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love book but while there are a few similar themes I do not get the same vibe with this story. Vincent is trying to deal with a betrayal while honoring her family memories and history and that is the theme throughout this book. I will say, I definitely did not like the ending and wish the author would have given some kind of closure to Vincent's story. All in all I really liked this book but I also believe I am the audience it was targeted for. I will not recommend this book to just anyone. This book is definitely for a specific reader. One who enjoys and is interested in a complicated story about life and love from an experienced woman's point of view. I read this for my Barnes & Noble Book Club #bnbookclub GREAT QUOTES From Half-Blown Rose: **"Okay yes, sometimes men leave it up to women to hold the world together. Absolutely, they do. And women are damn good at it." **"The best way to know life is to love many things." - Vincent Van Gogh

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    This was beautifully written and tells a great story about a woman in her mid-40s figuring out what she wants out of life after her husband betrays her. There was something Eat, Pray, Love meets Call Me By Your Name about it, but I liked it better than both. I liked following Vincent on her journey. I liked that she knows who she is but she doesn’t always know what she wants to do, and we get to watch her figure it out. Something about the dialogue felt very much like a play, and I kept wishing This was beautifully written and tells a great story about a woman in her mid-40s figuring out what she wants out of life after her husband betrays her. There was something Eat, Pray, Love meets Call Me By Your Name about it, but I liked it better than both. I liked following Vincent on her journey. I liked that she knows who she is but she doesn’t always know what she wants to do, and we get to watch her figure it out. Something about the dialogue felt very much like a play, and I kept wishing it sounded more natural (although I loved the bits of French mixed in even though I speak zero French). The ending was total chaos, but I think that was intentional. Vincent makes decisions that lead to consequences that all coalesce. (I wouldn’t say it was a super satisfying ending, but I’m okay with that.) Fun fact, this is the second book in a row I’ve read with a female Vincent character. I received this book from NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing in exchange for an unbiased review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Erin Sokol

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book was a trip! Written in many forms of art & set in Paris, it has a magical atmospheric detailed description. It gave me similar vibes to One Italian Summer - the feeling of needing to go somewhere new to find yourself after life betrays you. I will say this one is unexpectedly steamy in some places. It was a bit about recreating the self you’ve always known, forgiving what feels unforgivable, and a touch of the repeating patterns in the cycle of life. My drawback is the use of affairs i This book was a trip! Written in many forms of art & set in Paris, it has a magical atmospheric detailed description. It gave me similar vibes to One Italian Summer - the feeling of needing to go somewhere new to find yourself after life betrays you. I will say this one is unexpectedly steamy in some places. It was a bit about recreating the self you’ve always known, forgiving what feels unforgivable, and a touch of the repeating patterns in the cycle of life. My drawback is the use of affairs in most fiction books lately. I don’t understand why it is the center of almost every adult fiction plot… I will not be able to rate this one and I am not particularly sure who I would/would not recommend this book to 🤷‍♀️🙃

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jude (HeyJudeReads) Fricano

    ' "Celui qui vit verra," he says. He who lives will see.' - Leesa Cross-Smith, Half-Blown Rose A colorful story of love, desire, independence, longing, family, adventure and finding oneself. Vin, after a hurtful event with her husband creates a life in Paris. Surrounded by art, food, music and friends, she lives her best life. Yet the family on the other side of the ocean wonders how this will all end - her husband Cillian continues to express his undying love while her new life provides her a do ' "Celui qui vit verra," he says. He who lives will see.' - Leesa Cross-Smith, Half-Blown Rose A colorful story of love, desire, independence, longing, family, adventure and finding oneself. Vin, after a hurtful event with her husband creates a life in Paris. Surrounded by art, food, music and friends, she lives her best life. Yet the family on the other side of the ocean wonders how this will all end - her husband Cillian continues to express his undying love while her new life provides her a door to exploring her real self. Told with love, lust and laughter Half-Blown Rose is an amazing adventure into what could be when we listen to our heart!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    After learning the truth of her husband’s past, Vincent is hurt and escapes to Paris for an unforgettable, life changing experience. She meets someone unexpected causing her to feel confused about where her life is headed next. This story made me want to travel! The author did an amazing job describing Paris and transporting me to a place I’ve always wanted to visit. This was definitely a slow burn and some of the interjections got to be a little much. I didn’t care for the ending and wish we we After learning the truth of her husband’s past, Vincent is hurt and escapes to Paris for an unforgettable, life changing experience. She meets someone unexpected causing her to feel confused about where her life is headed next. This story made me want to travel! The author did an amazing job describing Paris and transporting me to a place I’ve always wanted to visit. This was definitely a slow burn and some of the interjections got to be a little much. I didn’t care for the ending and wish we were left with a little more. Overall it was an enjoyable summer read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jade

    This did not compare to The Idea of You at all and I am so bummed. Weird book 🫠

  30. 4 out of 5

    Juwairiyah

    Not the kind of book I usually read but I still strangely enjoyed it?!

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