Review: Such Pretty Flowers by K. L. Cerra

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Such Pretty Flowers is a mystery with Mexican Gothic vibes set in a fancy townhouse in Savannah, Georgia.

Holly is a floundering twentysomething woman in Savannah at a crossroads in a pretty directionless life. Her roommates are newly engaged and talking about getting their own place when they think she can’t overhear, so she’s about to be homeless. Her job at the library is uninspiring. She’s not close to her parents and doesn’t have close friends beyond her brother, who distanced himself after moving in with his fiancée, Maura. Maura is everything Holly isn’t: posh, seductive, and mysterious, she’s a florist with a ritzy inner circle and a fancy townhouse in an affluent neighborhood far from where Holly grew up. After her brother commits suicide in a horrific manner, Holly feels guilty for not answering his final, cryptic text message and decides to investigate by faking friendship with her almost in-law as a way to get into her house and snoop through his things. But as Maura and Holly get closer, Holly starts losing control over her life and her reality, ultimately discovering secrets that could end up as dangerous for her as they were for her brother.

Such Pretty Flowers is sultry Southern Gothic tale that reminds the reader of the sweet scent of flowers at a funeral. K. L. Cerra does a fantastic job building suspense and mystery throughout the book in waves that make you wonder if the narrator is losing her grip on reality as the story progresses. It’s also such an accurate portrayal of a toxic, emotionally abusive relationship with a gaslighting narcissist that I wanted to yell at the protagonist to just GET OUT. Cerra doesn’t pull any punches with the creep factor, and I thought about this book for a long time after I finished it.

The main characters aren’t terribly likeable; they’re both self-centered and shallow in their own ways, which made it harder for me to get lost in the story, but that’s very much a personal preference. I thought Such Pretty Flowers was well written and disturbing, so if you’re into a good gothic mystery with a hothouse flower murder vibe, this book is for you.

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