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Reviewed by Ammaarah Seboa for Readers' Favorite
Inspired by the Italian folktale, La Cittá di Smeraldo, J.F. Rogers’ story The Smeraldo Flower tells a story about a gifted artist and a scarred heir. This short story echoes a tale as old as time, with a bit of a dark twist. The two meet when Soren contacts Carola’s family about commissioning an art piece for his home. With her handmaiden in tow, the two travel to Italy’s countryside. Once there she meets a strange man, and this is where her adventure begins. Join her as she tries to uncover the secrets Soren holds close to his heart along with how the Smeraldo flower came to be.
I was speechless, as his story was so wholesome and beautiful. It draws on the tale of Beauty and the Beast as well as The Phantom of the Opera. Maybe it’s because I am a fan of the song The Truth Untold by BTS, which is based on the Italian folktale, La Cittá di Smeraldo. The folktale is about a mysterious man with an ugly appearance who lives in a small castle in a rural village in northern Italy. Rogers decided to write her own version, resulting in The Smeraldo Flower. I was completely wrapped up in the world of Carola and Soren. The themes of beauty, love, and yearning can be seen throughout this story along with the author challenging societal norms such as that to find happiness or to succeed in life, women should get married and have children. But our heroine, Carola finds happiness in her art and so does Soren. The plot was so well developed that I could easily picture what I was reading in front of me. We see both characters grow and how the beauty inside a person is what matters.