• Blue Dahlia

  • In the Garden, Book 1
  • By: Nora Roberts
  • Narrated by: Susie Breck
  • Length: 10 hrs and 46 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (3,807 ratings)

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Blue Dahlia

By: Nora Roberts
Narrated by: Susie Breck
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Publisher's Summary

Against the backdrop of a house steeped in history and a thriving new gardening business, three women unearth the memories of the past in the first novel in #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts’ In the Garden Trilogy.

A Harper has always lived at Harper House, the centuries-old mansion just outside of Memphis. And for as long as anyone alive remembers, the ghostly Harper Bride has walked the halls, singing lullabies at night…

Trying to escape the ghosts of the past, young widow Stella Rothchild, along with her two energetic little boys, has moved back to her roots in southern Tennessee. She isn’t intimidated by Harper House - nor by its mistress. Despite a reputation for being difficult, Roz Harper has been nothing but kind to Stella, offering her a comfortable place to live and a challenging new job as manager of the flourishing In the Garden nursery.

As Stella settles comfortably into her new life, she finds a nurturing friendship with Roz and expectant mother Hayley and a fierce attraction to ruggedly handsome landscaper Logan Kitridge. He’s difficult but honest, brash but considerate - and undeniably sexy. And for a sensible woman like Stella, he may be just what she needs...

Don’t miss the other books in the Garden Trilogy:
Black Rose
Red Lily

©2004 Nora Roberts (P)2004 Brilliance Audio

Critic Reviews

"Roberts, the queen of romance, launches a new trilogy with a captivating tale in which her considerable talents at creating richly compelling characters and witty, spellbinding stories come into full bloom in a paranormal-tinged romance." ( Booklist)

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What listeners say about Blue Dahlia

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Story
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

mmmm...not a big Susie Breck fan

I love Nora Roberts. she's my all time favorite author! this story was, of course, perfect. I love how Nora writes for women who are yearning to discover themselves. I can't wait to finish this trilogy.

Susie Breck on the other hand.... not a fan. she did a great job, but her voice is so generic and almost fake. I enjoy narrators that have a flow and read the book like they are telling a story about something that happened with them that day. Brecks reads a book, and it is almost annoying. her accents are annoying to listen to sometimes especially when it came to her characterization of male characters and young characters.

32 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful!

Would you consider the audio edition of Blue Dahlia to be better than the print version?

I've never read the printed version of Blue Dahlia. I did however love the audio version!

Who was your favorite character and why?

I liked Luke and the children. Luke is charming and has his own style.

What about Susie Breck’s performance did you like?

She was fabulous! I thought she did a brilliant job with the different characters voices.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listened to this book every chance I got for 2 days. Its Halloween and this book was a wonderful way to get into the spirit!

Any additional comments?

Loved it! I can't wait to listen to the next ones in the series. Usually Nora Roberts can be a little tame in the sex scenes but this book has some detail but not enough to be offensive. Wonderful!

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Story, Excellent Narrator

This series is one of my favorites from Nora Roberts, and Susie Breck makes listening a major treat! Within the range of western Tennessee accents, she gives each character a distinctly different voice, and even the laughs and giggles stay true to the age and voice of the characters.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Story great, reader has never been south

Would you listen to Blue Dahlia again? Why?

No. The narrator was simply awful, with her totally inaccurate and annoying southern accents. Ugh!

What didn’t you like about Susie Breck’s performance?

As above, her accents are awful and quite distracting.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Totally enjoyable

It has been so lovely listening to this story. So much so I am downloading the second in this trilogy. Well spoken, lovely characters. Hope you enjoy it too.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I want to grow a garden

It grips you from the get go and gets you into the lives of the characters.

The Harper bride is a bit scary but you do get to feel for her and want to assist the characters to find her past!

good read, good listen - always the best.

Thank you Nora!

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

entertaining but doesn't captivate

Any additional comments?

The male character is easily seduced with minimal encouragement and the love is found in an astoundingly quick time. I like the ghost in the story. Perhaps the most complicated character in the book. :)

9 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Hate the Narrator

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A different narrator, she speaks so fast that you cannot absorb what is being said.

What didn’t you like about Susie Breck’s performance?

Everything!!!!!!!!

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great Start To A new Series

The book starts out with a bang. Stella Rothchild is a wife and stay-at-home mother of two. When her husband dies quite suddenly, Stella feels uprooted and unsure of how she can move on. The only thing that gets her through the two years following her husband's death is her two sons, Gavin and Luke. With the intent of starting anew, Stella packs up her family and moves closer to her father and step-mother in Memphis.

After finding the perfect job for her obsessive organizational personality, Stella is determined to make a place for herself at In the Garden nursery. The fact that she admires and likes her boss is an added bonus. Though at first leery of her boss, Roz Harper's request that her family live in Harper House, Stella soon finds herself and her boys fitting right in. Hired by Roz to take over the business aspect of In the Garden, Stella is eager and willing to implement a new system that will help business run smoother. The only thing that does not run smoothly is her relationship with Logan Kitridge, Roz's Landscape Designer who has an aversion to people who are as rigidly organized and uptight as Stella.

Logan Kitridge had been happy working for Roz, until she hired Stella Rothchild. Stella was such his polar opposite that he was mystified by his attraction to her. Things that were at first annoying to him, he now found amusing. However, if he wants a future with Stella, there are several obstacles to overcome. One is her nervousness over committing; the other is the Harper Ghost.

The Harper Ghost who has been known for generations as "The Bride" seems like a benign presence. When Stella first hears singing in her son's room, her analytical mind cannot comprehend the idea of a ghost. When she mentions it to the other people in the house, she is relieved to realize that she is not losing her mind, nor is she crazy. As Stella and Logan grow closer, The Bride reacts badly. Stella isn't about to let a ghost tell her how to live her life, nor is she going to let a ghost keep her from her children.

The first book of the IN THE GARDEN trilogy shows great promise that this will be a great series. The dynamic between Logan and Stella is very amusing at times, and touching at others. Throw in a ghost and some family secrets and you have a great start to a new series.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

predictable but still very good

I really enjoyed Blue Dahlia. The story is about a woman who lost her husband at a young age and had to take care of her two children on her own. She moves to Tennessee where she was born to be closer to her dad and stepmom. The story is about her journey and the people she meets and learns to lean on. It took a little while to get going but it turned out to be really good. I enjoyed the narrator, since I am from Tennessee the accent is not perfect but close enough not to be annoying. This is only the third Nora Roberts series I have read/listened to the first two were the Key Trilogy and the Bride Quartet and I enjoyed both of those as well. I can see from these three series that Nora Roberts likes to write about strong independent women who have other strong independent women in their lives as support and family. The love parts are predictable but still very good and you don't seem to mind that you know what is going to happen because you get invested in the story and the people in the story. I have just downloaded the second book in this series Black Rose and cannot wait for my ride home from work to start it.

6 people found this helpful

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  • anna
  • 02-26-17

Over and over

If you could sum up Blue Dahlia in three words, what would they be?

Ive read the whole series and now ive listened to them and i will again.

Any additional comments?

The whole series is worth a read. One that you will reach for again

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jackie Aitken
  • 07-13-21

riveting

entertaining and suspenseful from start to finish. A lovely romantic storyline, typical of Nora Roberts

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Áine OB
  • 04-03-21

Magical

This is the first book I ever read by Nora Roberts, I can't remember but it was many years ago. I've had a recent urge to reread some of the books that I loved to see how they've stood up to the test of time. Some have stood the test of time others have failed miserably! I was surprised which ones that failed as some are were and still are popular. But I digress. I loved this book first time round and loved it even more the second time. I've reread an number of Nora Robert's books and series a number of times such as the Cousins O'Dwyers, the Guardians and a few of the standalones especially Come Sundown which I've reread three times now!

Although Nora Roberts' books are listed as Romance they are must more layered and complex than that. This book is foremost a ghost story and a chilling one at that. The romance is a strong theme in the book but it is equaled by family, friendship and at times humour. It centers on a young widow who wants to return to her birth place to be closer to her family and restart her career as a (garden) nursery manager. As part of the terms of her employment she is asked to move into a wing of the big old southern house that the owner lives in which is hunted by the 'Harper Bride' being a sensible person she believes that it is just a story to add local flavour. Needless to say she is proved wrong. The romance side isn't a straight forward girl meets guy kinda thing or a love/lust at first sight either. In fact they don't particularly like each other initially and both bring baggage along. The only slight niggle is that it does progress a bit fast but I think this due to the fact that it's a secondary story line. That's all I'll say in case I give anything away!

If you're a fan of Nora Roberts and haven't read this one, get it, don't hesitate. If you have never read a Nora Roberts then this is a great first book to start.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anita
  • 09-02-21

Dull

The narrator really spoilt this book for me. Awful.
The Character, Stella was so wishy washy too. Just really annoying.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Catherine
  • 01-06-18

Captivating

Loved it
It has you wondering and smiling all the way through
I can’t wait for the next book

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 12-13-17

lovely

Read with great accents and lovely voice. A favorite trilogy beautifully performed. Highly recommend especially if you want to be motivated to do some gardening.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-09-22

Great story

I really enjoyed this …… Stella was a bit annoying but understandable….. I can’t wait listen to the next one in the series

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • JenB
  • 12-07-20

For romantics only

Ok, if you like romances. I think I must have lost my taste for them as I didn't really enjoy it.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Claire Bentley
  • 06-27-20

Predictable

A little bit corny and predictable for me. Easy to listen, but.... If you want an easy romance go for it!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kate
  • 08-30-17

A thoroughly enjoyable read!

Overall, the storyline was very well paced, with excellent balance & counterpoint, & positively delicious romantic highlights. The paranormal element was both creative & well researched. Susie Breck's narration was spot on the money; more than once I found myself gloriously lost in a distant & foreign moment. If you are looking for something to take you away from it all, to transport you to another place and time, then this is the book for you!