Renia Baranczka is living the life she always hoped for in Paris. She manages a chic plant shop though her rarest plant is locked away and not for sale. Its flowers emit a special fragrance that can erase a person’s memory. She can’t just destroy it, she promised her mentally unstable sister she wouldn’t. But one day, when Renia’s favorite client turns up dead, she realizes the plant may be more dangerous than she thought and without her client’s business, the shop can no longer stay afloat.
So when a shady character from her past appears with a nefarious proposal, Renia does what she’d pledged she’d never do: sell the flowers for cash. As Renia navigates the underworld of blackmarket mobsters, she must fend off unwanted advances, physical abuse, and intimidating threats until finally, she must fight not only to save the plant, but her sister, and ultimately, herself.
Praise for The Forgetting Flower
“A lush mystery with the underpinnings of a fairy tale shot through with magic and tragedy. Karen Hugg is the rare author who can blend wonder and suspense.”—Emily Carpenter, Author of Until the Day I Die and Burying the Honeysuckle Girls
“Intriguing and atmospheric, The Forgetting Flower has a fairytale quality, a journey into the sensuous magic of plants. The florescent beauty at the heart of this eerie story of sisterly love and redemption is the extraordinary mountain hybrid Violet Smoke with its scent of burnt apricot, as dangerously potent in Paris as it was in its beginnings in Poland.”—Deborah Lawrenson, Author of The Lantern and 300 Days of Sun
“The delight and grit of Paris, the desperation of poverty, the love of plants and family — all beautifully and authentically told. The literary side of the novel brings sensitivity and texture to the struggling characters and their surroundings, and the thriller side kept me up late, anxious to find out what happens next.”—Sue Burke, Author of The Semiosis Duology
“Karen Hugg’s The Forgetting Flower instantly captures a reader’s imagination. A book for those who love not only Paris and flowers, but also intrigue and danger.”—Marty Wingate, Author of A Potting Shed Mystery Series
Vero Leclaire has moved back home to care for her sick cat Sophie while her mom is in rehab. But after Sophie dies from a heart attack and is revived by a vet, she leads Vero to a tree hollow where a strange humming emanates. Unsure whether the tree is haunted or she’s imagining things, Vero goes on a quest to solve the puzzle, finding an exotic fern, a Native medallion, and an old cassette tape, which together unravel the truth about her dark family history. In the end, Vero must battle not only her penchant for living in the past but save her mom before she dies at the hands of the person who knows what’s buried beneath the tree.
In the Works
Harvesting the Sky, Coming in Fall, 2021
(Semi-finalist, Del Sol First Novel Prize Competition, 2016)
American Andre Damazy is an experienced botanist. He can grow any plant so when he gets the opportunity to propagate a rare medicinal apple, he jumps on the chance. The issue’s personal for him. His mother had a stroke and he knows if he can bring this apple to the public, thousands of ill people will be healed. But a stranger constantly thwarts Andre’s work: stalking him, spraying his trees, intimidating him through effigies and notes. While Andre doesn’t understand why anyone would do this, he suspects it’s related to a previous project during his teenage years when an old woman died. Now, he has to push on, despite the stranger’s beliefs, so he can not only bring this curative apple to the world, but redeem himself for his past mistakes.
The Dark Petals of Provence, Coming in 2022
(Third Prize, Pacific Northwest Writers Association Contest, 2020)
Fresh off a nasty divorce, American April Pearce arrives in Provence to photograph its secret places for a travel magazine. But on her first night in a lavender field, she accidentally snaps a teenager running by covered in blood. When she enquires about him in the local village, no one wants to talk. They don’t like April and she can’t figure out why. As she witnesses other disturbing events, her concern for the teen grows, but the more she investigates, the more she’s threatened and her work vandalized. Then she meets some wealthy celebrities who may or may not help her. As April struggles to stand up for what’s right, she in turn reveals the shameful secret the village has kept hidden for years.