Book Review: A Love Song for Ricki Wilde by Tia Williams

A Love Song for Ricki Wilde by Tia Williams is about Ricki Wilde, her family’s misfit as she’s younger than her three older sisters and is adamant about forging her own path away from the family’s funeral home business. After a chance encounter with Ms. Della at one of her family’s funeral homes, she offers Ricki an opportunity to come with her to Harlem to make her dream of owning a flower shop a reality. Not one to tempt fate or decline an opportunity when it comes knocking, she takes up Ms. Della on her offer and moves into her Harlem brownstone to start her new life.

As Ricki struggles to find her footing in the city as a new transplant and entrepreneur, she finds a little bit of solace at a community garden. Until her moment of peace is broken by some guy lurking in the shadows. She ends up running into this guy everywhere but it’s clear they’re drawn to each other. Ezra, a man out of time, is drawn to Ricki immediately and attempts to push her away for her own safety, which becomes impossible until they both just succumb to it and fall for each other.

Ricki and Ezra’s complicated love story overshadows a lot of the themes in the story around forgiveness, bravery, grief. Especially for Ezra, who has experienced so much hurt and is burdened with unending grief, he doesn’t feel relief from it until Ricki which just added more to the burden pile. The magical realism component of the story, which plays a very big part of Ricky and Ezra’s story, pulses steadily in the background. Without saying too much, Ezra is cursed, which adds onto the burden pile – both the weight of the curse itself, and how he got it.

Throughout the whole story, Ricki is fearless. Adamant about not becoming like her sisters or following in anyone’s footsteps, she forges her own path to do what she loves. Never having run a business before, she figures out what worked for her. And in being in Harlem for the first time and wanting to dive deep into the culture and past of the area, she figured out a way to learn more about her new city in her own way – by laying flower arrangements at current locations of former historical Harlem landmarks. I loved how the story weaved in bits of Harlem’s past into the story, shining a light on things that could have been otherwise forgotten.

I enjoyed the Ricki and Ezra’s story. I love magical realism in romance – it maintains the contemporary feeling with a dash of magic; not quite fantasy but borderline. I will say that at first, the story felt disjointed until Ezra’s story was revealed. From then on, I was captivated by the story – to the point that it would be the last thing I would think about before bed! I kept trying to figure out how the book would end and was only part right. All in all, A Love Song for Ricki Wilde was fun to read and was a good follow up after Seven Days in June (read my review for that here!)

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