Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Book Review: When Jasmine Blooms, by Tif Marcelo

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

In this life I was a brand influencer in the truest sense. 

This Celine and I both had the same drive, but our focus differed. Having children had steered me toward being a coach, and without children, this Celine was a personality. Both were valuable careers. Both required so much work—it was evident with all this stuff in the attic. 

But what did that say about me when my love life in both worlds was on the rocks? When I had avoided dealing with a home and its issues? And my social media was full of curated images?

It says that you’re not who you say you are.

The foreboding words from my conscience triggered my heart rate. Moving quickly, I repacked packages and pushed away my dreary thoughts. Every minute in this place was dragging me to emotional spaces I’d successfully avoided, and more than ever, I wanted to go home.

Celine feels confident in her career, until she overhears some women questioning her sincerity. A confrontation with her family soon after leaves her wondering—what if she’d taken another path decades ago?

Official synopsis:

Book Review: When Jasmine Blooms, by Tif Marcelo
It’s been two years since Celine lost her daughter Libby. Desperate to escape her grief, Celine throws herself into her work, determined to be the strong, capable woman the world believes her to be. But there’s no fooling her family.

A shocking intervention brings an impossible choice: confront her grief or risk losing the family she still has. Reeling, Celine wonders what her life would have been like if she’d chosen her first love instead of her husband and avoided this pain altogether.

Celine wakes the following day and is shocked to realize that what-if has become reality. She’s with her high school sweetheart, her daughters aren’t quite her daughters, and her home is being rented by the daughter she thought she’d lost forever.

As she reconnects with Libby in this parallel world, Celine is forced to face the problems in her real life: her unwillingness to move forward, the tension that’s always rocked her family, and the hard truth that not everything can be fixed by a mother’s love.

Celine is sure that she’s a mother first, and that her career always comes second. When her family collectively questions that, her world and self-image is completely rocked. She suddenly finds herself in the small town where it all started, but this Celine made completely different choices. Her children are not her own, and the love of her life—her real-life husband of decades—will barely even speak to her.

While the message to be learned is pretty clear from the beginning of the book, the presentation felt new and insightful. It was heartwarming to read about Celine trying to bring the best of herself from both versions of reality to try and make it all better for past/alternative Celine, and hopefully get original Celine back to the life she now acknowledges that she misses and needs to work to set right.

The book earned 4 out of 5 stars, and it was so entertaining to watch the slight variations the people in Celine’s life had based on how they responded to the different Celine. How many lives are just that little bit different because of who they knew or interacted with regularly? This was a fun contemporary fiction story with a non-judgmental look at the choices made in life and lifestyle.

{click here to purchase via Amazon Affiliate link—currently free for Kindle Unlimited members}

Becki Bayley knows that Faygo makes the best Red Pop, and Die Hard is an excellent Christmas movie. Learn more of what makes her tick on her blog,


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