Flowers At Dawn is a novel of middling length in the process of being written by Shadow Warden - as of now it has a completed outline which the story fails to adhere to for more than five minutes at a time.
The story follows Margaret Blackburn, a Naïve Newcomer to the town of Winding Way. Having bought her house after the deaths of the previous inhabitants, the Hopes, before even so much as visiting the town (due to circumstances that aren't very clear), she arrives unaware of the fact that she is without water, electricity, and heat. In fact, the entire town is without these same necessities, and save for certain modern styles of building, the inhabitants live as though it were a century ago.
While she desperately looks for a job, she discovers that the townspeople aren't very happy to see her, and she herself is intimidated by the house she lives in. Matters get more confusing when the son of the previous inhabitants, Charles Hope, arrives, unaware of their deaths; Margaret, after breaking the news to him, allows him to stay, and in exchange he puts her onto a job - working for the town and keeping the Park in shape.
However, the Park has mysteries of its own, which are exposed by Charles when he finally breaks down - the town is centered on a portal to an alternate world, one inhabited by plant-centric spirits desirous of worship, revenge, and other primal, emotional satisfactions. It was these tempestuous spirits that killed his parents, and who plan to break free and wreak havoc on the Winter Solstice.
The Park that Margaret is charged with keeping is a battleground - and she and Charles must learn how to fight with it without arousing the suspicions of the town (some of whom are sympathetic to the spirits).
Flowers At Dawn contains examples of the following tropes:
- Anti-Villain (Magnus, Coriander.)
- Cannot Spit It Out (Charles, in regards to his unrequited crush on Margaret.)
- The Casanova (Coriander.)
- The Chosen One (Margaret, who wasn't even aware of being chosen.)
- Closed Circle (The Park and its inhabitants make sure that nobody is able to leave town.)
- Dark World (But light and sunny.)
- Double Agent (Magnus.)
- Dream Land (Subverted - it's actually one way of getting into the Dark World.)
- Dying Town (Ever since the mills closed.)
- Eccentric Townsfolk (Very subverted.)
- The Everyman (Margaret, a female example.)
- Evil Albino (Mayor Anderson, who is the physical half of Coriander.)
- The Fair Folk (The inhabitants of the Park.)
- Five-Man Band
- Fridge Logic (An in-universe example, when Margaret realizes it's November, and yet all the plants in town are blooming.)
- Flower Motifs (By Victorian definitions.)
- Magnolias, grown by Magnus - they symbolize a love of nature.
- Rosemary is grown by Loretta Lane, and its symbolism relates to memory. Rose Marie likes mind games.
- Coriander symbolizes lust, and the story's Casanova is named after it for good reason.
- Ivy, symbolizing dependence, grows everywhere in Winding Way except in the Park.
- Lovecraft Country (Except in northern California.)
- Man-Eating Plant (Rose Marie's snakevine.)
- Meaningful Name (Often anviliciously tied into the flower symbolism.)
- Mind Rape and Mind Screw (Both perpetrated by Rose Marie during the course of the story.)
- Ominous Fog (Oh so much.)
- Our Ghosts Are Different
- Parental Abandonment
- Plot-Driven Breakdown (Justified by magic.)
- Revenge (Charles' motivation for helping Margaret.)
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge (The Green Man, on the humans.)
- Sealed Evil in a Can (The Park is the stopper on the world of plant spirits.)
- Shrinking Violet (Margaret and Charles both, though mild examples.)
- Town with a Dark Secret (Turns out most of the townsfolk know all about the Park.)
- True Companions (Nearly averted - it's only later in the story that Margaret and Charles begin to bond, overcoming mutual shyness.)
- When Trees Attack (The Green Man can bring plants to life. The Green Man is also Ax-Crazy.)
- Worthy Opponent (Magnus.)