Monday, April 13, 2015

Her Name Is Rose: A NovelHer Name Is Rose: A Novel by Christine Breen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Look no further for a Mother’s Day or graduation gift, or a special treat for yourself. There’s a space in Irish women’s fiction right between wise Maeve Binchy and touch-of-magic Cecilia Ahern—and Christine Breen, with her wisdom, humor, and sheer good-heartedness, fits in it beautifully.

Her Name Is Rose is an exploration of love in many forms. Twenty years ago, Iris and her husband Luke adopted Rose. They had a wonderful life in Ireland together as a family for eighteen years. Then Luke died.  It’s two years later, and Rose has gone to London, accepted into prestigious Royal Academy of Music. Iris found some solace in gardening and blogging, but she’s naturally still grieving and she’s just been laid off her column at the local newspaper—and she’s just received troubling news after a mammography. How awful can life be? Rose could be left alone, both adoptive parents dead of cancer. Iris decides she must keep her promise to Luke to find Rose’s birth mother, just in case. But the system is set up for the “natural” offspring and parents to find each other, not for adoptive parents. It’s refreshing to read about the insecurities of the adoptive parent rather than the child, for once. But Rose gets her fair share of page time. She’s been raised with love and affection and is not full of angst; finding her birth parents is the farthest thing from her mind. She’s a young woman finding her talents—and possibly, romance.

Somehow, Iris finds herself in Boston, looking for Rose’s birth mother, before she even has her follow-up breast exam or diagnosis. Rose has a crisis and heads home to an empty house. Adventure, love, and mad coincidences ensue. This is my favorite kind of women’s fiction; everyday characters, ordinary problems, extraordinary situations looked at through lenses of love and kindness. The kind that leaves me with hope for the human condition and the world at large. Yes, it all works out in the end, and the journey itself is all pleasure.  Nice to have two female perspectives, of differing ages (Iris and Rose), and there’s a male perspective, too.

Highly recommended for fans of Binchy, Moyes, Mansell, etc. Also for those with an interest in love stories, music themes—Rose is not the only musician in the story—and gardening.  Miss Em is very much looking forward to more from this author!

(I received a galley from St. Martins for review.) And watch this space for a possible giveaway!

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