Thursday, 27 September 2012

Books Read: Rowan Coleman - Dearest Rose

'You are a remarkable woman and you deserve all the happiness, contentment and love in the world. I, for one, know that I have never met anyone quite like you.'

When Rose Pritchard turns up on the doorstep of a Cumbrian B&B it is her last resort. She and her seven-year-old daughter Maddie have left everything behind. And they have come to the village of Millthwaite in search of the person who once offered Rose hope. 

Almost immediately Rose wonders if she's made a terrible mistake - if she's chasing a dream - but she knows in her heart that she cannot go back. She's been given a second chance - at life, and love - but will she have the courage to take it?

I have to confess that I've only read the last couple of Rowan Coleman's books so I've got a whole back catalogue of her books to catch up on.  Having loved her last book, Lessons in Laughing Out Loud, I had been looking forward to reading this although I had a hunch that this book would be a bit of a weepie and I was definitely right.

From the start when Rose and her young daughter Maddie turn up unannounced at a B&B in the middle of the night with just the clothes on their backs, you know that something awful has happened in her life to make her run.  But what is her story and why has she chosen this remote area in the Cumbrian countryside?

It's soon apparent that it was fate that brought her to Millthwaite as she discovers that someone from her past, someone she thought she would never see again, lives in the village.  Will he be pleased to see her and can they rebuild bridges before it's too late?

It certainly turns out that coming to Millthwaite was the perfect tonic for them both, as Rose is able to step out of the shadows and blossom into the person she's meant to be, and Maddie can enjoy a normal happy childhood surrounded by people who love her. 

For me this was a very emotional book to read as I could relate to some of the experiences that Rose and Maddie had endured, especially Maddie who had seen and heard things that no child should be witness to.  But despite the heartbreaking topics that are covered in this book, I have to say they have been handled with extreme sensitivity.  But it's not all doom, there are plenty of light relief moments throughout as well.

There is a wonderful mix of characters throughout the book, the vulnerable but resilient Rose, strong-willed Shona, Rose's friend, who's facing her own dramas, Jenny and Brian, the B&B owners who welcome Rose and Maddie into their family and many more. But I have to say my favourite character of all was young Maddie who seems very wise beyond her years, she provided some entertaining moments with the things she says and does.

I'd like to thank Arrow Publishing for sending me a copy of Dearest Rose to review.   

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