Rose Pritchard shows up at the doorstep of a Cumbrian Bed & Breakfast in the middle of the night one rainy evening. She and daughter Maddie have left everything behind in the search of a fresh start but Rose truly doesn't know what exactly she's doing so far away from home except for the fact that this is last known whereabouts of a man that made a lasting impression on her more than seven years ago.
Rose knows that she only has a little time before her past catches up with her and that she must find the answers that she is seeking quickly. What Rose finds in the end is far more than just the answers that she was looking for- she finds herself.
Dearest Rose touches on a very different topic than the ones that she usually tackles. It explores the topic of abuse- mental, physical and emotional- and how being abused can affect the victim in so many ways. The topic was handled with such grace and emotion and I was really able to connect with what the author was saying. There was one scene in particular that stuck with me long after I finished the book. *SPOILER ALERT* Rose's best friend, spunky Shona, is in an abusive on-again, off-again relationship. Shona comes out to visit and support Rose in her self-discovery and she admits that she is thinking of going back to her boyfriend, that he deserves a second chance. Rose urges Shona not to go back to him, that no good can come of it, but Shona returns to him anyways with some devastating consequences. That scene really made me re-consider my perspective on women who are abused. I have always wondered why women return to the men that hurt them so deeply, but Rowan Coleman certainly presented this situation in an interesting light. This story manages to be both heartbreaking and enlightening at the same time.
I did have one complaint about Dearest Rose, and that was that I felt that the story came together too neatly towards the end. Things fell into place rather perfectly in one way and I believe that things rarely come together like that. Hurt feelings that have accumulated over many years do not disappear as quickly as they did in this story and I felt that it would have been more realistic towards the end if things remained a little messy.
I appreciated the character development in Dearest Rose. The characters were flawed and real and difficult and quirky. Despite the fact that the topic was dark and often difficult to discuss I found myself truly appreciating this story and all that it had to offer. Rowan Coleman tackles a difficult subject with talent and sensitivity and the result is a highly readable book that I can recommend wholeheartedly. My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this book.