Friday, August 21, 2009

Rose House by Tina Ann Forkner

Rose House

Rose House
by Tina Ann Forkner

Trade Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
First Released: 2009

Author Website
Author on Twitter

Source: Review copy from publisher

Back Cover Description:
A vivid story of a private grief, a secret painting, and one woman’s search for hope.

Still mourning the loss of her family in a tragic accident, Lillian Diamon finds herself drawn back to the Rose House, a quiet cottage where four years earlier she had poured out her anguish among its fragrant blossoms.

She returns to the rolling hills and lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley in search of something she can’t quite name. But then Lillian stumbles onto an unexpected discovery: displayed in the La Rosaleda Gallery is a painting that captures every detail of her most private moment of misery, from the sorrow etched across her face to the sandals on her feet.

What kind of artist would dare to intrude on such a personal scene, and how did he happen to witness Lillian’s pain? As the mystery surrounding the portrait becomes entangled with the accident that claimed the lives of her husband and children, Lillian is forced to rethink her assumptions about what really happened that day.

A captivating novel rich with detail, Rose House explores how the brushstrokes of pain can illuminate the true beauty of life.

Rose House was a well-written Christian romance novel with a good dose of suspense. It had a lot of romantic tension and temptation.

This novel was the second in a series. It focused on new characters with some characters from the previous book playing a supporting role. You can understand this book without having read the previous one. However, the author was deliberately vague about some details from the first book that might have helped readers understand the full significance of the Rose House.

The characters were engaging and complex. They dealt with real, difficult conflicts and decisions. There were no quick or easy answers to the pain and betrayal Lillian felt even though healing and reconciliation did come in the end. The pacing was excellent, and the world-building details were excellent.

Lillian dealt with a lot of loss in the novel and questioned why God allowed her young children to die. She ignored God after losing them. Several of the characters discussed this question with her, but I never felt like the discussion got preachy or "here's how you ought to believe." There's probably more God discussion in the novel than most non-Christians would be interested in, though.

There was no sex (for reasons beyond "religion," too), and I don't recall any bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this book as very good, clean reading.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Chapter One
It seemed to be a cottage that was alive, but it was only the vines twining in on themselves and clinging to the structure that were living, not unlike the memories and feelings people had attached to the house over time, making it mean more than mere sticks, pieces of wood, nails, and peeling paint could ever imply on their own.

The camera zoomed out to trace the rose brambles wrapping along the awning, curling over the banister and into the flowering borders along one side of the porch.The rest of the house gradually came into view, filling the scene with an abundance of roses in shades of scarlet draping the windows like curtains, then rambling across the roof, around the chimney and sweeping to the edges of the house, where they seemed to reach out their thorny branches toward passersby.

The lens didn’t capture the woman’s form at first as it swept away from the house down toward the yard and footpath with its border of snow white Shasta daisies and purple coneflowers. It leisurely zoomed in on a mass of daisies, capturing the breeze that sent an occasional ripple through the border, until the camera was forced to pause at the surprise interruption: a foot that intruded on the otherwise perfect scene.

To the artist behind the lens it was an exquisitely formed foot with a milky white ankle and pink-painted toenails. The lens suddenly tightened its view to capture the sandal decorated with pink and white pearlescent beads and a delicate pink ribbon that wound around the ankle and tied neatly above the heel.

Read the rest of chapter one.


Tina said...

So kind. Thank you. :-)

Genre Reviewer said...

Tina, you're welcome. Thank you for writing such a good book and for dropping by. And thank you for linking to this post!

Tea said...

I might have loss my entry. I would love to win, read, review The Rose House. Thanks for entering me.