Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Rose House, by Tina Ann Forkner (Waterbrook)

(Click cover for more information)

The Rose House is story of a private grief, a secret painting, and a 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 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.

Ms. Forkner has excellent eye-pen coordination in describing La Rosaleda, its surroundings, and, particularly the enigmatic Rose House featured on the estate, which has a history of its own. However, some plot amibuguity, what seemed to me to be a rushed romance between Lillian and Truman and a few curious dialog snippets yanked me from the dream at spots. Altogether, though, a good read.

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