A ROSE SO FAIR
Plucky Rose Linwood grew up on her grandfather's Arkansas tenant farm, a life her two older sisters never cared much for. Working alongside her grandpa, though, Rose learned to love the land as much as he did. Now her sisters have married and moved on, Grandpa has gone to his eternal reward, and Rose is determined to make a go of the farm on her own. But crops have been slow to recover since the drought of 1930-31, and the whole country struggles in the grip of the Great Depression. Drifters looking for work or handouts roam the countryside, some of them up to no good, so Rose keeps her trusty Winchester rifle at the ready.
Caleb Wieland, Rose's best friend, isn't the farmer his late father was, and he's about to lose his cotton crop to boll weevils. He'd let the farm go and search for work he's more suited to, except he can't desert his widowed mother. Besides, he's been quietly falling in love with Rose since they were in grammar school, and the thought of leaving her behind is too much to bear. He'd give anything to win her heart, but Rose's stubborn independence is proving as thorny as the flower for which she's named.
I'm both excited and a little sad to be reading the last book in Myra Johnson's Flowers of Eden series. I feel like I'm saying goodbye to very dear friends with no idea if I'll ever meet up with them again.
The author has given avid fans of the Linwood sisters a stupendous send off though, with plenty of sisterly interaction and a heartwarming epilogue that I savored in a contented buzz of bibliophile delight. No worries if you haven't read the first two books -- The Sweetest Rain and Castles in the Clouds -- book three can definitely be read as a standalone...though I highly recommend reading the entire series.
So what captivates me about this series? Definitely the Linwood sisters. Each uniquely talented in a different way -- but they all share one common familial trait -- pigheaded stubborness! Which makes for some great sibling dynamics, aka, hot-headed discussions. But Bryony, Lark and Rose are also fiercely loyal to one another. There's no doubting their mutual love, though their strong personalities often clash.
And speaking of strong personalities and stubbornness -- throw in a healthy dose of fiesty and more than a dash of digging-in-my-heels-and-never-giving-up and you get a good idea of what Rose is like. As pretty -- and thorny-- as her name.
Caleb is smitten...but our prickly Rose doesn't make it easy for him. She doesn't do change well (and I can totally relate to that!) But there have been a lot of changes in her life in recent years -- both sisters marrying, the birth of a niece, the death of her beloved grandfather...it's enough to send her running scared. There is something so heartwarming about Caleb's steadfast loyalty -- his sweet determination to woo Rose and win her heart.
Their tumultuous love story is set against the backdrop of a nation struggling to recover from a severe economic downturn. Johnson has incorporated some fascinating details into the plot and her author's note at the back of the book is worth reading. I learned a lot and, as I've said before, I love getting history lessons through fiction!
An exceptional conclusion to the Flowers of Eden series -- even though I'm reluctant to leave Eden behind.
If you would like a chance to win a copy of A Rose So Fair, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to your comment remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so that it's easier for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday July 9 2017. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!