Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Review: The Care and Handling of Roses With Thorns by Margaret Dilloway

✰✰✰✰ Galilee "Gal" Garner lives for her roses. As an amateur rose breeder, Gal's world revolves around her precious hulthemias. The challenge of breeding the perfect rose consumes her every waking hour when she is not teaching or undergoing dialysis for a chronic kidney disorder. Gal's world is quite predictable, which she finds comforting. Then one day Gal is called out of class to discover that her 15 year old niece Riley has arrived unexpectedly. With nowhere else to go, it's soon settled that Riley will temporarily stay with Gal.

Although Gal teaches high school, she is completely unprepared for the challenges of raising a teenager she hardly knows. Gal is unaccustomed to the demands of parenting and soon finds herself in over her head as she juggles her teaching career, her health issues, and her new role as a guardian to a teen all while aiming to create a rose that will be the envy of the rose society. While Gal is as thorny as her roses and difficult to get to know, her journey changes her from an inflexible spinster into a nurturing caregiver. Along the way, Gal is given the opportunity to start actually living her life instead of living through her roses.

The Bottom Line: This is a beautiful tale told in the first person; it celebrates love, forgiveness, and the bonds of family. Although it is a bit predictable, it was a joy watching Gal's character blossom. This is a fast read, making it perfect for the weekend. Once you pick this one up, you won't be able to put it down. Enthusiastically recommended for those who enjoy contemporary fiction about family dynamics. This will also appeal to those interested in roses and gardening. Additionally, The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns would also be a great pick for a book club.

Details: The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway. Hardcover published by G.P. Putnam's Sons in 2012. 368 p. ISBN: 978-0-399015775-2 Note: I received a complimentary uncorrected proof from Putnam Books in exchange for an honest review. This was made possible by the Early Reviewer program at LibraryThing.

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