Having loved Rowan Coleman’s last book, ‘Lessons In Laughing Out Loud’, I was thrilled to receive a review copy of ‘Dearest Rose’. This is a very powerful book which explores some extremely dark themes, and will keep you gripped to the very end.
Rose and her daughter Maddie are on the run, and this novel is the story of what they are on the run from, and to. The home situation that has become so unbearable that Rose can’t take it any more is slowly revealed, and we also find out what Rose is looking for and are kept in suspense about whether she will find it or not.
There are some beautiful moments in this book. I found the story of how Maddie gets to know her grandfather, John, particularly touching. The two of them find a companionship through a shared love of art which is beautifully told and gives the novel a gorgeous sense of warmth.
‘Dearest Rose’ is very much a book about strong women. From Rose herself, who turns out to be stronger than she thinks, to her friend Shona, who goes through hell and survives, her landlady Jenny who turns out to be a bigger support than Rose could have imagined and a woman from Rose’s past who turns out to be the last thing she would have expected, all are real, gutsy female characters.
The novel also has a love story running through it. It’s hard to say too much about that without spoilers. So I won’t! But you won’t be disappointed.
As well as the interactions between the various interesting and believable characters in the story, art and the landscape play an important part in the novel as well. John’s paintings, and the landscapes he often includes in them, are pivotal to the story and add to the great atmosphere of the book.
I love Rowan’s writing and really enjoyed this book. It does include some very difficult subject matter and definitely doesn’t shy away from the darkness of its themes. Overall though, it is ultimately an uplifting story, which tells of friendship, courage, redemption and love.
A fantastic read.
Thanks to the publishers for the review copy of this book.