Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Review: Alison Chaffin Higson's "Rose."

           (Rafflecopter Giveaway at the bottom of post) 

(Mackenzie (Mack) Harper is a teacher in desperate need of a break, firstly from the craziness of work and secondly,  from her match making parents. For the summer, she decides to rent a cottage in the small town of Cape Elizabeth, a place so tranquil, she knows she will be able to switch off and enjoy the peace. Along for the ride is her 6 year old nephew Lucas who's staying with her whilst his parents are on a break in Europe. The minute they arrive in the small town, Lucas finds himself a new best friend. Thomas is the owner of  Rose Cottage (the place they’ll be staying), and is a lovable eighty year old man who takes Lucas under his wing. From the word go they are inseparable spending their time  fishing, digging for worms and reading “Our Gang” comics.

Whilst unpacking for their stay, Mack discovers a diary hidden away on top of one of the kitchen cabinets... a place no one would look and it seems no one has since 1947. Upon reading the first page, she discovers that the diary belonged to a woman named “Rose:”

This is the diary of a Rose, dated March 4th, 1947

She’s intrigued. She’s always been interested in history and enjoys nothing better than reading a good romance novel, so she’s found herself the perfect combination.  The diary tells the love story of Rose and Jacob and has her captivated from the word go. Desperate to find out if they got their “Happily Ever After,” she starts to read it:

    My name is Rose and I am 19 years old. This is my first diary. After the events of  yesterday,    
   I have decided I must keep one. Yesterday was a very exciting day in  Cape Elizabeth     
    and in my life, because I met the most handsome man….

As the story unravels, Mack starts to see connections with the characters she's reading about and the people around her,  in particular Thomas, the man she has grown so very fond of. But how do they all know each other? There are so many missing pieces but Mack is determined to put this puzzle together. 

As she progresses through the diary, she discovers that Jacob is still alive. Desperate to tell him what actually happened the night Rose disappeared, she tracks him down and leaves a message with his housekeeper to get in touch:

“Oh my, so if he’s still alive, all this time Jacob thinks Rose changed her mind and didn’t love
 him  and used him probably,” Mack said with tears in her eyes.
“That’s so sad Thomas. I have to see if he’s still alive and tell him what really happened.”

And so her mission begins. Along the journey, Mack meets Dean . He’s her new neighbour for the summer and he is hot!!!!

“… a very hot guy with a gorgeous butt, which I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on,
just pulled up outside next door. Hope he’s moving in. He looks sinful…. Mmm!”

Unbeknown to her, Dean is Jacob’s grandson  and he’s come to town to find out why she wants to talk to his grandfather and to make sure she isn’t after the family’s money. As soon as they meet, sparks fly and there is an immediate attraction.  Will love blossom, will Mack get her own “Happily ever after” and will Dean help her solve the mystery of what actually happened to Rose in 1947?
All the characters in this book come together to tell a story of loss, love and friendship.

Review: Surj 

Thank you Alison for sending this my way. This was such a beautiful love story that I managed to read in one sitting. I connected so well to all of the characters, each one giving the book something different. Mack was a woman on a mission. She was a hopeless romantic desperate to see Rose and Jacob happy but devastated their story didn’t end that way. I loved that she was determined to make sure Jacob knew the truth. She couldn’t let him live the rest of his life believing the woman he had loved with all his heart hadn’t loved him back. And Dean… the hot guy next door. Wow. Who wouldn’t want a little piece of him? Dark hair, blue eyes, not an ounce of fat, a tattoo, a little rough round the edges… just how we like them… right girls!!!  Their relationship developed quickly and it was intense. Within days of meeting, things were heating up:

“You feel so right, Mack., in my arms and in my life.”

There were so many aspects of their relationship that mirrored Jacob and Rose’s. Both were fast passed, neither holding back from what they truly wanted and neither refraining from saying how they felt. There were some lovely moments where it was like watching Rose and Jacob all over again, especially their “getting to know each other” part:

“Tell me about Mackenzie?” he asked   

It was exactly the way it had happened when Rose had said “So tell me about Jacob.” Such a sweet moment but so many years apart... it made my heart go all fluttery. I’m such a softy when it comes to little touches like that and the fact that I got it twice made me go all gooey!!! Lol.

As with any relationship, along with the emotional connection comes the physical side of things and boy did we get a look at that. Yup, we got 1947 Jacob and Rose sex and we got Mack and Dean Sex…. And it was steamy!!!! In fact so steamy, the first line of one of the diary entries was:

Oh  my, I was introduced to a wall tonight….

Shower sex, beach sex, kitchen table sex, wall sex…. You name it, the couples experienced it!!!! Lol
And then there was Lucas, the little rug rat who listened in to adult conversations and was quite happy to repeat what he’d heard: 

“…. all granny said, was that she gets some herbs from the Jamaicans at the market, and pus
them in her cakes. Mrs Green was there one day and she said they were the best
cakes this side of Boston, but Grandma never lets me eat them. I don’t know why,   
but she said I’m not old enough to take an aphrodizzyache.”

Lucas bought an element of humour to the book. He was quite happy mentioning granny’s sagging boobs, granny and grandpa playing strip poker, granny going skinny dipping…. Yup images you really didn’t need popping into your head about your parents but coming from a child’s mouth, these comments were so innocent yet just so funny. The friendship that developed between Thomas and Lucas was lovely to watch. Thomas was like a child at heart and their friendship was so innocent yet so beautiful, it was refreshing to read.

Thomas headed to the kitchen trying to remember the last time he’d had so much fun, and he
 couldn’t. His wife, Janet, died when they were both fifty-six. That was twenty-four years ago.

But Thomas did have a secret, one he’d been hiding since the day Rose disappeared, the guilt eating at him slowly:
Maybe one day soon he would be ready to talk to Mack about the night Rose died
and the regret he’d lived with all these years. If only he’s talked back then,
 things might have worked out differently.

He hadn’t talked about Rose in years but he had loved her. For some reason, he found comfort in talking about her to Mack. When Mack first told Thomas about the diary, she had offered it to him, after all she'd found it in his cottage, so rightfully it belonged to him:

“It’s okay, you found it, so you read it first, and then pass it on to me to read.”

Fear had stopped him taking the diary. For years he had held on to the belief that Rose had hated him and he blamed himself for her disappearance. He was afraid the diary would prove him right. How wrong could he be? I’m so glad that it was Mack that told him the truth.  It was time to lay his ghosts to rest.

And finally Rose and Jacob. What a love story. These characters fell in love fast and the fell in love hard. Despite all of the interfering from others, all the secrets people were hiding and all the obstacles they faced, they belonged together, they were meant to be but in those days things were different:
As your only daughter, you should want me to marry for love and to someone who can
make me happy just by being with them. Money shouldn’t come into it at all.”

I was really praying for these two, hoping everything would work out but when Mack got to the last page of the diary and  it wasn’t good news and my heard broke for them. God how times have changed and thank god Mack and Dean didn’t have to go through quite the same scenario (although with his mother and Cynthia, they weren’t far off!!!!).

“Rose” was told in the present day but all of the diary excerpts were included which meant not only did I get to experience  the love story of Mack and Dean, but I was able to  see the development of Rose and Jacob’s story first hand too. This book had my heart doing all sorts but in such a good way. Watching love blossom, watching friendships grow and watching those who had experienced loss move forward was wonderful to read,  There were definitely a few twists and turns along the way, some unexpected, but others that I did manage to work out. This for me, is a lazy Sunday read where all I want to do is sit back in the garden with a glass of wine, kick my shoes off  and read a good book that won't leave me broken and my heart shattered. "Rose" is a stand alone and will give you the "Happy ever after" you crave.
I have rated this book 3.5 Hearts
(My little issue with "Rose" was that I wish the diary excerpts had been more like proper diary entries and not like reading a book)

Purchasing Links:


About the Author:

I was born in Bolton, Lancashire within the United Kingdom, where I lived, and worked at the University of Bolton. In 2010, I moved to Ireland with my husband, 4 kids and pack of animals. I can tell you it wasn't pleasant travelling in a car with 5 cats in cat boxes. Climbing back into the car after the ferry journey to Ireland was the most unpleasant thing we had to do on moving day!!
We are now settled in a lovely town, in County Cavan. The kids love their schools (once they get there that is!) and the little one loves her play-school where she goes with her imaginary friend, Katie.
My eldest daughter, is on the Irish Junior Archery Team, and spends her time training. At least she does when her dad can get her off her ipad, reading or listening to music.
After writing under a pen name for a short while, I decided to try my hand at writing in third person past tense, instead of first person. Rose is my first published book under my own name, and will not be the last, as I have a head full of ideas, plus covers for some of those ideas!
I have recently joined the book review blog, Book Addict Mumma and made a wonderful new friend in Kristy Louise Garbutt, my new boss!
My kindle is loaded with too many books to mention, and I absolutely love to read when I have the chance.

Here is the book trailer for "Rose."

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