UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish's Reviews > For the Roses

For the Roses by Julie Garwood
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Mar 07, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: author-julie-garwood, reviewed-by-me, historical-romance-american-west, own-have-read, 5-stars, historical-romance-series, must-reread, keepers, favorites
Recommended for: Everyone
Read in December, 2009 — I own a copy , read count: 1... so far

From the cover:
The Clayborne brothers were a rough gang of street urchins -- until they found an abandoned baby girl in a New York City alley, named her Mary Rose, and headed to Blue Belle, Montana, to raise her to be a lady. They became a family -- held together by loyalty and love if not blood -- when suddenly a stranger threatened to tear them apart...Lord Harrison Stanford MacDonald brandished a six-shooter and a swagger, but he soon proved to be a gentleman to the core. The brothers taught him frontier survival, while Mary Rose touched his heart with a deep and desperate passion. But soon, a shattering secret would challenge everything Mary Rose believed about herself, her life, and her newfound love.

My Review:
Reading For the Roses has been a bittersweet experience. Sweet because I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, more than I have any other romance novel, and bitter because now that I have read it, I don’t see how any other book will come close to capturing my attention and my heart the way this one did.

I’ve been so enthralled with Garwood’s historicals, especially her medievals, that I had put off reading For the Roses thinking that a 19th century Western Historical wouldn’t hold a candle to those wild Highlanders. I was sorely mistaken.

It’s 1860 in a New York City alley and we meet an unlikely band of castoffs: four boys who, for one reason or another, were discarded by their families or by society and left to fend for themselves. This particular alley is their home. Eating from garbage cans when they can’t steal what they need, these resourceful young men were doing what they had to do to survive when one night fate stepped in and changed their lives forever.

It was Douglas’ turn to stand guard while his ‘brothers’ slept, and as he kept watch, something caught his attention: a basket was placed in the trash by a mysterious woman who then fled the scene. Douglas alerted the others and followed the woman to see what he could learn about her. The brothers were able to get to the basket before the rats had chewed their way through and Imagine their astonishment to find a baby inside!

The dialogue between Adam, Cole, Douglas, and Travis as they try to decide what to do with their discovery is charming, innocent, naïve, and funny as all get out. Through their observations and ideas about what needs to be done with “Sidney,” we learn so much about the boys’ lives before they found each other as well as their lives together. They knew what it was like to be “thrown away” and uncared for and were not about to allow their new little charge to know those feelings. They decided to take little Sidney as their own and raise him as a brother. Only, as it turned out, Sidney wasn’t a Sidney at all; he was a little girl, and she became their Mary Rose, named Mary after Cole's mama and Rose after Adam's Mama Rose.

Fast forward to chapter one which takes us to Montana Territory, 1879. **gasp** What? Nineteen years later?!? I was immediately heartbroken. I wanted to know what happened to the children during those years as they made their way west! I was, however, quickly relieved of my torment when I discovered that each chapter begins with a letter that one of the boys had written to their Mama Rose, filling her in on their adventures, or misadventures as the case may be, along their journey. We see them all growing up, and eventually little Mary Rose begins her own letter writing. It’s adorable to read her tattlings and pleadings that Mama Rose see things her way and set her brothers straight.

There are so many things to love about this book. Each and every character was so fully developed that I didn’t feel like this story revolved around just the hero, Harrison and heroine, Mary Rose whose sexual intimacies-when they finally occured-were very hot. I found myself every bit as much in love with the brothers, as well as Hanging Judge Burns, Blue Belle and especially Crazy Corrie.

This story had me smiling and laughing constantly, as well as shedding a few tears of joy and even those of sadness. This has become my all time favorite feel good romance novel, so much so that I considered changing all my other ratings down one star so that For the Roses would hold a 5 star place of honor. Then I came to my senses and realized the amount of work that would entail and decided instead to just spread the word to anyone who would listen to my rantings that they simply MUST read this book.
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Quotes UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Liked

Julie Garwood
“If you begin to give away parts of yourself, eventually you'll give it all. And once you've lost yourself, haven't you lost everything?”
Julie Garwood, For the Roses


Reading Progress

03/29 marked as: own-have-read

Comments (showing 1-50 of 64) (64 new)


message 1: by Adrienne (new)

Adrienne Thank you compiling such a lovely review. 5 Stars eh? I know what you mean when you say you can't see how another book will come close to this one, soooooo I'm adding it to my TBR I trust you UM;)


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish 5 stars, Adrienne. This is a keeper. The relationship between Mary Rose and Harrison was a good one and the intimacies they shared were pretty hot (when they finally got around to it) but honestly I was every bit as invested in the rest of the characters and I'm thrilled I don't have to wait for the next books in the series.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Awesome review. I'm so glad you loved this one. This is my favorite Julie Garwood book and definitely one of my favorite books of all time.


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Thank you, Danielle! I can't say enough good about this book. It's going to be difficult to top this one.


message 5: by Kathrynn (new) - added it

Kathrynn Sounds awesome!


Karen Awesome review! This is definitely a special book...I need to get my hands on a copy of Come The Spring for Cole's story.


Pamela(AllHoney) it was a joy for me too. I loved it!


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Karen wrote: "Awesome review! This is definitely a special book...I need to get my hands on a copy of Come The Spring for Cole's story. "

Thank you, Karen! I'm going through the 3 shorter stories right now, Douglas, Travis and Adam. I have Come The Spring on my bookshelf and it will be next.


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Pamela wrote: "it was a joy for me too. I loved it!"

I'm still grinning over things that happened. It truly was a joy to read.


message 10: by Carolyn F. (new) - added it

Carolyn F. Great review - I really look forward to reading it now.


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Carolyn wrote: "Great review - I really look forward to reading it now. "

Thank you, Carolyn! Of course it's more modern, not medieval, but it was still so good.


Kelly picked it up from the library today.


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Kelly wrote: "picked it up from the library today. "

Oh, I hope you love it as much as I did. I love that the brothers play such a big part, it's not just the H/H in the leading role.


message 15: by Auntee (new) - added it

Auntee You definitely sold me--I'll be on the hunt!


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Auntee wrote: "You definitely sold me--I'll be on the hunt!"

YAY! I hope you'll love it as much as I did!


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

I only read a hlaf of your review before i was sold .. this looks brillinat .. "emotional" im so after a strong deep read .. ?? i just loves your review .. :))


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Thanks, Rachael! It's more of a feel good read than a deeply emotional read, though there is some of that in there too. It's a great one!


Arch I loved your review UniquelyMoi.

For The Roses is the best Historical book that I have ever read. Cole Clayborne is my baby. Last year, after seven years of first reading the book, I had to reread that book again.

I've fallen in love with Cole all over again. The other brothers were good men, don't get me wrong, but Cole stood out to me.


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Thank you, Arch!! I loved them all in For The Roses, but was disappointed in the 3 short individual stories. I've yet to read Cole's story, Come the Spring because the other brothers' stories were disappointing to me. How is Cole's story?


message 21: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Dhestiny, I bought this one a few days ago. I can't wait to read it. :)


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of it! As you can see by my review, I thought it was amazing.


(Kelly)~Got Fiction?~ Oakes I have this to read!
Can't wait


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish It's a good one, Kelly. Such a feel good romance!


message 25: by Arch (last edited Mar 08, 2010 06:26AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Arch UniquelyMoi *~*Dhestiny*~* wrote: "Thank you, Arch!! I loved them all in For The Roses, but was disappointed in the 3 short individual stories. I've yet to read Cole's story, Come the Spring because the other brothers..."

I didn't like Cole's story. For some reason, Cole wasn't the Cole that I have fallen in love with in For The Roses. It's as if, he didn't belong in the story. But,you might like it.


Pamela(AllHoney) This was one I absolutely loved too :)


message 27: by Cheryl (new) - added it

Cheryl Very nice review! I have not read this one yet because like you I love her Scottish historicals and really enjoyed the one's that take place in England also. I just am not as into the historicals here in America, but after reading your review on this book I am definitely looking forward to it! Thanks!! :)


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish I was in the same boat, Cheryl. I couldn't imagine how this would compare to her sexy medievals. Though most of it takes place here in America, with only a small portion taking place in England, it was still sucha wonderful read. I became instantaly invested in the characters. Check out the prologue (or it might be chapter one) and you'll see what I mean.


Thanh Tran Thanks you for the fantastic review. I love this novel more than the short stories about Mary Rose's brothers. I love the protagonists in this story n a mix with the wild west back drop made me think of Clint Eastwood's old movies.


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Thank YOU, Thanh!! This was just... such a feel good story. One of my very favorite ever!!!


message 31: by Annie (new) - added it

Annie Love Julie Garwood. She got me into romance reading when I was like 13. They made a short lifetime movie out of this book. What's her name...Jennifer Garner or something from Alias? http://m.imdb.com/title/tt0117515/ it's called Rose Hill.


message 32: by Annie (new) - added it

Annie I would love to meet her one day (and get my Ransom hardcover signed). I sent her a letter once asking her how she gets her inspiration and she actually wrote me back. Very cool. :)


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish That's right!!! I've heard that before, Annie. How was the movie? Good? Fair?


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Annie wrote: "I would love to meet her one day (and get my Ransom hardcover signed). I sent her a letter once asking her how she gets her inspiration and she actually wrote me back. Very cool. :)"

Oh, very cool!! I love it when authors interact with readers!


message 35: by Lady Wesley (new)

Lady Wesley I remember seeing the movie, too, but I don't recall whether I liked it. The reviews at IMDB are not good, especially from reviewers who had read the book. www.imdb.com/title/tt0117515/

Your review has convinced me to add this to my TBR stack, though!


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Lady Wesley wrote: "Your review has convinced me to add this to my TBR stack, though!"

Great! I hope you enjoy it!!!


message 37: by Missy (new)

Missy LaRae I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. I haven't had a chance to go through my entire library and add every book I've read yet, but this book was SO good. I loved the family and it's just so well written. Julie Garwood is one of my favorite authors. Thank you for this review makes me want to go back and re-read it now.


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish You're welcome, Missy! Glad to help rekindle those fond memories!


message 39: by Annie (new) - added it

Annie Hmm tried to reply back but my mobile won't let me. But no, the movie wasn't that great but it's interesting to see the movie in film. :)


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Thanks, Annie!!!!


message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

Great review :)


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Thanks,Karen! I love this story!!


message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

UniquelyMoi ... So I Can Shine... wrote: "Thanks,Karen! I love this story!!"

BTW since i took a reading break for 4 months , im finiding it very very hard to choose a book to start again, and since you have a completely awesome choice in books could you pretty please recommend a HR?

will be much appreciated , thanks <3


message 44: by Mo (new) - added it

Mo Fabulous review. I feel my next Historical coming up.


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Oh, gosh... that's a tough one. Do you like emotional, deep, angsty stories?

Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale is one of my favorites... especially the Audible version.

Julie Garwood's historicals are amazing, too. I LOVE The Secret (Highlands' Lairds #1) by Julie Garwood and The Prize by Julie Garwood.

Pamela Clare writes AMAZING HR, too. Surrender (MacKinnon’s Rangers, #1) by Pamela Clare is so, so good.

I have a HR shelf, and also a Top Heroes/Top Couples shelf. OH! Check out my 4 and 5 star reads shelves, then sort by HR. I have just too many to list here!


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Mo wrote: "Fabulous review. I feel my next Historical coming up."

Thank you, thank you! This is just one of the best 'feel good' stories I've ever read. Seriously, awesome story. You really can't go wrong with Julie Garwood!


message 47: by [deleted user] (new)

UniquelyMoi ... So I Can Shine... wrote: "Oh, gosh... that's a tough one. Do you like emotional, deep, angsty stories?

Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale is one of my favorites... especially the Audible version.

Julie Garwood's h..."


Thanks :) I loved both those Julie Garwood books , they were amazing , i will check out the two others and ur shelvees :DD


Chumchum_88 Great review, you certainly gave Julie Garwood's books what they deserve. Because I love all her historical books and she's my favorite author, I hope you read the rest of her books.
BTW the sequel is amazing, its about the love life of 3 of Mary Rose's brothers. Its one of my favorites, aside from the Scottish highlands.


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Thank you, Chumchum! Yes, I read all the books. Really enjoyed them!!


message 50: by [deleted user] (new)

Surrenders audiobook is downloading now , very excited , my first audiobook


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