Julie Christine's Reviews > Her Name Is Rose

Her Name Is Rose by Christine Breen
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really liked it
bookshelves: ireland-theme-setting, contemporary-fiction, read-2015

Iris Bowen lives in the west of Ireland, where it is still possible to submit to a soft-focus dream of a misty-green land of softly rolling hills and air scented with roses and blue sea. Iris has always lived an unassuming life, devoted to her husband and her adopted daughter, Rose. But her husband died two years ago, her daughter has moved to London, her newspaper gardening column has been axed, and a troubling shadow has appeared on her mammography x-ray. Only in her mid-forties, Iris must accept that her life is no longer quite the gentle walk on a clear path she’d counted on.

Impulsively, using a possibly frightening diagnosis as impetus, Iris bolts to Boston to find her daughter’s birth mother. She fears leaving Rose alone in the world and envisions an open-armed reunion with a woman she met briefly twenty years ago. Iris’s search and those whom she meets along the way are the bridge between her old life of certitude and this new life of possibility.

Also breaking into the world like a chick from an egg is Rose. A talented violinist, she’s earned a coveted place at London’s Royal Academy of Music. Whether or not she has the skill and backbone to withstand the demands of RAM becomes the story’s subplot. The brilliant descriptions of the music we “hear” in the book—Rose’s classical pieces, the traditional Irish fiddle playing by the luthier who crafted Rose’s violin, and the jazz riffs offered up by Hector, a Boston pianist—are some of my favorite passages.

Her Name is Rose is the awakening of two women to the demands and possibilities of life on their own, one in the golden afternoon of middle-age, the other in the bright dawn of youth. It is a novel to sink into, like a ray of sunshine on an April day when the warmth of summer is a gentle tease, a reminder that deep pleasure can be found in quiet stories of family and the first bursts of new love. Christine Breen writes with compassion and a lovely, easy lyricism. Comparisons to Ireland’s beloved Maeve Binchy are warmly, enthusiastically offered. It’s heartening to know that the world still has room for smart, touching fiction whose characters make us want to live more authentic lives.

My thanks to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an ARC of Her Name is Rose
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Reading Progress

January 19, 2015 – Started Reading
January 19, 2015 – Shelved
January 19, 2015 – Shelved as: ireland-theme-setting
January 19, 2015 – Shelved as: contemporary-fiction
January 20, 2015 –
page 77
25.33% "Should not have started this. I have two huge deadlines this week and all I want to do is curl up with this book!"
January 21, 2015 – Shelved as: read-2015
January 21, 2015 – Finished Reading

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message 1: by Cinda (new) - added it

Cinda MacKinnon What a nicely written review. I'm adding it to my to-read list. Thank you.

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