Virginia Campbell's Reviews > The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns

The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway
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's review
Aug 05, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: womens-fiction
Read in August, 2012

The fleeting perfection of an exquisite rose in bloom is something human beings cannot hope themselves to attain. Even so, people nurture, cultivate, feed, water and lavish loving attention upon the thorny splendor of the rose. In "The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns", author Margaret Dilloway introduces us to just such a person. Gal Garner is a teacher, a dialysis patient, and a grower of roses. Not just any roses, but specially cross-pollinated hybrid roses, which she hopes will win "Queen of Show" in an important competition and lead to a marketing contract. Gal's health issues are a serious concern, as two kidney transplants have failed. Nothing is ever smooth and simple, from her time in the classroom to her time spent at the hospital. It is her work with her beloved roses that fires the spark within. Gal's life takes on a completely unexpected twisty turn when her teenaged niece, Riley, is suddenly left in her care. Gal and Riley's mother, Becky, have always had a difficult, complicated relationship as sisters. Nearing forty, sharply honest, with no family of her own, Gal is abruptly made responsible for Riley when Becky takes off for Asia due to her job requirements. At first, Gal and Riley are like two prickly stems, sharp and full of thorns. In time, companionship, trust, and love come into bloom between them, and when Becky comes home to claim her daughter, Gal is hit hard by how much she will miss Riley's presence in her life. What will be Riley's choice--the new happiness she has found with Gal, or the promise of an improved life with her own mother? "The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns" illuminates and enlightens with its information not only on the intricacies of the cultivation of roses, but also on the needs of the human heart and its infinite capacity to love.

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