Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Soul of the Rose by Ruth Trippy

The Soul of the Rose by Ruth Trippy. Abingdon Press, 2013. 336p. (9781426767494)

What an enjoyable read! A beautiful romance, intellectual discussions, a bookstore, poetry. What more can you ask for in a novel? This is a book I will very likely be buying for my personal library, one I will certainly recommend when discussing books, and one I will very likely buy as a gift for friends.

Goodreads Summary:
After the tragic death of her closest friend, 20-year-old Celia Thatcher is sent to work in the bookstore of family friends. Hoping the new surroundings in Massachusetts will help her regain a happy outlook on life, Celia catches the eye of not one, but two men: the elite, but unkempt Bostonian-turned-hermit, Edward Lyons, who is clearly trying to run from his past and from God, and Charles Harrod, a charming Harvard law student who promotes a religious belief Celia has never before considered.
With both men vying for her attention, Celia s world is again turned upside down when one of her beaus is accused of murder. Suddenly realizing where her heart lies, Celia is now challenged with a choice bigger than man: should she follow her heart or her God?

My Review:
Celia is a delightful heroine, she’s smart as well as pretty, but the focus is on her love for books, flowers and art, not her appearance. She can hold her own when conversation involves Tennyson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Pascal, Dickens, and Josephus just to name a few. Yes, this book has plenty of literary discussions.

I don’t know anything about the author as I type this but it is amply evident that she understands literature, loves roses, understands Christian apologetics and is a talented writer who can weave all of that into a Beauty and the Beast like tale.
beautiful white rose: Shailer's White Moss Centifolia, photo credit
Roses appear in the story often, and this is one of them,
'Shailer's White Moss' Centifolia
Photo credit: Schmid Gartenpflanzen
All of the characters were important to the story and there were plenty of them. There were a few times I couldn’t quite remember which lady in the town was who but that really didn’t detract from the story and there was always a reminder in the scene or conversation that followed. Often times recently written historical romances only contain a handful of characters but I enjoyed the richness of a full cast.

Some might say parts of the book get “preachy” but it is a very important part of the plot and is line with the other intellectual literary discussions in the story – the only difference being the subject matter. The vocabulary is on a higher grade level than most fiction written today which might slow down or turn some people off as well. I ended up reading this book in two sessions even though I can usually manage a book of this length in one sitting.

The romance is clean and the gentlemanly restraint is heartwarming even as the intense physical desire is acknowledged. The tender affection that the Chestleys show for one another is endearing and sweet.

I highly recommend this to anyone who loves a good discussion about literature and who loves romance set in 1876 Massachusetts.

five stars means go buy, borrow or beg this book right now!

Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission.

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