Friday, July 27, 2012

The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns (review).

What is it with me and titles? I'm not sure but I'll tell you one thing: There are many titles that simply don't do their books any favors. The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns, which I read as part of the BlogHer Book Club, is one such title. The book -- by Margaret Dilloway -- is good. But the title? Yawn . . .

Title aside, I enjoyed this book. The narrator, Galilee "Gal" Garner, is a unique character. A biology teacher at a Catholic school, Gal is still single at 36 and pretty much in love with roses. She's an amateur rose breeder, and she'd love to become a professional one. She also has kidney disease and is in need of a kidney transplant (her third). As she waits for a donor, she goes for dialysis every other day.

Gal's life is turned upside-down when her troubled niece, Riley, shows up to live with her. After that, a series of things happen that shake up Gal's ordered life even more. The shake-up causes Gal to reflect on her relationships, her stubbornness, and her perceptions of her life and the lives of those around her.

There were some weak points to the story and I found a good bit of the dialog stilted and not believable -- even after making concessions for Gal's difficult nature. But, I also found the book and many of the characters interesting. I loved reading about the details of rose breeding and, after I warmed up to her, I was rooting hard for Gal to get her new kidney. Overall, I enjoyed the book, read through it quickly, and would recommend it.

You can read more about the book at the BlogHer Book Club.

Have you read The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns, or Margaret Dilloway's first book, How to be an American Housewife? What did you think?

Have a great weekend, everyone!

~ Felice

Review disclaimer: This is a compensated review for the BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

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