Title: Her Name is Rose
Author: Christine Breen
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Date of Publication: 14 April 2015
Number of Pages: 304
Summary: People used to say Iris Bowen was beautiful, what with the wild weave of her red hair, the high cheekbones, and the way she carried herself like a barefoot dancer through the streets of Ranelagh on the outskirts of Dublin city. But that was a lifetime ago.
In a cottage in the west of Ireland, Iris–gardener and mother to an adopted daughter, Rose–is doing her best to carry on after the death of her husband two years before. At the back of her mind is a promise she never intended to keep, until the day she gets a phone call from her doctor.
Meanwhile, nineteen-year-old Rose is a brilliant violinist at the Royal Academy in London, still grieving for her father but relishing her music and life in the city. Excited but nervous, she hums on the way to an important master class, and then suddenly finds herself missing both of her parents when the class ends in disaster.
After the doctor’s call, Iris is haunted by the promise she made to her husband–to find Rose’s birth mother, so that their daughter might still have family if anything happened to Iris. Armed only with a twenty-year-old envelope, Iris impulsively begins a journey into the past that takes her to Boston and back, with unexpected results for herself and for Rose and for both friends and strangers.
Review: I’m lost for words at how perfectly this book came together. The story, the writing, the ending – all made me so happy. This is a love story that goes beyond what the tabloids and soap operas would have us believe. Iris is so strong and so protective of her adoptive daughter. There isn’t much she wouldn’t do. This story, while it’s primarily about her journey after worrying medical results, is also about the connections we have with others in the world. Breen makes you remember how little harm it does to do someone a good turn, without judgement. I still smile at the joy poured into this book.
There were a few chronological problems and a few strange descriptive terms but as this is an advanced reader copy, I’m sure someone spotted them before publication.
If you like Maeve Binchy, Cathy Kelly or Monica McInerney, I think you’ll like Her name is Rose.
Read Between: 08-09 August 2016