Rated of 5
by Linda J. (Manchester, MO)
In Search of the Rose Notes
While I found this book rather hard to follow, it did hold my attention. Sometimes I had to keep going back to what I had already read to try and figure out what exactly was going on and why. That makes it hard to get up to speed.
Emily Arsenault tells a story of Charlotte and Nora, two 11-year old friends, and Charlotte’s 16-year old babysitter, Rose. They take delight in dabbling in the supernatural, using old Time-Life books.
One day, Rose disappears. The girls try to uncover the mystery of her disappearance by using their paranormal interests, but an action by Nora causes her to leave the friendship. What follows is a troubling childhood and a suicide attempt when she’s in high school.
Sixteen years later, when Rose’s bones are found, Nora returns home, having left after graduating from high school.
Although she and Charlotte lost touch, Charlotte invites Nora to stay with her. While Charlotte is teaching at the high school, Nora starts looking through old copies of “The Looking Glass,” the high school literary magazine. She runs across some anonymous poems that start a process of her thinking about what really happened to Rose.
Meanwhile Charlotte wants to try again to ferret out the truth. Since Nora was the last person to see Rose alive, and after seeing the poems, Nora is drawn in again, but she battles with the unpleasant memories of her life after Rose’s disappearance.
Told from Nora’s viewpoint, Arsenault goes back and forth in time, from when Rose babysat the girls and to present time when they are trying to figure out what happened.
She throws in a few red herrings, and that makes for an interesting, but not quick, read. The pace goes slow, and that caused my attention to flag many times. It picked up as the story started on the road to its conclusion, which was unexpected. It did, however, make sense by tying together all the loose ends floating around. Arsenault tells an unusual story, and if readers stick with it, they will not find it a waste of time.