Teresa R. (Fort Collins, CO)
Plus-es and minus-es
Some snappy dialogue, witty descriptions and very "of the moment" characters will appeal to younger readers, as will the themes of the angst and confusion that accompany entrance into adulthood. But I thought the pacing was far too slow to sustain interest in the ostensible central event--i.e., what the heck HAPPENED to Rose??--for the book to fall into the "mystery" category. The story line simply meandered, and abrupt shifts in the time frame were confusing to me at times. I found the author's earlier book, The Broken Tea Glass, more grounded and appealing.
Kathleen W. (New Brighton,, MN)
A Good Beach Read!
Mary Chapin Carpenter sings a song that includes the lines, "our future begins with our past" and "step out of the shadow you cast." These lines relate perfectly to IN SEARCH OF THE ROSE NOTES by Emily Arsenault. This is a book , narrated in an alternating present/ past format that addresses the question of the mysterious disappearance of a babysitter years ago. Nora returns years later, to visit her home town where it all happened and, to re-visit the person she once was by connecting with former friends. While the premise was promising, I felt that the style did not truly deliver for me. While it lacked that "glued to the page" factor I treasure, it was interesting enough for a casual take-along to the beach. Those who enjoy a look back as well as a revisiting of those years of early teen angst may wish to take a peek at this book. All in all, not compelling but interesting enough.
Diane C. (Lutz, FL)
Claiming the truth
The friendship between Nora and Charlotte began on the first day of kindergarten, and by the time the girls are eleven they have developed a mutual history that lacks mutual respect. At least that is the viewpoint of Nora, who narrates this story that twists between three points in time. We meet the girls when they are eleven and bedazzled by Rose, an older high school girl who babysits them after school. One night, after walking Nora home, Rose disappears without a trace. In 2006, Charlotte calls Nora, who is now happily married and long gone from her hometown, to tell her that Rose's bones have been found. Keys to the disintegration of the girls' friendship, the trauma of Rose's disappearance, and Nora's suicidal breakdown, however, are buried in the experiences of 2006, when Charlotte and Nora are in high school. Clues and red herring are scattered throughout Nora's telling, and the reader is never sure if Nora is revealing the truth or her own fears and fantasies. It's an engrossing and suspenseful symphony. Fans of psychological mysteries should like this one.
Gail L. (Cypress, TX)
I think this book might best be appreciated by a Young Adult/High School audience. The juxtaposition of adult (present day) and young teen (childhood memories) perspectives did not work well for me. The story also will probably appeal to a young audience. Adult readers looking for a literary mystery filled with suspense and well-developed characters will be disappointed.
Bookworm (Burlingame, CA)
Life isn't easy especially when you are a pre-teen growing up in a small town. This book has a bit about friendships gone bad and friendships that are lost forever. A bit of intrique is thrown in to keep the reader interested. Definitely not a must read this book would fit into the category of an average beach read.
Diana C. (Delray Beach, FL)
A Jewel of a Mystery
If all authors had this gift for character development, every book we read would be a treasured jewel. The obvious draw in this novel is the reader’s ardent desire to find out what happened to Rose, that fateful day. The not-so-obvious draw is the way the author peels away all the layers of the characters, year by year alternating between then and now, keeping us not only engaged but genuinely interested in the ultimate outcome. My favorite book reading genre is historical fiction, but once in a while a mystery comes across my lap that pulls me away from the 17th, 18th or 19th centuries and drops me into a world of intrigue and surprise. If this book had a moral, it would be that sometimes the choices we make have dire consequences.
Patricia H. (Norman, OK)
High school is more than academic
If your teenage years were perplexing ones, then this novel shows you were not alone. While alternating time frames can be disconcerting in some novels, they help support who these characters were and have become. It is a tough book because it has not been a happy time for them and, in the end, it is not clear that the solving the mystery of Rose's disappearance will make a difference. A melancholy book but worth reading if you want to share the lives of your novel's charaters from either the adult or teen perspective. I would recommend the book and would read it again.