Paula W. (Winfield, IL)
It caught my attention. I could see what mystery was going to be and was interested. I like secrets shrouded in the past. The writing was good. HOWEVER! The novel was too long! The same ground was covered again and again. Good editing would have tightened this up and made it better. I kept reading because I did want the solution. But the heroine did not engage my affections, so I wouldn't give it a very good rating.
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.
Vera F. (Palmerdale, Alabama)
A Good Read
In Search of the Rose Notes was a very easy to read, compelling story. The action moves from 1990 and back to 2006, but each section is clearly marked and I had no trouble determining when each took place. We meet Nora and Charlotte, who are best friends as children in 1990. Their babysitter after school is Rose, who disappears. This is the mystery that draws them together in as adults. The dialogue for the children, and then for the adults is very realistically rendered. All in all, this was a well-written mystery, if not in the traditional mystery format.
Sherri A. (westbrook, ct)
In Search of the Rose Notes
All in all, this book was worth reading--even though it felt as though the author let the story get away from her. Take the title, for instance; it means nothing to the reader until the last few chapters, and then it just feels forced. The mystery surrounding Rose's disappearance seemed to be going one way in the beginning, and then took a sudden turn fateful fake-feeling turn toward the end. A shame, because the beginning was so good and the characters real...
Vicki O. (Boston, MA)
A Rose is a Rose?
This is not your typical mystery thriller and that’s what makes it such a pleasurable read.
It is really a tale about friendship revisited and secrets surfacing. When Nora and Charlotte were 11, their babysitter, Rose, disappeared and Nora was the last person to see Rose alive. At the time, the two friends tried to find out what happened, using paranormal methods extracted from a set of Time-Life books. Their efforts failed and so did their friendship. Fast forward fifteen years to 2006 when Rose’s bones are discovered and the two friends set out to unravel the mystery surrounding Rose’s murder. The book alternates seamlessly between the past and the present and as the investigation progresses, secrets emerge, resulting in a conclusion that is totally unexpected. This book will not disappoint.
Sandy P. (Gainesville, FL)
At a loss
Couldn't really find enough to say the book was good. Would appeal more to youth readers, which I'm sure is the intended market. Enjoyed the back and forth from 1990, when Rose (Charlotte and Nora's babysitter) disappeared to 2006 when Charlotte returned home to resolve Rose's disappearance. Repeated reference to Charlotte's "black books" became wearisome and had no tie in. Okay reading but not very satisfying to me.
Susan (Maple Grove, MN)
In Search of the Mystery
This book is not what I expected – a mystery/thriller. It is more of a coming of age story and would probably be more appealing to high school/young adult readers. I found it slow moving at times and did not care a lot about the characters or the outcome. It is not a bad book, but certainly not above average.