Thirty-year-old Celeste Hamilton’s life is at a crossroads: she has just left a disastrous marriage, and her estranged mother has recently died, leaving the family’s rose business in jeopardy. Reluctantly, Celeste returns to the family home, a moated manor house in Suffolk, to help her two younger sisters sort out the estate and revive the business.
Having endured the fallout from her mother’s Narcissistic Personality Disorder when she was younger, Celeste is filled with self-doubt and crippling insecurities. But she must find the strength and courage to take charge and make some tough decisions to keep the old house from falling down around them.
The Rose Girls is an uplifting, tender and romantic story of courage, perseverance and the healing power of family. (From Amazon.com)
Bubby: As much as I have daydreams about living in a manor house in England surrounded by gorgeous gardens, I tend not to think of the practical details like centuries of neglect causing the ceiling in the North wing to fall down. And the weeding, the upkeep, the rot, the damp, etc. etc. I guess I’ll stop complaining about the relatively minor “personality quirks” of my standard American home.
Sissy: Whatever! The minute I saw the cover of The Rose Girls by Victoria Connelly, I wanted to dive inside. I wanted to smell the roses and run my hand across the dark wood paneling. I don’t care if it would be cold and draughty–I would simply bundle up and enjoy the spectacular ambience. This book was easy to get into and enjoy as it flowed like a cool summer breeze. I was especially entranced by the descriptions of all the Hamilton roses. I want so badly to stroll amidst those acres of luscious blooms and inhale the scent whilst gazing upon their beauty.
Bubby: Well, since the Hamilton Rose Growers at Little Eleigh Manor don’t actually exist outside of the pages of this book, I see that we need to add a trip to the David Austin Rose Gardens in Albrighton to our “Perfect English Vacation” list so you can stroll in the Long Garden (pictured below).
It’s so pretty! You knew that all the roses in my personal gardens are David Austin English roses, didn’t you? Only the best for me!
Sissy: Are you saying that you are a snooty pooty pampered posy princess? I already knew that. Love your use of the phrase “personal gardens.” I didn’t know that 8 rose bushes and several scattered dandelions constituted “personal gardens.” But we are way off topic! We have discussed the centuries old manor and its issues and the delightful Hamilton roses (from which the rose girls’ names are derived, by the way. Read about it in the book!). But what about the storyline, Bubby? Three sisters trying to save their business and home, seeking to salvage their sibling relationship, and longing (if not admittedly) for love. So many secrets! But all is eventually revealed, like Bubby’s virginal ankles on a hot summer’s day.
Bubby: Virginal ankles? What on earth? Never mind, I don’t actually want to know where you were going with that. My ankles are lovely, thank you very much. I loved how the relationship between Celeste, Gertie and Evie evolves throughout the story. They have all suffered from having to deal with their mother (evidently having narcissistic personality disorder makes you mean and petty and difficult to deal with) and this has affected their bonds of sisterhood, unlike the sisterly bonds between Sissy and I, which have only grown stronger through our family dysfunction and strife. Not that we have any of that or anything…and for the record, I have no dandelions in my flowerbeds. So there.
Sissy: The little barbs and jibes that the sisters threw at each other, mingled with the secrets they were keeping made the story very frustrating but true to life. I just wanted to smack Evie several times for being so self-focused and naive. But these shaky sibling bonds made the story and its subsequent resolution all the more rewarding. Plus romance! Don’t forget the romance!
Bubby: Do you know who I wanted to smack? Gertie, with her delusional romantic notions! Hoo boy! But luckily, all works out well in the end, even for Celeste who is sure that she has no need for a man in her life. If you love roses, England, sisterhood or just great stories, The Rose Girls is the book for you. Pair it with a tall glass of iced lavender lemonade and your summer will be complete!
Sissy: Yes, Celeste is certainly all clenched up like a vise when it comes to amour. And there is certainly no doubt that Bubby and I are Anglophiles. But it’s in our DNA! Seriously, I got my DNA results back from ancestry.com, and I am 51% British (England, Wales, and Scotland) and 21% Irish (the other 28% is various other bits of Europe). So it is no wonder I thoroughly relished The Rose Girls by Victoria Connelly. Also it is a fabulous bit of writing…perfect for reading in your hammock in the garden!
Click HERE to buy The Rose Girls by Victoria Connelly
Copyright 2015 Bubble Bath Books