Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rose House by Tina Ann Forkner - My Review

“Lillian decided truth was complicated. Keeping it at bay would be easier than admitting she had been callously betrayed…” (p.107)

Tin Ann Forkner’s latest novel, Rose House presents a masterful search for truth amid the carnage of tragedy. Lillian has lost so very, very much, and even as she grieves her loss she discovers a betrayal so dark that hope is crushed entirely. Indeed, Lillian is but a shell of a woman when this story begins, and happiness is but a fleeting shadow.

What Lillian cannot know amid her grief is that her future is anything but hopeless. When she visits the rolling hills of Sonoma, California she discovers a house almost completely devoured by roses. Soft, fragrant blossoms intertwine with sharp, painful thorns to create an image in Lillian’s heart of hope – a longing for what once was and what could be yet again.

It is during her extended stay at La Rosaleda and her visit to see the Rose House that Lillian is befriended by a group of people who begin to touch her life in very unexpected ways. An artist, a vineyard owner, a couple that runs the local B&B and a young man who loves to take photographs are but a few people who reach out to Lillian as she begins to search for meaning amid the shambles of her life. Her estranged sister, Geena, also reappears at this point forcing Lillian to deal with some painful memories – and to find truth behind them. Danger is something else that follows Geena to La Rosaleda. The combination of these elements creates a beautiful, amazing and purposeful tale that will linger in your heart with the sweet, poignant effect of the roses for which the story is named.

Tina Ann Forkner has totally captured my heart with Rose House! The effects of tragedy, loss and hopelessness are powerfully but gently examined amid the love, friendship and spiritual encouragement of others who either share or experience their own life-tragedy. The image of the Rose House itself – blooms among thorns – takes on a life of its own, and by the end of the story the reader understands the true meaning of all that has taken place. The element of suspense woven amid the romance and heartache is the perfect addition to the story, and keeps the reader rather frantic toward the end.

Rose House is a rich and unforgettable story. Don’t miss it or you will have surely missed a treasure!

A NOTE FROM TINA: (answers to a couple of questions)

What was your inspiration for this story?

Well, in my first book, Ruby Among Us, there was a house that was called the Rose House. It has a difficult, but hopeful story behind it. As for the other themes in the book, it's hard to describe. It is definitely fiction. I am blessed that my life hasn't been quite as difficult as Geena's and Lillian's, but I have lived through some things and have watched friends live through others. It isn't a far stretch to write about such things. I also grew up in Oklahoma like Lillian did and I also have a wonderful sister. She isn't like Geena! :-)

Are you already working on your next novel?

I am working on a few new novels! I am looking forward to being able to share those details.


Tina Ann Forkner writes contemporary fiction that challenges and inspires. She grew up in Oklahoma and graduated with honors from CSU Sacramento before settling in Wyoming. She lives with her husband, their three bright children and their dog and stays busy serving on the Laramie County Library Foundation Board of Directors. She is the author of Ruby Among Us, her debut novel, and Rose House, which recently released from Waterbrook Press/Random House.
You can visit Tina's website to learn more about her work!

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