Title: The Forgotten Roses
Author: Deborah Doucette
Publisher: Owl Canyon Press
Publication date: February 24, 2014
Rebecca Griffin has everything she ever wanted – or so says her big-hearted Italian American family. But now her marriage is unraveling and her teenage daughter is hurtling toward a self-destructive calamity. While Rebecca struggles to hang on to her husband and save her daughter, she learns of the mysterious death of a young woman long ago at a local prison and her family’s connection to the girl, Rose. It is a story that haunts Rebecca. Her search for answers takes Rebecca from the small idyllic New England town where she lives to her big Italian family still residing in the old tight-knit neighborhood in East Boston. As she tries to dig up the facts of the young girl’s life and violent death, Rebecca’s own buried secrets surface. She finally gains insight into the choices she’s made, facing the difficult truth about her husband, Drew. The three women, Rebecca, her troubled daughter, Dana, and mysterious figure from the past each unknowingly embark on a collision course one desperate, enchanted autumn night when the way forward comes to light in the most unearthly of places by the most innocent of messengers.
Rebecca has carved out a nice career for herself in real estate, but it feels like everything else around her is crumbling: her marriage, her relationship with her teenage daughter, and what she’s believed to be true about humanity. In the midst of her big Italian family, Rebecca feels alone.
Rebecca’s husband, Drew, is distant. Their teenage daughter, Dana, is hostile and seemingly on a downward spiral. Her mother is aging. And Rebecca feels as if she can’t be as available as she’d like for her younger daughter, Lily. Rebecca is like so many women today who’re pulled in a million different directions at once and also feeling like there’s too little support.
While Rebecca tries to solve the mystery of her failing marriage, she also finds herself neck-deep in uncovering the truth about a house she’s trying to sell and what it has to do with a local girl’s death at a nearby prison… “the answers they seek come to light in the most forgotten of places from the most innocent of messengers”.
Doucette’s mastery at weaving the story around two mysteries is a refreshing read. I loved her rich use of language, giving detailed accounts without being needlessly wordy. I felt Rebecca’s pain over watching her husband slip through her fingers slowly and relished when she regained her self-confidence to confront him and deal with her issues. I agonized with Rebecca as she felt like a mothering failure and rejoiced when she was successful in personal conquests.
The characters were relatable and yet some of them challenged my thought processes. There were heart-palpitating scenes, but nothing was too graphic. Doucette’s The Forgotten Roses is entertaining, easy to read, and fast-paced. I hope she’s planning to write more fiction!
Reviewed by: Denise G