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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dearest Rose
A friend of mine once said that the light at the end of the tunnel is the next train about to hit you - I mention this here because I think it describes perfectly Dearest Rose in that just as you thought something positive (dare I say it .... something nice) was about to happen to Rose another 'train' seemed to come trundling along knocking her back down again...
Published on 28 Sept. 2012 by Tracy Terry

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars and thought it was without doubt one of the best books I've ever read
Now the problem here was I'd previously read The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman, and thought it was without doubt one of the best books I've ever read. This book (Runaway Wife), had come highly recommended via a Book Club I'm a member of, but unfortunately, for me, it simply didn't live up to expectation. Certainly a nice easy read, but I felt I knew absolutely everything...
Published 1 month ago by Barbara Beswick


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dearest Rose, 28 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Dearest Rose (Paperback)
A friend of mine once said that the light at the end of the tunnel is the next train about to hit you - I mention this here because I think it describes perfectly Dearest Rose in that just as you thought something positive (dare I say it .... something nice) was about to happen to Rose another 'train' seemed to come trundling along knocking her back down again.

Sounds depressing?

I won't lie to you, there were aspects to the story that were harrowing but I wouldn't describe the story as depressing as there were so many elements that, though they had me reaching for the tissues, were what I can only describe as life affirming.

Beautifully penned, Dearest Rose takes you on an emotional roller-coaster of a ride with some truly heart-stopping moments but what most impressed me was the depth of the characters.

Concerned at first that this was going to be one of those novels in which all the female characters were written as paragons of virtue, the male characters as, well, less than desirable I was greatly pleased to discover a wonderful array of characters who, whether you loved them or hated them, brought something to the book as their part in Rose's life unfolded bit by bit.

DISCLAIMER: Read and reviewed on behalf of the Arrow (A member of the Random House Group) I was merely asked for my honest opinion, no financial compensation was asked for nor given.

Dearest Rose
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some minor errors in proofreading, but story is excellent., 16 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: Dearest Rose (Kindle Edition)
After Rose and her seven-year-old daughter Maddie turn up at a B&B in the Cumbrian town of Millthwaite at 3am, we learn about their back story and of the horrors they have endured.

Rose, a product of a dysfunctional parentage, hadn't seen her Dad, John, since she was nine. Her mother Marian couldn't cope with John's abandonment and neglected her daughter, then committed suicide by drowning. Rose, alone at seventeen, drifts into a marriage with Richard, who is controlling and abusive. The only person who has shown love to Rose is Frasier, who met her once, for a short time, whilst he was trying to find her artist father.

I am not a fan of fiction involving abuse but this story unfolds very gently and offers little bits of information as the reader goes on. As Rose slowly recovers, the story of her marriage gets worse, to the point of reason for her swift departure.

High points of characterisation is of Maddie, who lives in her own world where she can't be hurt, and lacks social niceties. She tells people exactly the truth which can be uncomfortable to listen to, and she lacks friends. At first I thought Maddie had autistic tendencies, but as the story progresses I found out how Rose's marriage has affected her. The other great character is Shona, Rose's best friend, who is bolshy and tarty and also a victim of domestic abuse, so there are parallels. I sensed a point being made about social class, as Shona is depicted to be more working class than Rose, the point being a bad relationship can happen to anyone. Shona was looking for a happy ending, and believed her partner could provide it.

Rose re-starts a relationship with her father and it ends up being a saviour. Frasier, John's agent, seems unattainable to Rose, but of course, we all know this will change. The story is about love, and mending oneself, and redemption.

The Kindle edition had some proofreading problems such as spelling errors and missing punctuation, and this detracted slightly from the finished product. Can't fault the story though.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Time for tissues, 19 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: Dearest Rose (Paperback)
For fear of ruining key elements of the story I don't want to go into anymore than the synopsis does.

Rose has such a heartbreaking past and there really is no doubt in my mind that she is a brave woman, yes she is vulnerable and it seems at times as though she is empty inside but with everything life has thrown at her she is still standing.

There are two things that keep Rose going when life gets tough and that's a postcard and her daughter Maddie.
When focused on these things its as though she can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

'Dearest Rose' has such a great mix of characters

The character that I felt lightened the story was Shona (Rose's friend), she is everything that Rose isn't and its these qualities that help Rose.

I had two favourite characters one of whom was Jenny (The owner of the B&B), Jenny comes across at first as stand-offish but once she's got to know someone she is loyal no end and family is extremely important to her.

And the other was Maddie, she's had such a tough young life but still we see some lighter moments through this character and the things she says.

It took me a while to get into the story but once It pulled me in, I couldn't put it down.

This is an emotional read that covers some very hard issues, its written beautifully and handles tough topics with such sensitivity that you can feel the emotion in every page.

I recommend 'Dearest Rose' with tissues and a cup of tea.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very tender and moving read, 23 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Dearest Rose (Paperback)
Rowan has always written about difficult, even taboo subjects - death, divorce, single parenthood, loss, child abuse - always with some degree of humour as well as seriousness but with Dearest Rose she encompasses domestic abuse and manages to dispel the myths that domestic abuse is a predominantly working class problem that goes hand in hand with inner city sink estates and drug and alcohol problems. She is never judgemental in her writing, instead the thought and empathy that she has obviously put into this are there in her depiction of Rose and Shona and indeed Maddie - all victims, all SURVIVORS of domestic abuse.

Rose, abandoned by her father and then by her mother, is misled and overtaken by her need for love when she meets older and successful Richard, mistaking control and jealousy for love and care. But everyone has a line and when Rose's 'line' is crossed she disappears into the night with seven year old Maddie, the most precocious and delightful child you will ever come across in a book! And what propels lost and lonely Rose to the 'middle of nowhere'? A chance encounter over seven years previously, a tattered postcard with a few hope inspiring words; they, and a crossed line, are all the impetus Rose needs to look for a new life.

Indeed, new life she does find in the wonderfully described Middlethwaite with its cast of warm and eccentric characters including the no nonsense B&B owner Jenny, stern and stony on the outside and soft as butter inside, who can't resist a bit of good natured interfering in Rose's life and her son, young, sexy and smitten with Rose; but will Rose find what she has come all this way to look for or has she just been following a pipe dream?

Rowan unfolds Rose's story one layer at a time, slowly uncovering the reasons for her hasty getaway and what hurt has been in her passed whilst also delving into her present anxieties and experiences and hopes for her future. It's a tender and thoughtful piece of writing that makes the reader think about Rose and Maddie as we get to know them properly and by the end we really are cheering them on, hopeful.

I loved the character of Jenny, she is someone you would want on your side, someone who will not let you down and as for Maddie...I adore Maddie, who couldn't love that eccentric and outspoken little girl, coping with her own pain in her own way.. she is amazing. There are wonderfully funny but tender moments with Rose and Ted that just bring home the innocence of and need in Rose. As for Shona, Rose's only friend, the strength and yet need in her are also brilliantly depicted. A character seemingly full of life but always hungering for something that she knows is wrong and dangerous - the story of a thousand more women. Rowan shows their ultimate strengths to a 't'.
Prepare to feel wrung out by the time you've read this. Rowan's unmimicable style might put you through the emotional mangle but, boy, is it worth it!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Into another league..., 29 Oct. 2012
By 
Welsh Annie (Wetherby) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Dearest Rose (Paperback)
I finished this book in the early hours last night, thoroughly enjoyed every moment although I felt like I'd been through a wringer, and it's most definitely one of my books of the year. Rowan Coleman has always been more at the "thinking woman" end of the chick lit spectrum, but this one moved her writing into a whole new league for me. All the chick lit staples are there - the sexy young barman, the scatty friend, the near misses and misunderstandings - but this is a book with a really dark underside, and some of the strongest female characters you'll find anywhere. Maddie, Rose's unusual seven year old daughter, is a wonderful creation and an absolute joy - with some of the best conversational gambits and one-liners ever, but with a soft underside that melts your heart. Equally strong are Jenny the landlady - an excellent character - and Shona, Rose's brash but troubled friend. The book builds slowly, bringing in elements of the back story to reveal the full picture, and the last third is exciting, emotional, draining and satisfying in turn. The writing is effortless, which makes the reading that way too, and I can't recommend it too highly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Award winning tearjerker!, 4 Dec. 2012
This review is from: Dearest Rose (Paperback)
This is a really captivating story that, when finished, leaves with you with a sweet warm feeling - even though it begins with Rose doing something rather hasty that she quickly starts to question. I love this way of starting a new book as it instantly grabs your attention by intriguing you about the wheres and whys of what Rose has done. What was so terrible to make her uproot her daughter, Maddie, and drive off in the middle of the night? And all Rose has is a handwritten note from someone she spent less than an hour with seven years ago. This teasing style carries on throughout the book, with Coleman slipping out little details here and there to ensure you keep you turning the pages and devour the story.

Rose comes across as a weak person but really she's brave and very strong. As she tries to figure out her new life, she meets some interesting characters, some of which she wishes she didn't have to see! Maddie is a fab character and she gives the story a bit of sparkle, she's a little odd but she's ok with that. Coleman's portrayal of her is spot on, she makes Maddie seem grown up but still very child like and innocent. The story is beautifully written; it's emotional, exciting and charmingly romantic. And it's very easy to see how the book won Best Romantic Read at the recent Festival of Romance awards.

Review by Francesca Verbeeten on behalf of BestChickLit.com
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An emotional read, 27 Sept. 2012
By 
Sharon (Wiltshire) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Dearest Rose (Paperback)
I have to confess that I've only read the last couple of Rowan Coleman's books so I've got a whole back catalogue of her books to catch up on. Having loved her last book, Lessons in Laughing Out Loud, I had been looking forward to reading this although I had a hunch that this book would be a bit of a weepie and I was definitely right.

From the start when Rose and her young daughter Maddie turn up unannounced at a B&B in the middle of the night with just the clothes on their backs, you know that something awful has happened in her life to make her run. But what is her story and why has she chosen this remote area in the Cumbrian countryside?

It's soon apparent that it was fate that brought her to Millthwaite as she discovers that someone from her past, someone she thought she would never see again, lives in the village. Will he be pleased to see her and can they rebuild bridges before it's too late?

It certainly turns out that coming to Millthwaite was the perfect tonic for them both, as Rose is able to step out of the shadows and blossom into the person she's meant to be, and Maddie can enjoy a normal happy childhood surrounded by people who love her.

For me this was a very emotional book to read as I could relate to some of the experiences that Rose and Maddie had endured, especially Maddie who had seen and heard things that no child should be witness to. But despite the heartbreaking topics that are covered in this book, I have to say they have been handled with extreme sensitivity. But it's not all doom, there are plenty of light relief moments throughout as well.

There is a wonderful mix of characters throughout the book, the vulnerable but resilient Rose, strong-willed Shona, Rose's friend, who's facing her own dramas, Jenny and Brian, the B&B owners who welcome Rose and Maddie into their family and many more. But I have to say my favourite character of all was young Maddie who seems very wise beyond her years, she provided some entertaining moments with the things she says and does.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this Book, 5 April 2013
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This review is from: Dearest Rose (Kindle Edition)
I have read all of Rowan Coleman's books, but it has taken me a while to get round to reading this one. I wasn't so enthusiastic because I felt that it wasn't the sort of story I would enjoy, the subject matter sounded a bit harrowing and the story sounded unhappy. Despite all my reservations I loved this book and even though I cried (a lot), and yes some parts of the book are sad, it isn't an unhappy story. It is an amazing story about a woman who breaks free and escapes the awful life that has some how become hers and in doing so finds she has the courage to face her past and the strength to take on her future. This is a beautifully written novel and is most definitely Rowan's best book so far. A moving but uplifting story which stays with you long after you have finished reading. No wonder it has won the Epic Romantic Novel of the Year award this year. Well done Rowan and thank you for a fabulous book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely read, 16 April 2013
This review is from: Dearest Rose (Paperback)
I haven't read any Rowan Coleman books before but will be going onto look for another.
It's the kind of book that is light enough to enjoy at bedtime but intelligent enough to be thought provoking.
The story unravels carefully and is surprising but does make you question what goes on behind apparently respectable fronts in society.
There are several well rounded characters, not just Rose who is a strong and rather courageous protagonist, but also the B and B owners who welcome her and her daughter. Don't want to give away any spoilers but this will keep you reading up to the last surprising pages.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and sensitively written, 9 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: Dearest Rose (Kindle Edition)
I have enjoyed all Rowan Coleman's books and was really looking forward to this one. It did not disappoint. The story opens with the main character leaving home with her daughter Maddie and arriving in the Lake District in the dead of night at a B&B. Already I was hooked as I wanted to know why she left.
Like Lessons in Laughing Out Loud, Rowan Coleman does not shy away from sensitive issues that could easily be exploited on the page.What emerges is a sensitively written book about an issue that is still considered a taboo.
Rose is not feeble, but could be perceived that way. I thought she was brave and strong and her character is so well created that I felt as if I knew her and was urging her on throughout the story. Her daughter Maddie is quirky and with my professional hat on I thought she had autistic tendencies, but as the story progresses the reasons for Maddie's behaviour become apparent. The story portrays so well how much a child's home life impacts upon them.
The reappearance of 2 significant, life altering characters in Rose's life take the story in different directions and show how powerful love in its many forms can be. They also show how powerful hope is and that a chance meeting really can change your life. It reminds us that it is never too late to tell someone you love them and sometimes we have to face the past to go forward.
The secondary characters in the story, the landlady, Ted, Rose's friend all enable the story to be told and it is told with dignity. I admired Rose and she made me think about an issue I had been quite judgemental about in the past. The story makes you think that just because someone appears to be an upstanding pillar of the community, it doesn't mean they are behind closed doors.
This book really made me think and I have had it on my mind for the 2 days since I finished it. I can't recommend it enough.
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Dearest Rose
Dearest Rose by Rowan Coleman (Paperback - 27 Sept. 2012)
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