Learn more Download now Shop now Browse your favorite restaurants Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more

on 13 September 2013
Dearest Rose is a touching, sentimental, captivating story about lost family, lost time, forgiveness, love and new beginnings.

Brimming with strong female characters, it slowly builds up the back story of Rose, the main character, whilst describing the awful situation in which she suddenly finds herself and her young daughter late one night. Rowan Coleman deals sensitively with emotional and often taboo subjects in her writing of this novel, providing an at times harrowing rollercoaster of a journey for many of the characters and the reader, but still giving amazing depth and dignity to the characters involved. It had me hooked very quickly and the trickling of new background information on Rose's past ensured that I continued to be hooked throughout the book.

Rose arrives in a new town with her seven-year-old daughter in the middle of the night and knocks on the door of the B&B as she looks desperately for somewhere to stay. They have brought very little with them, just a package wrapped in a blanket and a few items of underwear, hastily grabbed as they made their quick escape from their home. Rose has left her long-term husband after years of emotional abuse. She has come to the town to get as far away as possible, to start a new life and to close the door on her past. She has come to this town in particular because of a chance one-hour meeting with a total stranger several years before.

How different would she, her life, have been if she'd met a man with whom she could simply laugh, whose eyes she could look into without hesitation, a man who'd made her feel ... simply normal?

Yet Rose soon finds out that there is more than just this stranger pulling her towards this town.

`... That's fate, that is. That is God telling you something.'

`Fate.' Rose repeated the word slowly. `Fate makes it sound like you have no choice about what happens to you, but I don't think that's true. I think if I left everything up to fate then I wouldn't be here. It was going against fate that brought me here.'
Indeed, it does seem that fate has led Rose to this town, where she finds not just her stranger, but also another significant man from her past. Can she reconcile these aspects of her past with her new life, and is she strong enough to keep away from her abusive husband?

There are some wonderful characters in this book - from a bolshie best friend, a say-it-as-you-see-it landlady, a grumpy old man and, my favourite, an honest, scared little girl - Rose's daughter, Maddie - who has the characteristics of honesty and speaking her mind.
`But why?' Maddie sighed unhappily. `I don't like school. Teachers don't like me, children don't like me and I don't like them. I'm not the sort of child who suits school. You could keep me at home and let me be a genius.'

There are also some lovely descriptions of the scenery of the Lake District where it is set, and of art and painting. And the most important theme for me is of second chances, because many of the characters in the book need them at different stages of the story, and for the most part people deserve them, even in real life.

Overall, this book was a charming read, despite its heavy topics, leading to a romantic and happy ending - a must for all lovers of romance fiction.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
VINE VOICEon 19 December 2012
This was my first Rowan Coleman book but certainly won't be my last. I'm not sure why but I had always perceived her books to be light and fluffy however this book couldn't be further from that. It's well written fiction which deals with some deeper issues such as abandonment and domestic abuse.

The book begins when Rose and her young daughter Maddie turn up in the middle of a rainy night at a B&B in the wilds of Cumbria. They are not made particularly welcome by the landlady, Jenny, however her husband takes pity on them and allows them to stay. Little by little we learn of the events that led them to Millthwaite and why Rose has chosen that particular place to escape to.

Fate, love and forgiveness play a huge part in this book. It's an emotional read at times but it's also uplifting and there are two lessons to be learnt - one, that you should never give up on your dreams and secondly that there are times when people do deserve a second chance.

There is a well written and believable cast of characters. The main one being Rose. When we first meet her, she is a shell of her real self. She is the product of a dysfunctional family and having spent many years having her spirit crushed has no self-worth. Will she find the strength she needs to protect herself and her daughter? Maddie was an absolute delight to get to know. She is an unusual child, only 7 years old but old beyond her years. She has no social graces and because of her direct manner finds herself friendless most of the time. At first I thought she was on the autistic spectrum but as the book unfolds, we understand more of the reason for her behaviour. Maddie was my favourite character and I thought she was adorable in spite of her unusual ways.

Some other characters who play a big part in Rose's new life include her best friend Shona, who has her own troubled life to cope with but nevertheless brings humour to the story, the B&B landlady Jenny, whose bark seems to be worse than her bite and Jenny's son Ted, a flirty young barman with an eye for the ladies who figures in much of the story.

My only one slight disappointment with the book was towards the end when I found the storyline somewhat rushed and to my mind, partly unexplained, but having said that it was a fabulous read and one that I would definitely recommend. I look forward to reading more by this author.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 23 November 2012
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!
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
VINE VOICETOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 October 2012
I've been home from the wonderful island of Paxos for just over a week, as always, after a holiday, I've found it really difficult to get back into reading. I'm not sure why it happens, but it always does. I've picked up and abandoned a couple of books since we arrived home and was beginning to despair. I was really pleased to receive a copy of Rowan Coleman's tenth novel Dearest Rose this week and hoped that this would be the book to cure my reading malaise - sure enough it did! Thank goodness!

Dearest Rose was published on 27 September 2012 by Arrow Books; an imprint from the Random House publishing group. It's been quite a while since I've read anything by Rowan Coleman so I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this one. The cover picture is nice but quite ambiguous and could, quite possibly, put some readers off.

"You are a remarkable woman and you deserve all the happiness, contentment and love in the world. I, for one, know that I have never met anyone quite like you."

These are the words, written on the back of a well-worn postcard that Rose has cherished for many years. These are the words that were in the back of her mind when she finally, after years of unhappiness, left her husband. These are the words that Rose has based the rest of her life on, the words that have given her hope.

Dearest Rose is an intelligently written, captivating story of a woman who has never felt loved. She is a daughter, a wife and a mother yet feels as though she is a nothing. Every relationship throughout her life has been difficult, starting with her dysfunctional parents; the father who left when she was nine, the mother who committed suicide, the husband who controlled her and the daughter that lives in her own world. Frasier; the man who wrote the words on the postcard is the only person who ever thought Rose was someone special.

I found the first half of the novel to be quite slow-moving, Rose and her daughter Maddie are introduced to the reader quite slowly, their characters are slowly built up, with snippets of their backgrounds adding bit by bit allowing us to understand why and how they came to be where they are today. The second half the novel moves at a cracking pace, with the story unfolding and leading up to some quite traumatic and emotional scenes. It really is a quite draining and emotional read at times, but it's also a very satisfying and fulfilling story.

For me, the star of the novel is Maddie. Rose's seven-year-old daughter is a strange little girl, and she knows it. Intelligent and perceptive far beyond her years, she really shines throughout the novel. Her vulnerability is exposed alongside her abrupt and quite direct manner.

A remarkably well written novel that I enjoyed reading very much and would recommend highly.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
VINE VOICEon 24 December 2012
I have to confess to never having read a Rowan Coleman book before. I have Lessons in Laughing Out Loud on my shelf but haven't got round to it. Anyway, her latest book really intrigued me and I love the simple but effective cover.

The story itself follows Rose, who turns up in Millthwaite at a B&B. It is the middle of the night and she has a young child, Maddie, in tow. Rose is clearly in a state and has come looking for someone from her past. However, the person she meets is not the person she is expecting...

I loved how we were straight into Rose arriving at the B&B. As the reader, you instantly know something is wrong and want to find out what it is. I loved the character of Maddie - such an unsual yet loveable child. She had me laughing out loud. I also really warmed to John's character which I wasn't expecting due to his treatment of Rose in the past.

The book took me a while to really get into and it wasn't until about half way through that I really felt 'sucked in.' I wanted to get on with the story of why she had turned up in the village rather than all the little sub plots (Shona, Ted etc.)

I found the topics in the book were dealt with well but I felt the book should have had more emotional depth. It was only the end of the book that left me feeling sad and I think I was expecting the book to be much more of an emotional read. In this it lacked something for me.

I found certain parts of the book completely unrealistic and as if they had just been 'thrown in.' There is a lot going on in the story and, I feel, this makes the book a little bit unfocused and confusing.

I did enjoy the book and found myself wanting to know what had happened, but I did find it slightly lacking for the reasons I have explained. Still a good read and I would pick up more of her work in the future.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 27 September 2012
I do love that moment when you hear one of your favourite authors has another book due to be released. It is no secret that one of my top authors is Rowan Coleman so when I received an early review copy of Dearest Rose I was ecstatic and I wasted no time in getting started.


'You are a remarkable woman and you deserve all the happiness, contentment and love in the world. I, for one, know that I have never met anyone quite like you.'

When Rose Pritchard turns up on the doorstep of a Cumbrian B&B it is her last resort. She and her seven-year-old daughter Maddie have left everything behind. And they have come to the village of Millthwaite in search of the person who once offered Rose hope. Almost immediately Rose wonders if she's made a terrible mistake - if she's chasing a dream - but she knows in her heart that she cannot go back. She's been given a second chance - at life, and love - but will she have the courage to take it?

The author has brought us a fantastic wide mix of characters in this book. Our Heroine Rose is such a vulnerable and delicate character who is full of emotion and yet hollow at the same time. Her life and her story is heartbreaking and the only thing bringing light into her life is her daughter Maddie and a postcard from a stranger who she hopes to meet again someday. I love Maddie she is such an unusual character you can't help falling for her quirkiness and yet again the heart strings are pulled when you find out the reason she is how she is.

This book has been written beautifully with heartbreaking and raw emotion on every page but the storyline feels so delicate and tender it must have been very difficult for Rowan Coleman to write this book but I know that her hard work will pay off with this book.

Shona brings a little light to the book when she arrives to give Rose a helping hand and this was needed in this book just to bring a little humour to an incredibly touching book.

This is completely different from the authors previous books but it is obvious that this has been written right from her heart. I do not usually read books about abuse as unfortunately there is enough of that in the real world but I had to read this and I am so glad I did for once I do not feel my words can do this book the justice it deserves.

Rowan Coleman had brought us a heartbreaking and truly compelling read that is full of raw emotion and pure courage. I highly recommend this book along with a box of Kleenex but one thing is for sure I won't be loaning my copy out this one is here to stay on my shelf !
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 16 October 2012
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.
0Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 21 December 2014
As I live up a mountain and have no easy access to English books every book has to be carefully considered before ordering and buying by post..therefore I really do try to read every book I get..with this one I just can't get through it...have tried a couple of pages every day but have now given up half way through..it will not hold my interest....boring in the extreme and is not getting anywhere with the story. The reason I ordered it was because I read "The Memory Book" by the same author which was funny and sad and an enjoyable read. Based on that I ordered two more books by the same author...big mistake so far..waste of money on this one...let's hope the next is better. There is no comparison in the style of writing or the story interest between The Memory Book and Dearest Rose which a very slow moving tale...the descriptions of Rose's first "romantic" evening with Ted are cringe worthy...more Like Mills and Boon in the 60s.
11 Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 9 October 2012
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.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 27 September 2012
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.
0Comment| 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse

Need customer service? Click here