Friday, November 5, 2010

Black Rose

Black Rose by Nora Roberts
Book Two of the In The Garden trilogy

A Harper has always lived at Harper House, the centuries-old mansion just outside of Memphis. And for as long as anyone alive remembers, the ghostly Harper Bride has walked the halls, singing lullabies at night…

At forty-seven, Rosalind Harper is a woman whose experiences have made her strong enough to bend without breaking—and weather any storm. A widow with three grown sons, she survived a disastrous second marriage and built her In the Garden nursery from the ground up. Through the years, In the Garden has become more than just a thriving business—it is a symbol of hope and independence to Roz, and to the two women she shares it with. Newlywed Stella and new mother Hayley are the sisters of her heart, and together, the three of them are the future of In the Garden.

But now the future is under attack, and Roz knows they can’t fight this battle alone. Hired to investigate Roz’s Harper ancestors, Dr. Mitchell Carnegie finds himself just as intrigued with Roz herself. And as they begin to unravel the puzzle of the Harper Bride’s identity, Roz is shocked to find herself falling for the fascinating genealogist. Now it is a desperate race to discover the truth before the unpredictable apparition lashes out at the one woman who can help her rest in peace…

--Black Rose by Nora Roberts, Copyright ©2005 by Nora Roberts, published by Jove Books

My Review
What I didn’t like about Blue Dahlia did not apply at all to Black Rose. How many romance novels do you know star a widowed woman with three grown sons who, in just a few short years, will turn the dreaded 5-0? Not many that I could mention, that’s for sure. And that’s what I loved about this story. Roz and Mitch’s love story is not terribly unique—they meet because Roz hires Mitch to research her family to find the mysterious Harper Bride, Amelia. There are no clashes of personality as in Blue Dahlia…Roz and Mitch just work so well together, you almost wish they had met years earlier just so they could have had those extra years enjoying each other.

That’s not to say their romance didn’t have a few obstacles. After becoming a widow at a young age, Roz started her business and, once her boys were a bit older, met and married Bryce Clerk. It was a mistake, one Roz was quick to rectify and she pushed her philandering second husband out of her life. But now Bryce was back, and he was not going to go away quietly. Roz doesn’t really need Bryce back in her life, not with trying to run and expand her business, explore her relationship with Mitch and find out what she can about Amelia, all while keeping up the public fa├žade of a proper, well-bred Southern woman.

Of course, being the heroine of the story, Roz triumphs, and triumphs beautifully. In the end, they find out more about Amelia and Roz and Mitch are together, despite Amelia’s attempts to drive them apart. But there’s another young woman in Harper House, and Amelia will not go away quietly.

I give this story FOUR STARS.

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