From the blurb:
‘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?
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.
Dearest Rose is available now from Amazon; click on the book cover below to visit the store.