Beulah Press, 2014.
This novel was disappointing right from the start. The plot had great potential, but from page one the writing was rushed, with no clear backstory for any of the characters, making it impossible to get emotionally involved. The opening interview scene between Rose and Nick, which should have been their adorable first meeting and precursor to romance, instead felt like a poorly done rip-off of Fifty Shades of Grey. My first impression of all the main characters was that they were completely unlikeable, and because of this I just couldn’t bring myself to care what happened to them next. And really, I’m all for an unlikeable character, but they must be well-written to hold my interest.
The whole plot was filled with melodrama and unnecessary misunderstandings. Rose and her sister Lily’s mother passes away, and they find a journal in which it is clear that Rose was adopted. Instead of considering the feelings of her remaining family, such as her bumbling father and sweet grandmother, thirty-five-year-old Rose acts like a petulant child, suddenly deciding that her adoptive family was awful and they punished her by raising her with love and affection when her birth mother could not. Rose seems to make choices out of anger without any real justification or even giving us any insight into her motivations. She acts out of anger but gives the reader no information on why she is so angry.
Meanwhile, Lily is living with an emotionally abusive husband, but she seems to be okay with that. She has no real individuality, and just takes on her personality from the other characters around her. In fact, some chapters are just lists of what Lily did that day, including a list of groceries purchased. She was very two-dimensional with no information to show us who she really is.
Rose’s romance with Nick is really just a plot device so she has someone to complain to about how horrible her life is. She begins to refer to herself as an orphan, identifying with Jane Eyre and Pip from Great Expectations. It’s very dramatic and over the top, I just couldn’t take her seriously. At one point, she whines to Lily, “I didn’t ask to be adopted, it happened to me. I’m the victim here.” (Loc. 1900). Yes, it’s horrible that your adoptive parents removed you from a potentially dangerous situation with an unfit mother and raised you as part of a happy family. At this point, I completely lost interest in Rose and her story.
If Rose was fifteen instead of thirty-five and this was advertised as a young adult novel, I could maybe forgive the whiny tone and poorly written characters. As it is, Rose was completely unlikeable and unsympathetic. I’m giving this novel two stars instead of one because I want to give the author the benefit of the doubt that there is more to the story here than I was able to see. Apparently this is the first in a series, and I will not be reading more.
I received this novel from Netgalley and Beulah Press in exchange for an honest review.