A small boy, Manuel, is dying of acute myeloid leukemia, and the only way to save him is to find a matching blood donor. Because Manuel is part Hispanic, a matching blood type is difficult to find. His parents and grandparents struggle to find this while maintaining their trust in a seemingly distant God.
Nikki Arana wrote The Fragrance of Roses to create awareness of the need for Hispanic blood donors. Through the struggle of her characters in finding Manuel a matching blood type, she shows that the Hispanic blood donation base is very limited. The process of finding Hispanic blood types is very involved and often too time consuming for saving the lives of cancer patients.
The strongest element of The Fragrance of Roses is the research done by the author. Arana presents medical facts and statistics accurately, giving the reader a vivid portrayal of the blood-typing process. In fact, at times, this reads more like a science report than a contemporary novel.
Another positive element is the theme. Throughout the book, the characters develop a quiet trust in God, through which they find their strength and sustenance. Even through difficult times, they learn to believe that all things will work together for good.
Though the story concept is intriguing, The Fragrance of Roses ultimately comes across as what should have been an intense short story that has been stretched into three hundred pages. The plotline is too often predictable, the dialogue is frequently forced and unrealistic, and some parts of the novel are very unbelievable because of good fortune or coincidence or unnatural occurrences. For example, every time one of the characters has an encounter with God, he or she actually detects the smell of roses. (Iíve yet to meet anyone who literally is aware of the scent of flowers during his or her prayer time or moments of meditation.)
Nikki Arana could have achieved her purpose for The Fragrance of Roses much better by writing an informative article. As it is, the novel fails to sustain the readerís attention. Though it was informative, it did not provide the entertainment fulfillment that must also come from a novel. Ė Jenni K. Ritschard, Christian Book Previews.com
Their son is dying and only a miracle can save him.
Against all odds, attorney Angelica Amante married migrant worker Antonio Perez and became a stay-at-home mom for Manuel and Anica. Manuel was stricken with childhood cancer, but the family came through the crisis intact and considered Manuel their miracle child. God had indeed blessed them.
Or had He? When the deadly disease returns with a vengeance, threatening to rip away all that is precious to them, Antonio returns to Mexico in desperation to test his family members for a compatible donor for Manuel. Angelica must stay behind, watching her young son deteriorate as he suffers the ravages of chemotherapy and unexplained complications.
With only their faith in God and their love for each other to sustain them, Antonio and Angelica face the greatest battle of their lives.