Rose House, written by Tina Ann Forkner, is a romance novel whose main character, Lillian Diamon, must wrestle with painful memories of her past while trying to establish a new relationship with a temperamental artist. This story, set in a tiny southern California town called La Rosasleda, finds Lillian trying to come to terms with her grief over losing her husband and two children in a suspicious car accident in which her sister, Geena, was able to walk away unharmed. Lillian meets Truman Clark, a local landscape artist, who has painted a remarkable picture of the Rose House, named for the massive rose bushes covering the outside. The painting, called Beauty and the Beast Within, also includes a woman who resembles Lillian. Thus, a romance begins. But Truman leaves Lillian to give her space when she seems unable to put away her old feelings for her deceased husband.
This story is relationship-driven rather than plot-driven. Heavy use of description drags the pacing to a slow crawl and makes this book difficult to get through. Forknerís book consists of main characters who are partially developed if not two-dimensional, settings are confusing, and the pacing is slow. As a result, this book is not a page-turner. As a Christian novel, religious references are sparse and incidental, not contributing to the storyline at all. There are a few references to an outdoor Sunday morning service, and once we find Geena thinking of herself as the prodigal daughter of a stepfather who happens to be a preacher. However, the main focus is the Rose House itself and its presence, inviting visitors to experience hope, dreams, and inspiration while harboring secrets from within. Ė Anita Tiemeyer, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Still mourning the loss of her family in a tragic accident, Lillian Diamon finds herself drawn back to the Rose House, a quiet cottage where four years earlier she had poured out her anguish among its fragrant blossoms.
She returns to the rolling hills and lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley in search of something she canít quite name. But then Lillian stumbles onto an unexpected discovery: displayed in the La Rosaleda Gallery is a painting that captures every detail of her most private moment of misery, from the sorrow etched across her face to the sandals on her feet.
What kind of artist would dare to intrude on such a personal scene, and how did he happen to witness Lillianís pain? As the mystery surrounding the portrait becomes entangled with the accident that claimed the lives of her husband and children, Lillian is forced to rethink her assumptions about what really happened that day.