What do you look for in a good summer read?
When I choose a summer book read, I want it to remind me of all the things I love about summer. A book that will sweep me away to a time and place that I can imagine myself visiting. One whose characters become my new best friends that I want to linger with during long, hot days. And one that puts forth ideas and information that I wouldn't normally gravitate towards. I found all of these delights and more in a wonderful new novel to be released on August 2, The Care and Handling of Roses With Thorns by Margaret Dilloway.
The story takes place today in the Central California Coastal area. The main character, Gal Garner, is 36, never been married, and is a high school science teacher in a private school, trying to lead a life as discreet as possible. That is until challenges with family, friendship, work, and life itself all converge on Gal at once. She is forced to face the past and the present with new perspectives that change not only who she is but how she always thought the world was for her.
In her free time, Gal is an aspiring rose breeder, set on perfecting a new breed of this complicated flower. Despite the physical and relational problems that are suddenly thrust upon her, the one thing constant is her work in her greenhouse. How she copes with her new challenges relates directly with what she is learning with her hobby. Early on in the story, when Gal was at one of her first rose shows, she looked around the room and noticed that most of the other entrants were male, scientists and engineers. She then made this observation, "You have to have a certain kind of personality, and patience for the long-term results."(pg. 37) As the story unfolds, the reader gets to see how Gal develops in to just such a person herself.
I was really enamored with how the author used the world of rose breeding as a means to organize her story. Very cleverly done indeed. This is an area that I previously knew zero about but because of this story, I have become fascinated with. I will never look at a rose the same ever again.
This book was everything that I want my summer reading choice to be. The setting was a perfect summer destination. Gal and the other characters truly became friends that I couldn't wait to hang out with. And learning about the whole rose breeding hobby was an extra bonus. I invite you to read this delightful story and join in an online book club discussion featuring "The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns" on BlogHer.com. After all, there's nothing better than sharing a good read with others. Heck, I just did that with you!!!