I have not been a fan of the regular run-of-the-mill women fiction. I somehow cannot relate to it and more so I do not feel for the characters. I try and avoid reading such books. I try and then I give up in some cases. But the one that I am about to review now was a different experience altogether.
“The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns” by Margaret Dilloway was a different one. It was not run-of-the-mill and neither was it predictable. Margaret Dilloway has written a book which is emotional without being sentimental. I did not choke at any point and yet my heart went out to the main character. Maybe that is what is known as the power of good writing. It manages to evoke feelings in readers.
Gal has a kidney disease. Gal also loves roses. She gets a surprise visit from her niece, Riley. She doesn’t want to take care of her niece and her own set of issues simmering beneath the façade.
The title is self-explanatory and gets clearer as the reader surges ahead. The characters are well-etched and yet somehow seem a little distant to relate to, maybe because of the situation they are embroiled in.
The writing is intelligent and you can connect with it in some places. The plot also reminded me of “Fire on the Mountain” by Anita Desai to some extent. I liked how the love of roses and its care was explained in detail (but obviously) in the book. The small town colour and charm is fascinating. Every detail is taken care of in the writing and that is how it should be, while writing a book about solitary living in a small town. The idea of breeding champion roses and Gal wanting to be a winner is so endearing that you are hooting for her throughout the book.
The book is slow to get started with, but once you do, you are stuck. The dynamics between Gal and Riley are brilliantly depicted and that’s the core of the story anyway (well more or less). So I managed to read a book of the so-called, “women fiction” genre and loved it. I am stepping to the other side of fiction. On a more serious note, do read this book. It is simple, sweet and a nourishing tale of relationships formed, with the acceptance of roses with the thorns.