Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

In Search of the Rose Notes by Emily Arsenault (Book Review)

Title: In Search of the Rose Notes
Author: Emily Arsenault
Publisher:  William Morrow

About the Book: Eleven-year-olds Nora and Charlotte were best friends.  When their teenage babysitter, Rose, disappeared under mysterious circumstances, the girls decided to "investigate."  But their search -- aided by paranormal theories and techniques gleaned from old Time-Life books -- went nowhere.

Years later, Nora, now in her late twenties, is drawn back to her old neighborhood -- and to her estranged friend -- when Rose's remains are finally discovered.  Upset over their earlier failure to solve the possible murder, Charlotte is adamant that they join forces and try again.  But Nora was the last known person to see Rose alive, and she's not ready to revisit her troubled adolescence and the events surrounding the disappearance -- or face the disturbing secrets that are already beginning to reemerge.

My thoughts:  This one has been on my TBR list since the middle of last year.  I am glad that I finally got the chance to read it.  I loved all the references to the Time Life Books - Mysteries of the Unknown - (Yes, I am a geek and have part of this set myself in the basement) I loved those books, but I digress. 

The prologue gives you a glimpse into the life of Nora and Charlotte as eleven-year-olds.  Their babysitter, Rose, has disappeared and they are trying to figure out what they can do to uncover clues to find her.  The story then jumps to the present and is told in flashbacks. 

It has been about 16 years Since Nora and Charlotte were friends.  They had drifted apart after Rose disappeared and went in totally different directions in high school.  Nora has moved away and gotten married, and Charlotte is living in the same house she grew up in and is teaching English at her old high school.  She calls Nora out of the blue to tell her that some local kids have found some remains and think they are Rose's. 

Nora has avoided Waverly since graduation.  She had been labeled as the last one to see Rose alive and didn't like to relive those days.  Her high school years had been rough and she felt like she had been invisible there.  In spite of all this, Nora feels herself drawn back to Waverly to find out if Rose really had been found. 

Being in Waverly, especially in Charlotte's house, brings to the surface all sorts of memories and feelings that she had during and after the time that Rose disappeared.  Things she saw and heard as a pre-teen, which maybe did not make sense then, begin to gel in Nora's mind.  She starts to piece together some of the things that she heard and saw.  I liked how some differences that divided her classmates in the past no longer stood between them, but at the same time it was hard to erase those lingering impressions.  

In discovering the secrets of what happened to Rose, Nora discovers some other things that had been buried and begins to better understand herself along the way.

In Search of the Rose Notes
Publisher/Publication Date: William Morrow, July 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-201232-6
369 pages

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