Monday, May 21, 2018

Review: A FOREST FULL OF ROSES by Jennifer Russon

Money strapped Teresa Rose and her three-year-old twins are starting over…in enchanted Blue Jordan Forest, home to country hicks, magic and immortal beings. Drawn back to Florida after her husband dies, Teresa seeks help as a single, working Mom. She turns to her odd parents for childcare, only to find that her mother, "Queen Claudia", is more interested in selling real estate and cheating on her husband than being the grandma, Crystal and Ruby Rose deserve. It's a lonely recluse in the woods who offers to be the nanny – a woman named Sirene, who practices voodoo, talks to ghosts, and thinks she's the mythical figure, Mami Wata. Half woman, half something else, Mami Wata falls hard for Teresa, and spends her time concocting ways to get Teresa's lover, John Runningwolf, out of this bizarre love triangle. A FOREST FULL OF ROSES spoofs on some of the world's most cherished fairytales in ways that are both poignant and funny – telling a suspenseful love story that haunts its characters' happily ever after.

My review: Teresa Rose is newly widowed and moving to the sunshine state with her 3-year old twin daughters. The new family would now reside in Blue Jordan Forest, which, evidently, is an actual forest. We come to learn that Teresa is actually an empath, and I just love stories with mediums, psychics, fortune-tellers, and all other similar kinds.


The air of supernatural mystery was what allured me to this story, but I felt like I was guessing a lot of the time. Story had a lovely prose albeit a tad cryptic. The author clearly has a poetic and mystical style in her writing, but I'm not sure if it all made sense to me. For instance, "Sister Cecile cleaned her Windsor eyeglasses; they were so big, all seeing." I get that her eyes were big, but what was "all seeing?" Yes, the purpose of eyes was to see. Unless there was an insinuation to "psychicness" perhaps? Then we meet Sirene, who’s a voodoo priestess and a schizophrenic believing she's Mami Wata. Apparently, she also falls in love with Teresa. The story was mostly narrated by Teresa and Sirene. There were actually several POV's in the story, which I'm not sure if that served any function. Was it necessary to hear from John, Claudia, and the twins? Was this story more fantasy or drama? Was this just a bizarre love triangle?


Teresa and Sirene evidently had some connection veiled behind troubled woes, mystical senses, and complex history; but I'm not sure if I understood it. Perhaps it was too convoluted for my taste; I would've preferred a simpler story. 


My rating: 2.5 stars

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