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In Search of the Rose Notes: A Novel Paperback
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...a compelling psychological mystery, told from the alternating point of view of the 20-something narrator and her confused preteen self. ... Instead of dwelling on fear and pain, Arsenault guides the reader through grief, compassion, and understanding in this emotionally complex and deeply satisfying read. (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
Emily Arsenault’s absorbing second book, “In Search of the Rose Notes,” is at least as much a novel as a detective story.... Ms. Arsenault here reveals strange truths beneath everyday surfaces and shows that truth sometimes isn’t all that strange. (Wall Street Journal) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
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.--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top customer reviews
I gave my Broken Teaglass review, the title of ‘A Murder Mystery?’ If you actually go on to read the book, you will understand what I mean. The novel adds complexity to complexity, surprise to surprise, in a way that I find most engaging.
Now back to ‘In Search of the Rose Notes,’ where a relatively young teenage girl goes missing and years later her bones are found. Shocking, to be sure. But Ms. Arsenault’s writing itself, her plotting, and characterizations are as engaging as the first book. And I have to tell you that I must give Rose Notes, a similarly complex review title, which as you’ve noticed, is also ‘A Murder Mystery?’. What Ms. Arsenault does, requires a soft touch, and much refinement. She is an excellent scrivener.
She knows character conflict, moral confusion, personality deficiencies, and underneath it all an understanding of what is really human forgiveness. There are things in the Rose Notes, that you may not like, and some that you may find confusing and harder to follow, such as time shifts between teenage high school years and the present. There is no individual who is not in some way, deficient. But the overall effect of all the characters involved, is a great respect for who they all are. Her book leaves me with an overall glad and accepting feeling, even with the sad parts. Do I like everything about it? No, but the tough points are real, and they are human, some of them regrettably. It’s sorry that anyone has to suffer, but in a way, we all do in some way and in our eventual ending. I’m glad I read the book. Some might want to give it four stars, but I’m sticking with five, and I’m looking forward to reading the next one she wrote.
The book takes you back to the 80's and a few yeas ago as you join Nora on the unraveling of what happened to her eccentric, quirky Nanny, Rose, after she disappears on a seemingly average walk home. Together with her "frienemy" Charlotte, the girls search old books, dabble in the paranormal and eventually part ways only to reconnect when a body is found stuffed inside a wicker trunk by a well traveled lake.
Like with most books, there is the good and there is the bad.
Arsenault sets the scene and brings you in, in a very strong way. You can understand the mystery these little girls get caught up in and why it eventually becomes bigger than they are. When you love and admire someone, the sudden void their absence brings is confusing.
However, the books lags. The first hunk of the story is setting you up, twisting your mind and making you second guess everyone--could she? Did he? But, the ending sort of falls flat. With a build up so, so big...the reader naturally wants more.
Overall, a three star read.
The angst of growing up and finding one's way is beautifully depicted.