In The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns, author Margaret Dilloway does a wonderful job weaving in the main character, Gal's, passion for roses. Gal isn't one of those people who has a few rose bushes in her back yard, she is actually a rose breeder - working to invent a new Hulthemia rose through careful cultivation and cross-pollination.
Lest you think this book is all roses and gardening, let me assure you there is also a very human story in between the petals. Gal is a high school biology teacher; the kind with very strict standards and little mercy on her students. She is also a dialysis patient, waiting and hoping for a kidney transplant. Gal's world is changed (or to quote the Fresh Prince, "flip-turned upside down") when her irresponsible sister leaves the country, and Gal is tasked with caring for her teen niece, Riley.
I enjoyed this book. My previous knowledge of roses was confined to noting how expensive a dozen long-stemmed red roses are on Valentine's Day, but now I have a much better idea what goes into creating a new breed of roses (a LOT of work). It was very interesting, without being too technical or taking over the story.
More than that, I found Gal to be an interesting character, although certainly flawed. I enjoyed watching her grow throughout the story, and especially liked the relationship she was able to build with her niece, and the unexpected love she finally allowed into her world.
Do you garden? If so, do you have roses?
You can join in the conversation, and find out more about The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns at BlogHer.
*Legal Stuff: This was a paid review for the BlogHer Book Club, and I was provided a copy of the book to read, by BlogHer and Putnam Books. The opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required to say nice things.