Reviews

BOOK REVIEW ~ THORNS OF ROSEWOOD BY G.M. BARLEAN

Gloria Larsen knows only three things about her birth mother: she was over forty, she lived in Rosewood, Nebraska, and she was accused of murder in 1974.
When Gloria is offered a job as newspaper editor in the small town, she jumps at the opportunity to discover the identity of her birth mother. Digging into the past, she finds a story of the disappearance of a judge’s wife and four friends accused of murder. Gloria tracks the now-elderly women to an assisted-living facility. This is Gloria’s chance to write the story of a lifetime and finally know her heritage. Even if she can’t learn the truth of her origins, she must find out what really happened to Naomi Waterman Talbot.

Every once in a while I do like to mix things up a bit and take a break from romance, and this mystery read piqued my interest with the very first line – Gloria Larsen knows only three things about her birth mother: she was over forty, she lived in Rosewood, Nebraska, and she was accused of murder in 1974. And since I can never pass up a good mystery, I had to read this one.
Overall, I liked this book…and I didn’t. Basically the female lead Gloria is an editor looking for solid material to write a smashing blockbuster and when she hears about four women – dubbed the ‘Thorns of Rosewood’ – who were accused of murdering a judge’s wife but then let go, she’s determined to get the full story. She does have an ulterior motive too – her foster parents also reveal to her that one of those women was her mother.
I didn’t really like or dislike Gloria. Her character alone wasn’t what kept my eyes glued to the pages – I just wanted to know the whole story and relationship dynamic between the four women and the judge’s wife. In regards to that mystery, I was let down, but not because it wasn’t gripping. If anything, the need to find out what happened drove me to flip the pages, but I really had to suspend disbelief in order to somewhat enjoy the story. I especially found it hard to believe that these women who were in their forties were more naïve than I am in my 20s (or maybe I’m too cynical of everything LOL).
It’s hard to explain, but there was a childish feel to this book. Things happened too conveniently (like the four women were just willing to talk to Gloria about the ordeal) and the mystery was like the old ladies version of Pretty Little Liars (4 best friends + that 1 girl who’s a control freak and has to have everything).
However, I chose to give this one 3 stars as it did have my attention and made me flip the pages fast. It wasn’t a book that made a lasting impression on me, but it was a quick, entertaining cozy mystery read.
“…you know what sweetheart? We do have a helluva story. So buckle up. This story may get a little bit weird. But it’s a good one. I promise you that. And when it’s all said and done, you may learn a little something more than you even realized you came for.”