Wednesday, August 10, 2011

In Search of the Rose Notes - Emily Arsenault

A man is about to get on a routine flight.
Suddenly, he pauses. He doesn't know why - but he's got to walk away.
An hour later the plane goes down in flames.
It's dismissed as chance...
----Time-Life books commercial, circa 1967"

Readers of a certain age are going to remember these books - I did.

Nora and Charlotte are eleven year old best friends in 1990. One summer they come across a 15 volume set of the Time Life books in Charlotte's house. They spend the summer with their 16 year old babysitter Rose reading the books.

"But then Rose disappeared in November of our sixth grade year, making the books even more vital to us - no longer a source of entertainment but an investigative guide. By then we knew better than the neighbors who whispered 'runaway' and the police who let her trail go cold. We knew better than to stop at what people aren't willing  to talk about. The commercials had explained that there is much that is unknown but promised that the books would tell us at least "what could be known" And Charlotte and I took them at their word."

The girls utilize various books - Vision and Prophecies, Transformations, Psychic Voyages, Mystic Places and more in their attempts to solve the mystery of Rose. But to no avail.

Until sixteen years later when Rose's body is found - in town. Nora has left town and moved on with her life, but Charlotte lives in her childhood home. When Charlotte calls Nora with the news, Nora decides to return for a visit.

The past and the present are explored in alternating chapters - until they collide....

In Search of the Rose Notes is a mystery - indeed it kept my attention the entire time until I turned the last. Arsenault sprinkles lot of red herrings along the way. I loved the use of the Time Life books to try and solve the disappearance.

But this book  was also a fascinating character study. The two girls are poles apart. Charlotte was the 'have' and Nora the 'have not'. Charlotte was the outgoing, outspoken of the two - for me she was annoying beyond belief. Nora was more reticent and shy, but it was her I was drawn to - she's thoughtful and introspective. Returning to Waverly, Nora is forced to confront her past and the demons she has lived with since 'escaping' the town. The past and present format was very effective in reconciling both relationships and the case of Rose.

Emily Arsenault has crafted an intriguing blend of mystery and personal redemption. Read an excerpt of In Search of the Rose Notes. You can find Emily on Facebook as well.

See what other on the TLC book tour thought - schedule can be found here.


Dorte H said...

This one sounds like a wonderful mystery.

bermudaonion said...

I'd be curious to see how the Time Life books were used in the mystery.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! Thanks for being a part of the tour.