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The Rose Variations

by Marisha Chamberlain

      Marisha Chamberlain has created a splendid character who is complex and compelling in Rose MacGregor. It's 1975, and twenty-five year old Rose has accepted a temporary professorship in a small Midwestern college. She's talented, ambitious and lonely. Writing music is foremost in her plans and hopes for the future.

Rose has romantic interludes with a fellow teacher who turns out to be homosexual, an unemployed stonemason, a lesbian musician, and a piano tuner, but both love and friendship are elusive and perplexing with many emotional challenges. When Rose's sister arrives to add her problems to the mix, the story becomes even more complicated as the characters react with each other.

Chamberlain has created a rich, engrossing novel with a multitude of quirky characters with both funny and serious interludes that steep you in an emotional involvement which is rare in a contemporary novel. It is unique and unforgettable.

It isn't the kind of novel that absorbs you to the "can't-put-it-down" point, but I found myself continually drawn back to the elegant prose of The Rose Variations. I will certainly be watching for future books by this author with great anticipation.

The Book

Soho Press
February 1, 2009
Hardcover (Reviewed from the Advance Reader's Copy)
1569475385 / 978-1569475386
Fiction / General / Literary
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The Reviewer

Beverly J. Rowe
Reviewed 2009
© 2009