50 in 2013: Book Three

The Care and Handling of Roses with ThornsThe Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A literary and metaphoric exploration of roses. Outwardly delicate, the intricate petals of a rose vary by breed, genetics, and their ability to adapt to various climates. One must first brave a rose’s thorny armor in order to truly see its overall beauty. The same could be said about Galilee Garner.

Having suffered from medical challenges her entire life, and having spent the last eight years undergoing dialysis treatments every other day, Gal no longer has time or energy in her life to mince words. She has fought her entire life, survived torturous medical procedures, surely her students can step up and survive her science exams.

Her sister, on the other hand, was born healthy. Gal was often jealous of her sister’s normalcy. When her sister leaves for a long-term job overseas, Gal finds herself watching after her niece. A shock to her very regimented, quiet existence. Her life revolving around her teaching, her dialysis, and her roses.

Priding herself on her ability to breed roses versus merely raising roses others have perfected, Gal spends much of her life caring for her seedlings and very little time nurturing relationships with others. It isn’t until others start to de-thorn her callous exterior that she begins to truly bloom and see that there is life outside her greenhouse walls. Her niece, Riley, a burden at first, and a true obstinate teenager slowly lets down her own guard to see that her Aunt is more than harsh words and roses. Together, this unlikely pair make discoveries that ultimately change both their lives.


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