“Her Name Is Rose” by Christine Breen
Blurb: Christine Breen’s debut novel, HER NAME IS ROSE (St Martin’s Press; April 14, 2015; $25.99) is an irresistible and moving tale that explores the depth of a mother’s love for her adopted daughter and the unique journey she feels she must take in order to bridge the past and the future.
When Irish gardener Iris Bowen could not conceive a child, she turned to an Irish adoption agency. There she found a young American exchange student who wanted the best for her infant daughter, but had one request: that the child be named Rose. Now, Rose has grown and is stepping out on her own at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Although a gifted violinist, she questions her talent as she struggles to meet the impossible demands of her brilliant but harsh teacher. Meanwhile, Iris has yet to fulfill her late husband’s last request that she find Rose’s birth mother, so that if anything happened to Iris, Rose would not be left alone in the world. However, when Iris receives some worrisome results on a breast scan, her husband’s words become hauntingly urgent. Without telling her daughter, she embarks on a voyage to find Rose’s birth mother.
Since searches for a birth mother are usually initiated by the adopted child, Iris finds herself in a unique situation. With no records available to her and only a twenty-year-old envelope with a faded address to guide her, Iris begins a journey into the past that takes her to Boston and back to the west of Ireland, with surprising results for herself and for Rose and the others whom their lives touch. Iris discovers just how connected the world can be and how the world can feel much smaller thanks to love and music.
Written in lyrical prose that brings the music within its pages to life, HER NAME IS ROSE is a gorgeous and intimate debut novel about the bond between a mother and daughter, and what happens when life does not play out the way you expect.
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About author, Christine Breen: Christine was born in New York and educated in Boston and Dublin, where she received an MA in Irish Literature. She is an artist, homeopath, and garden designer whose columns on travel, gardening and health have appeared in newspapers and magazines in Ireland and America. She currently lives in Kiltumper, Ireland with her husband, the novelist Niall Williams, in the cottage where her grandfather was born. HER NAME IS ROSE is her first novel.