Friday, March 30, 2012

Sonoma Rose

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Author: Jennifer Chiaverini
ISBN: 978-0525952640
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Source: TLC Book Tours
Rating: Recommended

About the Book:

As the nation grapples with the strictures of Prohibition, Rosa Barclay lives on a Southern California rye farm with her volatile husband, John, who has lately found another source of income far outside the federal purview.

Mother to eight children, Rosa mourns the loss of four who succumbed to the mysterious wasting disease that is now afflicting young Ana and Miguel. Two daughters born of another father are in perfect health. When an act of violence shatters Rosa’s resolve to maintain her increasingly dangerous existence, she flees with the children and her precious heirloom quilts to the mesa where she last saw her beloved mother alive.

As a flash flood traps them in a treacherous canyon, only one man is brave—or foolhardy—enough to come to their rescue: Lars Jorgenson, Rosa’s first love and the father of her healthy daughters. Together they escape to Berkeley, where a leading specialist offers their only hope of saving Ana and Miguel. Here in northern California, they create new identities to protect themselves from Rosa’s vengeful husband, the police who seek her for questioning, and the gangsters Lars reported to Prohibition agents—officers representing a department often as corrupt as the Mob itself. Ever mindful that his youthful alcoholism provoked Rosa to spurn him, Lars nevertheless supports Rosa’s daring plan to stake their futures on a struggling Sonoma Valley vineyard—despite the recent hardships of local winemakers whose honest labors at viticulture have, through no fault of their own, become illegal.

My Thoughts:

Setting aside the obviously beautiful cover, which makes me want to travel to wine country, this book had a lot going on for one woman’s life.  Rosa is in a marriage that is unstable and unsafe.  Her husband is erratic and unpredictable.  A victim of domestic violence, Rosa is forced to flee her home with her four children, two which are healthy and two who are sick with a degenerative  or wasting disease that has already claimed the life her 4 other children.  When Rosa is rescued from a dangerous flash flood by her first love and father of her two healthy children, she finds herself starting over in wine valley.  Unfortunately this time period is during the prohibition which causes a whole new host of issues for Rosa and her family. 
There were interesting parts of this book that captured me.  I have a low interest in wine and therefore didn’t know much about the prohibition era or hardships wine makers went through. The history in this book was interesting and for the most part, held my attention.  I found it hard to write a synopsis due to the large amount of information I was processing with this book.  I also didn’t connect with any of the characters or their situations aside from Rosa’s resolve to protect and heal her children.
Sonoma Rose addresses some pretty difficult issues, which the author does well.  Through the domestic violence loss of children, degenerative disease, fear and hardships of the era, the author portrays a strong character who gives life her all, even when it fights back.
While I enjoyed parts of this book, I also felt lost and over stimulated at times.  My head didn’t stay in it.  I think many people will enjoy this book, but it’s definitely not for everyone.  If I have peaked your interest, have at it.  I do recommend it to those who may enjoy this type of read.
You’ll like it if:
·         You like wine

·         You like history/era’s

·         You like challenging topics

·         You like novels with lots of drama

·         You want to read something different and unique
You might not like it if:
·         Domestic violence is a sensitive subject for you.

·         You’re not a fan of drama

·         You don’t have an interest in wine

·         You don’t enjoy fiction or history
About the Author:

JENNIFER CHIAVERINI is the author of the New York Times bestselling Elm Creek Quilt series, as well as five collections of quilt projects inspired by the novels. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, she lives with her husband and sons in Madison, Wisconsin.
Connect with Jennifer at her website, Elm Creek Quilts Online.

Recommended with Caveats


  1. I recently read one of the Elm Creek series by this author and couldn't get into it. There were too many characters and I didn't really "feel" for any of them. This sounds like a good story, but I would definitely be put off by domestic violence so thanks for the heads up.

  2. I was on this tour too. I really enjoyed the book. It had a historical soap opera-ish feel to it for me. I have one or two other books from the series now on my TBR pile

  3. I'm sorry this one wasn't quite a perfect fit for you, but thanks for being on the tour.

    - Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours


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