Thursday, March 1, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Sonoma Rose


Sonoma Rose by Jennifer Chiaverini
An Elm Creek Quilts Novel
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 405 (paperback)
Source: TLC Book Tours
Author
Buy it: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depo

Description:
As the nation grapples with the strictures of Prohibition, Rosa Diaz 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 currently 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.

My Rating:
My Review:
Rosa Barclay has faced heartache after heartache.  She loses her childhood love because a family feud that she wants no part of and is forced into a loveless marriage.  The marriage soon falls apart when her husband results to violence and later discovers her betrayal.  Rosa is forced to flee the only home she knows to save herself and her four remaining children.  Not only does she continue to look over her shoulder for the abusive husband who is sure to come after here, but she must hurry to find a cure for the disease that has taken the life of four of her children and left two children very ill. She eventually ends up in wine valley where winemakers are struggling to hold on to their livelihood and land during the Prohibition era.  Here she hopes to make a home in peace.

I enjoyed reading about the prohibition era, a topic I've read little about.  I had previously given little thought to the difficulties for wine makers during this period and it was quite interesting.  Unfortunately, this book was just meh for me because I didn't connect with any of the characters especially Rosa.  I felt she never took responsibility for her decisions and I felt I was reading about a character who rationalized her actions instead of taking control of her life.   I felt it was silly for her to keep her love from her family for so long instead of making a decision and dealing with the consequences.  I also thought it seemed imprudent to blame her teenage love, Lars, for end of their relationship.  I found her actions contributed just as much as his.  While she always stood up to him, she never found the gumption to stand up to her family or her husband.  My heart went out to her because of the domestic violence that she had to endure, but it wasn't enough to garner enough empathy for me.   I'm not quite sure where the Elm Creek Quilts part came in.  This might be the background for another novel or something like that.

Overall, it wasn't for me, but I think many other readers had better experiences with this read.  I'd recommend checking out a few other reviews.


And now for the giveaway!  I have one copy of Sonoma Rose to give to one lucky US/Canada winner.  Please fill out the rafflecopter below to enter.  The winner will have 48 hours to claim his/her prize after notification.

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18 comments:

  1. Only a meh from you? Well then it is a meh from me too

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  2. I have read a few of Jennifer's books in the Elm Creek Series. I loved a few of them liked others and was disappointed in just one. I would love to read this one too! Thanks for letting me know about this one.

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    1. Oh well then you can maybe connect the quilt thing for me. What does it mean? Where does it come in?

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  3. I'm going to place it on my 'maybe i read' list. nice review.

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  4. I like the era. I haven't read many books set during the Prohibition, either. But I'm not sure if this one is for me either, especially the way you described the characterization. Honest and great review!

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    1. Thanks! The prohibition stuff was so interesting. It's like a light bulb went off in my head.

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  5. Thank you for this awesome giveaway.
    :) Jeanne

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  6. Haven't read this type of book before. I'm wary though since you didn't connect with any of the characters. It might be worth giving a shot sometime in the future though. And thanks for the giveaway!

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    1. I think people who like historical fiction might like it a bit more because it is interesting.

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  7. I'm sorry this one wasn't exactly your cup of tea, but thanks for being on the tour.

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  8. My grandmother and her sisters were quilters. In the book Runaway Quilt you will find out the history of runaway slaves and the quilts being used as signals for safe houses and where to go. It an interesting read. I loved that one.

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    1. Oh I'll have to check that one out. It sounds interesting.

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  9. It's too bad you didn't enjoy this one. While I didn't love it, I did really enjoy it.

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    1. I definitely enjoyed parts of it. I just couldn't get past others.

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