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I was pleased to take part in the Five Roses Blog Tour with Dundurn Press this week! The advanced reading copy came with a very lovely postcard describing, “Five Roses is a novel about overcoming the emotional fallout of a shattering loss. Fara, Maddy and Rose’s lives intersect in Pointe St-Charles, Montreal, where a backdrop of gentrification mirrors the traumas that haunt these women, as well as their search for new bonds in place of their families who were destroyed.”

Intriguing right? And then when you open there is a letter to the reader by author, Alice Zorn, with this fascinating tidbit: “Five Roses is named after the FARINE FIVE ROSES sign, which looms at the edge of the Pointe and has marked the southern skyline of Montreal since 1948. Each letter of the sign is five metres high and outlined in red lights. In 2006 the new owners of the flour mill turned off the lights. Montrealers successfully reversed the decision by protesting that the sign was an iconic landmark. So, for the moment, it remains lit.”

Do you remember FARINE FIVE ROSES flour?? I do, and thought that was so interesting to read about! So I really couldn’t wait to dive in and enjoy this book and I ended up reading it a number of weeks before the blog tour posting date. I must say, that having this distance from the time I finished reading to now writing about it, has made me appreciate this story much more. I now have the better understanding how it was the Pointe that is the strongest connecting factor for these three distinct stories shared by Fara, Maddy and Rose.

The distinction between, or the very loose connections between the characters was something I originally didn’t anticipate or expect when reading. Upon finishing I was left with a twinge of dissatisfaction for their lack of connection. For sure, I felt the two characters of Rose and Maddy shared a strong connection or relation, but this never arrives at the more explosive encounter, or revelation, I was anticipating happening between the two. It is not until the very end do the two engage, but it remains very blasé and not as explored as I thought it would be done.

But with time, I can appreciate that each of these three women’s stories are very different and disconnected and it is the Pointe that is their shared experience. So, having this distance has made me realize this – that the main character perhaps is actually the Pointe-St. Charles. It is the spaces they live in, and the attraction to the Five Roses sign they share and that this is their connection to one another.

I would be remiss in sharing that after the first reading, and while enjoying the stories of Fara, Maddy and Rose, is was this lack of connection to each other, and only to the Pointe, that initially was strange reading for me. But now, given the time away from it, I find I am constantly thinking about it and thinking of the three women in it.

Five Roses was a very good read for me, and it was Fara’s story that I perhaps enjoyed reading the most.  Although, all of their stories are indeed excellent, but I think I was drawn most to Fara and the tragic history she experienced with her sister. This tragedy, and the connection to the home her and her husband purchased in the Pointe made for very compelling reading. For Maddy and Rose’s, I’m afraid I still have unresolved feelings of regret owing to how their shared relationship played out in such an insignificant way at the end.

Thank you so very much to Dundurn Press for sending me a copy of Five Roses so I could participate in this blog tour! Much appreciated!

Literary Hoarders Penny