Rose Petal Soup by Sarah Harrison
|Rose Petal Soup by Sarah Harrison
|Category: Women's Fiction
|Reviewer: Jo Heffer
|Summary: Joss and Nico Carbury are very pleased when their daughter Elizabeth invites herseld for lunch but totally unprepared for what she is going to tell them. They are even less preapared for the turmoil that follows and particularly the strain it places on their marriage.
|Date: December 2008
|Publisher: Severn House Paperbacks
Rose Petal Soup tells the story of Joss and Nico Carbury, a long standing married couple in their sixties. Their marriage appears to be rock solid but even the strongest of relationships can be sorely tested when unexpected things happen. In this case, it is the sudden and unexpected marriage of their daughter Elizabeth to Edward, a man they have never met and who is, in fact, older than they are. From the very start, Joss and Nico react in very different ways particularly when Edward's children are introduced into the family.
What follows is a powerful and absorbing tale of conflicting emotions and much soul searching particularly for Joss. The story is told through her, so the reader is invited to share much of her anguish particularly when she feels the need to question her own marriage and the relationship with her daughter. She is also dealing with the relentless round of engagements which befall her in her position as mayor, and when her closest friend is diagnosed with a serious illness, unsurprisingly she feels there is not enough of her to go round.
This is a gently paced story about a woman who has reached a turning point in her life. A lot seems to happen over the course of a year and the woman we meet at the start of the book changes a great deal throughout the story. Joss is a very likeable character although I have to admit that I did not particularly identify with her, probably as she is quite a bit older than me. Having said that though, I found her fascinating and enjoyed reading about her life. I particularly liked the way her personal life was intertwined with the demands of public office. At times it was like reading about two entirely different women but that's what it must be like in reality too.
Because Joss is telling the story, all of the other characters are seen through her eyes. Particularly interesting is her husband Nico, a local theatre manager, who always seems to feel that he has to play a part. It seems that only Joss knows the real man, and at times you can sense her exasperation with him. It is generally with a fond sadness that she talks about her daughter Elizabeth and the sense of loss she feels because they do not have a good relationship. There's also Rob, Elizabeth's stepson who stirs feelings in Joss that she never expected. These, along with a few others, contribute to an intriguing mix of characters all of whom serve to reveal different sides to Joss.
The story starts in the present with Joss reflecting on all that has happened. I liked the way that certain things were hinted at early on which meant that as I was reading I was trying to predict what might happen. This really helped to keep my interest throughout. It is generally a well written story although just on a couple of occasions I felt it skirted over important bits of information and I had to re-read just to check that I hadn't missed anything. There are moments of humour, particularly through the descriptions of functions she has to attend, but more often this is a poignant and emotional read which will keep you wondering to the very last page how things will turn out for Joss and Nico.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
If this sounds like your sort of book, you may well enjoy The Idea of Love by Louise Dean.
You can read more book reviews or buy Rose Petal Soup by Sarah Harrison at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Rose Petal Soup by Sarah Harrison at Amazon.com.
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