Author: Melanie Dobson
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: January 11, 2022
In this gripping WWII time-slip novel from the author whose books have been called “propulsive” and a “must-read” (Publishers Weekly), Grace Tonquin is an American Quaker who works tirelessly in Vichy France to rescue Jewish children from the Nazis. After crossing the treacherous Pyrénées, Grace returns home to Oregon with a brother and sister whose parents were lost during the war. Though Grace and her husband love Élias and Marguerite as their own, echoes of Grace’s past and trauma from the Holocaust tear the Tonquin family apart.
More than fifty years after they disappear, Addie Hoult arrives at Tonquin Lake, hoping to find the Tonquin family. For Addie, the mystery is a matter of life and death for her beloved mentor Charlie, who is battling a genetic disease. Though Charlie refuses to discuss his ties to the elusive Tonquins, finding them is the only way to save his life and mend the wounds from his broken past.
Reviewer: Mary Polyakov
The Winter Rose by Melanie Dobson takes readers to France in WWII and Tonquin Lake in the Pacific Northwest to experience the world alongside spirited characters in the past and present timelines.
This book was full of surprises, but the one that stood out to me the most was how the Tintin stories inspired one of the characters. Just today, at the library, I was asking someone whether they’d like to look through the Tintin books, and a girl popped into our row and eagerly asked where they were. Tintin has a cross-generational appeal, as that encounter beautifully shows. Still, until now, I had yet to see that intrepid reporter and his dog mentioned within a book. That deserves a standing ovation or something.
I loved how Grace’s determination, with her desire to save the children from the Nazis and her attempts to escape the negative influence of her mother, came through. It was a team effort for all of them, and she did her part the way only she could.
The part of the story that dealt with the parents and children and their suffering disrupted my reading experience. The individual in question (trying to avoid spoilers here) was allowed to do pretty much whatever he liked without being shown the right way or disciplined by his parents, so it wasn’t a surprise that he caused so much damage. But that aspect wasn’t addressed, and the parents were left very hurt and confused without identifying the deeper issues. It left that story on a discordant note as the author moved on to the next timeline, though I think I can decipher the author’s reasons.
Addie was probably my favorite character to follow with the modern timeline as she worked to protect the person who gave her a home and a future when she had none. Her motivations were real to me, and the ways she cared for others added much to her character.
The relationship between Addie and the LI didn’t measure up for me. I felt their exchanges were intended to be short and quote-worthy without giving the reader something to chew on. And without giving more profound insight into the characters and how they related to each other. I liked how the author fused the timelines and brought together the characters, but I would have liked to have had more depth there.
As a whole, the book shows the strength and fragility of familial bonds. It offers hope through the path of reconciliation. Recommended for those with a penchant for wartime historical fiction, split-time narratives, and lively characters.
I received a complimentary of this book from Tyndale House Publishers through NetGalley for review purposes. A positive review was not required.
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