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Rose's Garden
Cover of Rose's Garden
Rose's Garden
A Novel
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A visit from an angel changes the life of a grieving widower in this "deeply touching love story" by the award-winning author of The Last First Day (Booklist).

In the four months since Conrad Morrissey's beloved wife, Rose, died, he has let her cherished garden slide into neglect, just as he has stopped caring what he eats or wears. But there, in Rose's overgrown and unkempt garden, Conrad receives an unearthly visitor, familiar yet perplexing. It appears to be an angel—though it's the last person he ever expected to see wearing wings. What does this mean? What should he do? What would vivacious Rose have done?

She would not have kept it a secret, Conrad decides, so he begins to share his story. And suddenly he finds himself learning how Rose touched the lives of people he barely knew. These people, from a silent, damaged young woman to the chattering ladies of Rose's drama group, shape his own days as they make unlikely pilgrimages to the garden. Conrad thought his life was over, but now—as a disaster threatens the tiny New Hampshire town where all of them live—there is hope in Rose's last message of love.

"A magical first novel . . . both luminous and wise." —The New York Times Book Review

"Brown's writing . . . conveys intense events and emotions with a deceivingly gentle touch." —USA Today

"Simply the most romantic love story you will read this year. Don't miss it." —Albuquerque Journal

A visit from an angel changes the life of a grieving widower in this "deeply touching love story" by the award-winning author of The Last First Day (Booklist).

In the four months since Conrad Morrissey's beloved wife, Rose, died, he has let her cherished garden slide into neglect, just as he has stopped caring what he eats or wears. But there, in Rose's overgrown and unkempt garden, Conrad receives an unearthly visitor, familiar yet perplexing. It appears to be an angel—though it's the last person he ever expected to see wearing wings. What does this mean? What should he do? What would vivacious Rose have done?

She would not have kept it a secret, Conrad decides, so he begins to share his story. And suddenly he finds himself learning how Rose touched the lives of people he barely knew. These people, from a silent, damaged young woman to the chattering ladies of Rose's drama group, shape his own days as they make unlikely pilgrimages to the garden. Conrad thought his life was over, but now—as a disaster threatens the tiny New Hampshire town where all of them live—there is hope in Rose's last message of love.

"A magical first novel . . . both luminous and wise." —The New York Times Book Review

"Brown's writing . . . conveys intense events and emotions with a deceivingly gentle touch." —USA Today

"Simply the most romantic love story you will read this year. Don't miss it." —Albuquerque Journal

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About the Author-
  • Carrie Brown, a former journalist, lives in Sweet Briar, Virginia, with her husband, the novelist John Gregory Brown, and their three children. Her first novel, Rose's Garden, won the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award. Her most recent book, The Hatbox Baby, won the 2001 Great Lakes Booksellers Association award for fiction and the 2001 Library of Virginia Literary Award.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 29, 1997
    When Conrad Morrissey's wife, Rose, dies after 50 years of marriage, it takes an angelic visit to save him from his grief. That is the familiar premise of Brown's sweet, gentle first novel, set in the small town of Laurel, N.H. Once the ghost of his dead father-in-law prompts Conrad to concern himself with the living instead of the dead, he discovers that Rose's mysterious friend Hero, a slightly retarded girl with whom she shared a love of gardening, has also been receiving instruction from the dead. "And what had it been to Hero? He could not guess, except to believe that her world had always been filled with voices, the spokesmen of recrimination and doubt." As rain threatens to obliterate Laurel's ancient dam, and the town itself, Conrad finds new meaning in the memory of his wife and in devotion to the White Mountains community where they both spent the best years of their lives. A town full of sympathetic characters, including the widowed neighbor who can only sleep when every light in the house is on, and the beleaguered editor of the local paper, round out this sensitive debut.

  • Library Journal

    February 1, 1998
    This quiet first novel, set in a tiny New Hampshire village in the White Mountains, concerns a small town's varied reactions to the grief of a newly widowed man. Conrad Morrisey lives for his wife, Rose, and his homing pigeons. When Rose dies after a prolonged illness, Conrad retreats into a shell of memory and reflection. Through these myriad reflections, the reader comes to know and like Rose and to understand why her husband loved her so dearly. During one of the novel's many significant thunderstorms, Conrad spies an angel in Rose's vegetable garden and is immediately shaken loose from his emotional inertia. He feels compelled to share the experience with anyone who will listen, and this changes his relationship with the world forever in ways he never imagined. Firmly grounded by a strong sense of place, three-dimensional characters, and poetic writing, Rose's Garden is a joy to visit. Beautiful, bittersweet, and always moving, it is highly recommended.--Bettie Alston Shea, Charlotte-Mecklenburg P.L., Charlotte, N.C.

  • Booklist

    February 15, 1998
    A visit from an angel changes the life of a grieving widower in this moving first novel. Four months after the death of Rose, his wife of more than 50 years, Conrad Morrisey is drifting, neglecting himself and the garden his wife nurtured so lovingly--everything, in fact, except the homing pigeons he has raised since he was a boy. Yet somehow the garden flourishes, and baskets of delicious food--remarkably like what Rose used to cook for him--appear on his doorstep. Then an angel--his late father-in-law, Lemuel, who was his dear friend and mentor--appears in the garden, assuring Conrad of Rose's love and leading him to open his life to the people of his small town, particularly a strangely reclusive young woman whom Rose had befriended. Once eager to accompany Lemuel to heaven, Conrad learns there is more for him to do on earth. This is a finely crafted, deeply touching love story, gentle as a soft breeze on one's cheek and just as welcome. ((Reviewed February 15, 1998))(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 1998, American Library Association.)

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A Novel
Carrie Brown
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