cover image The Rose Master

The Rose Master

Valentina Cano. Reuts (, $12.99 paper (194p) ISBN 978-0-9896499-7-1

In this Gothic fantasy, first-time author Cano evokes both Beauty and the Beast and Jane Eyre while creating something new and strange. Seventeen-year-old Anne Tinning, who has spent much of her life working as a servant for a London household, is sent to serve as a maid for the distant Rosewood Manor. There, she discovers a house drastically understaffed, a grim and oppressive place filled with mystery and ominous events. Worse still is its lord, August Grey, a reclusive young man, mercurial and unpredictable. As Anne tries to settle in, she learns that a dark force haunts Rosewood Manor; only by working with Lord Grey to master her own magical abilities can Anne banish the evil spirit and uncover the secrets of her new employer and home. Cano does a fine job of setting mood and atmosphere, and her characters dance around one another with relentless industry and brooding allure, fighting their inevitable attraction. The conclusion is abrupt, and a major reveal near the end isn’t adequately set up, but otherwise this is a strong, satisfying effort. Ages 12–up. (BookLife)