cover image A Good Year for the Roses

A Good Year for the Roses

Gil McNeil. Hyperion, $15 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-4013-4191-6

Brit McNeil (The Beach Street Knitting Society) charms in this appealing yarn about a divorcée and how her life changes in an instant. After her husband leaves her for another woman, Londoner Molly is left with three young sons and must find a new home and a means of support. The question of home is settled early on, when Molly’s beloved Aunt Helena dies—unexpectedly leaving her Harrington Hall, an imposing manor house in Devon, near where Molly grew up. The home comes complete with a lovingly dotty old uncle who enjoys blasting a cliff-top cannon, a foul-mouthed parrot, a partially functioning bed and breakfast—and her aunt’s prize rose garden. Molly’s father and brother—hoteliers in the area— are apoplectic that the property has been left solely to Molly and do their best to finagle it away. How Molly outwits them, deals with a new home in need of endless repairs, and moves toward her own version of happily-ever-after makes for delightful reading, as does the fascinating rose trivia offered at the beginning of each chapter. In addition to portraying first-rate characters, the author weaves in a captivating string of secondary characters—particularly Molly’s over-the-top best friend Lola and her tart cook, Ivy—who add colorful appeal. McNeil’s lovely prose and plotting make this offering a universal tale for starting over, and a natural choice for summer beach reading. [em](July) [/em]