Searching for Rose

Dana Becker. Zebra, $7.99 mass market (368p) ISBN 978-1-4201-5188-6
Writing as Becker, Avi Steinberg—a journalist whose works include The Happily Ever After, a memoir partially about writing this novel—delivers an underwhelming, paint-by-numbers romance debut. April has been searching her home city of Philadelphia for her sister, Rose, ever since Rose disappeared two weeks ago. April’s haphazard investigation leads her to Reading Terminal Market where she finds unexpected allies in Carmen, a bakery owner who offers her a job, and Joseph Young, an Amish man working at the diner next door (and one of the only major characters given a last name). April and Joseph grow close as April’s investigation puts her on the trail of Rose’s criminal ex-boyfriend and takes her into the heart of Pennsylvania’s Amish Country. The chemistry between April and Joseph has to withstand numerous obstacles, including April’s troubled past, Joseph’s Amish faith, and the mounting danger of the search for Rose. The narrative is heavy on exposition but light on genuine feeling; Becker fast-forwards through the relationship development and key emotional scenes, making the love story between April and Joseph unsatisfying and unbelievable. Though the combination of Amish romance and suspense feels fresh, the central mystery relies heavily on contrivance and Amish culture is presented as little more than set dressing. While a valiant first effort, this lacks heart and comes across as an academic reconstruction of a stock romance. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/05/2020
Release date: 08/25/2020
Genre: Romance/Erotica
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