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The Care and Handling of Roses with Thornsby Margaret Dilloway
Synopses & Reviews
Winner of the ALA Reading List Award
Difficult and obstinate. Thriving under a set of specific and limited conditions. That pretty much describes me. Maybe thats why I like these roses so much.
Roses are Galilee Garners passion. An amateur breeder, she painstakingly cross-pollinates her plants to coax out new, better traits, striving to create a perfect strain of her favorite flower, the Hulthemia. Her dream is to win a major rose competition and one day have her version of the bloom sold in the commercial market.
Gal carefully calibrates the rest of her time to manage the kidney failure shes had since childhood, going to dialysis every other night, and teaching high school biology, where she is known for her exacting standards. The routine leaves little room for relationships, and Gal prefers it that way. Her roses never disappoint her the way people have.
Then one afternoon, Riley, the teenaged daughter of Gals estranged sister, arrives unannounced to live with her, turning Gals orderly existence upside down. Suddenly forced to adjust to each others worlds, both will discover a resilience they never knew they had and a bond they never knew they needed.
"The title is apt to describe Galilee Garner, the prickly protagonist of Dilloway's second novel (after How to Be an American Housewife). 'Gal' has been on dialysis since she was diagnosed with kidney disease as a child and, by her own choosing, has distanced herself from others. She lives a solitary life in central California, her free time spent breeding competition roses and teaching high school biology at a private Catholic school. Her sole friend, Dara, whose frilly '50s style makes her look like a character from the musical Grease, teaches art at the same school, but Gal's self-centeredness creates a rift in their relationship. Gal's autonomy is challenged when her teenage niece Riley arrives unannounced when Riley's flighty mom, Gal's sister, goes to Hong Kong on business. Having Riley around slowly softens Gal, drawing her focus away from herself. There's no mystery that Dilloway's metaphor, the care needed to keep a rose thriving, is meant to evoke the needs of a child, a friendship, or someone suffering a chronic illness. Dilloway's tale is slow in reaching the sweet part of Gal's hardened heart, and this lack of empathy will push some readers away. Agent: Elaine Markson, Markson Thoma." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Thirty-six-year-old Gal Garner lives a regimented life. Her job teaching biology and her struggle with kidney disease keep her toggling between the high school, the hospital, and her home on a strict schedule.
Only at home, in her garden, does Gal come alive. It's here that she experiments with Hulthemia roses, painstakingly cross-pollinating various specimens in the hopes of creating a brand-new variation of spectacular beauty. But even her passion has a highly structured goal: Gal wants to win Queen of Show in a major competition and bring that rose to market.
Then one afternoon Gal's teenaged niece Riley, the daughter of her estranged sister, arrives. Unannounced. Neither one of them will ever be the same.
Filled with gorgeous details of the art of rose breeding, The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns is a testament to the redemptive power of love.
About the Author
Margaret Dilloway was inspired by her Japanese mother's experiences when she wrote this novel, and especially by a book her father had given to her mother called The American Way of Housekeeping. Dilloway lives in Hawaii with her husband and their three young children. Her blog, American Housewife, can be found on her website, www.margaretdilloway.com.
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