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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Rose is a harrowing work of realistic fiction based on true events, written by author Tom Kelly. Studying the impact of a single unplanned event on an entire family, the work centers on titular character Rose during the 1920s. Coming from a strict Irish Catholic family, Rose’s future changes forever when she falls pregnant, and at first it seems there is no hope for her to ever get her life back on track and escape the stigma of an unwed mother at the time. But when the church itself offers a truly radical solution, Rose and her parents feel the weight of secrets and lies upon them to make it happen.
It is clear from the raw emotional quality of the plot that the events of the tale come from somewhere deep and real, especially when we are introduced to Rose as a bright young thing with a great life ahead of her. A baby ought not to be a tragedy, and that injustice is richly felt throughout the work as author Tom Kelly shows us life from every painful angle during a difficult and judgmental period of human history. His characters are superbly realistic and well drawn, with authentic narration from the Irish Catholic perspective and dialogue that characterizes as well as deepens the connection to religion, heritage, and location. Overall, Rose is a powerful journey with much to learn about society at the time in history, but also a thought-provoking piece on whether attitudes, particularly in religious settings, have really changed that much as time has passed.