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by Nevada Barr
Minotaur, September 2019
298 pages
ISBN: 1250207134

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

I would absolutely love to meet Rose Dennis, Nevada Barr's heroine in WHAT ROSE FORGOT. Such is the strength of Barr's characterization that Rose feels so real she could be living next door. Of course, I'd prefer that the events of the plot not be taking place so close!

Rose is a 68-year-old woman who has escaped from a memory care facility in the memorable start to the book. She had contracted the flu which, along with the time away from the facility, had begun to flush the drugs she had been taking from her system. It was enough for her to become conscious of her placement in the facility and to realize she needs a more permanent departure after she is returned to it. She has a great sense of humor in spite of a variety of attempts on her life, and Barr writes surprisingly lighthearted dialog for herůsurprising given her predicament. Rose's active yoga practice has kept her body supple, a key element in her survival, and the creative mind that has made her a highly successful artist provides her with unpredictable plans and behavior.

As Rose attempts to discover what is happening to the wealthy residents of Longwood who have been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's, she is aided by an agoraphobic sister and an intrepid pre-teen granddaughter. About midway through the book, Rose has discovered enough about the conspiracy she has found herself in the center of that she is able to turn the tables and go on the offensive. This very welcome change in the trajectory of the plot is rewarding to both the reader and to Rose.

Barr does her usual magic in bringing the characters to life that we've grown accustomed to in the Anna Pigeon series, while she provides us with a fast-paced plot that includes several intense action-packed scenes. When the resolution comes, it comes quickly. Ends for each of the characters are wrapped up in an epilogue. Since even the minor characters have been so well portrayed, Barr plays fair by letting us know how both villains and heroes fare.

The book is an unusual mix of light-hearted repartee and darkly intense scenes. It is a standalone, which is sad for this reader, who would love to meet Rose again.

ž Sharon Mensing, retired educational leader, lives, reads, and enjoys the outdoors in rural Wyoming.

Reviewed by Sharon Mensing, May 2019

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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