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The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway

The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway

The bare, forlorn branches and thorny sticks of her rose bushes give Galilee Garner something to look forward to all winter in The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns: “Something to hang my daydreams on like the ornaments on a Christmas tree. In the spring, they will bloom again.”

Roses have long been used in metaphors for love in literature, and Margaret Dilloway continues the tradition in her charming novel. Dig right in with Gal Garner as she grows and breeds her difficult and obstinate Hulthemia roses, which thrive under a set of specific and limited conditions.  The roses she breeds pretty much describe Gal, who was born with kidney problems, has gone through two kidney transplants, and has been on dialysis for eight long years waiting for another donor. Learn about love, roses and thriving under difficult conditions as you read this sweet, beautifully-written story.

Thirty-six-year-old Gal teaches biology at a private school and has loving family and friends (Margaret Dilloway makes all her minor characters come to life!) who form a support network, but although Gal is funny and interesting, she is no saint. Her arty friend Dara, her fellow dialysis patient Mark, and the cute new chemistry teacher George all bump heads against her stubbornness. She definitely likes to get her own way and be Queen of the Show, like the rose she wants to cultivate.

As the recipient of most of her family’s attention due to her chronic illness, Gal has a strained relationship with her sister.  When that sister dumps her teenaged daughter on her unexpectedly, Gal’s life changes drastically.  With her niece Riley as thorny as she is and her job and health on the line, Gal learns she can bloom against formidable odds.