Title: Black Rose – Book Two of the “In the Garden” Trilogy
Author: Nora Roberts
Publisher: Jove Books
Length: 355 pages
Black Rose continues the story of Stella Rothchild, Hayley Phillips and Roz Harper, the three women who live at Harper House and work at Roz’s In the Garden nursery. The focus of this second book in the trilogy is Roz, a steel magnolia in her late forties, and her blossoming romance with Dr. Mitchell Carnegie. Mitch is the genealogist that Roz hired at the end of the first book to help identify her family’s ghost, the Harper Bride. At the end of the first book the ghost had a name—Amelia—yet by the end of Black Rose , they are no closer to identifying her relationship to the Harper family. In other words, wait until book three for the final resolution.
Just as with Stella and Logan in book one, Blue Dahlia , Amelia resents Roz and Mitch’s relationship. As Roz and Mitch’s feelings ramp up so does Amelia’s anger. And besides dealing with an unstable ghost, Roz has to contend with her loathsome ex-husband, Bryce and his petty games. Then there is the added venom of her cousin, Clarise, who certainly knows more about the Harper Bride than she’s willing to admit.
This second installment brings back the same appealing characters, although the romance between Mitch and Roz doesn’t have the same playful sparks that Stella and Logan’s did. We know from the onset that the muddled, disorganized, but basically brilliant Mitch will get together with Roz once they—or for the most part, she—slays the double dragons of Bryce and Clarise. It is refreshing to see Robert’s mature heroine handle her own problems with her man along only for moral support and to pour her a cool drink when she returns from battle.
Some readers might find all the references to gardening off putting. But they are there if, like Roberts, you enjoy that sort of thing. If not, these sections can be skimmed without missing any of the story.
Like the first, I’d share this book with a friend, but I would have liked more passion and less predictability between Roz and Mitch.