It's not uncommon for childhood friends, no matter how close they once were, to eventually grow up and grow apart. But for Nora and Charlotte, the sudden disappearance of their beloved babysitter Rose prevented them from ever cutting ties completely. Years later, Rose's body has been found, and Nora is en route to visit Charlotte in their hometown of Waverly, Connecticut, to try to put the pieces together once again. Being the last person to see Rose before her disappearance, Nora feels the weight of the tragedy and finds herself questioning every member of the community, even those she always believed she could trust. Khristine Hvam narrates Emily Arsenault's In Search of the Rose Notes, giving voice to a myriad of characters, all of whom could be suspected of killing Rose.
While Arsenault lays the groundwork for an investigative, gripping murder mystery set in an idyllic Connecticut suburb, Hvam gives a chameleon-like performance of multiple characters of varying ages and backgrounds. Arsenault's novel jumps back and forth through time from 1991, just before Rose's disappearance, to 2006, when Nora and Charlotte must confront the tragedy once again. Hvram's ability to translate the deep, soothing voice of adult Nora into a vibrant childlike tone of the 11-year-old Nora is particularly enjoyable. As they begin to unearth dark details surrounding the event, Hvam's tone becomes increasingly investigative, discerning, and severe. Her versatile characterizations elevate the novel in a positively alarming way.
In Search of the Rose Notes wraps you into its addictive "whodunit" narrative quickly and deliberately, with Hvam as a valuable guide. Arsenault's tightly wound crime novel is a triumph in its own right, but Hvam's delivery will make the experience all the more pulse-pounding. Suzanne Day
Eleven-year-olds Nora and Charlotte were best friends. When their teenage babysitter, Rose, disappeared under mysterious circumstances, the girls decided to investigate. But their search - aided by paranormal theories and techniques gleaned from old Time-Life books - went nowhere. Years later, Nora, now in her late 20s, is drawn back to her old neighborhood - and to her estranged friend - when Rose's remains are finally discovered.
Upset over their earlier failure to solve the possible murder, Charlotte is adamant that they join forces and try again. But Nora was the last known person to see Rose alive, and she's not ready to revisit her troubled adolescence and the events surrounding the disappearance - or face the disturbing secrets that are already beginning to re-emerge.
©2011 Emily Arsenault (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
“Dark and full of unexpected twists that will leave the reader guessing.... custom made for any mystery lover's keeper shelf.” (RT Book Reviews - Seal of Excellence)
I have never before heard a story that trivialized murder and brought it down to the level of a "chick flick". Holes in the plot, situations were contrived and followed by endless hours of children being baby-sat using childish patter while they made drawings and notations which were decidedly boring. When the author switched from adult to teenager, there seemed to be no difference in the tone or dialogue! In fact it was so boring that I put my head back on the pillow on the couch to keep listening and promptly fell asleep for over half an hour!! What more can I say?
The frequent jumps from present time to the past were substantially overdone. All the talk among the grade school friends, while initially cute and clever, became quite tedious. There are probably not that many mature people who are forever trapped in their school day memories and experiences and still suffering from high school angst.
What often makes a mystery interesting is the challenge of trying to solve it. In this case, crucial details are left until the very end. Yes, it was a surprise but very little of the story came close to hinting at the ending. The whole book could have been greatly abbreviated.
All the discussion among the childhood friends about strange phenomenon (aliens, magic, ghosts, etc.) may have been an attempt to add more mystery to the story about Rose but had little to do with her after all. The ending was quite anti-climatic
Slightly predictable from the half way mark
I listened to it in one day, so I guess I thought it was pretty good. A disappearance/death, childhood friends, and the subject of memory. The book has that particular easy American unselfconsciousness that I associate with something that borders "chick lit" --not meant as a slur. I like chick lit because of its easiness. Because it doesn't hurt me in any way, the way that incisive literary social commentary does.
by the end of this book all I could say was "seriously" story was a major let down.
really a very drawn out story which could have been half the length.Characters were not particularly credible or likeable.
In Search of the Rose Notes was well written but was a lot like an old fellow telling a story: it had difficulty coming to the point. I had to skip about an hour and a half of it (due to frustration with the pacing) and when I picked it back up it seemed I had missed nothing except more of Nora's memories from the early 90s.
Another problem I had with the book was characters who were incredibly unlikeable. I didn't like Nora or Charlotte, the main characters. The final problem for me was the incongruity of Rose's suicide given her high level of emotional intelligence. It felt out of sync with probability.
Emily Arsenault is talented and I have expectations of better books (or perhaps books that are simply better suited to my impatient nature) from her in the future.
Finally, I would like to note that the reader was excellent, exhibiting a refreshing subtlety when moving from character to character.
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