Friday, September 9, 2016

Book Review: Root, Petal, Thorn by Ella Joy Olsen

In this beautifully written and powerful debut novel, Ella Joy Olsen traces the stories of five fascinating women who inhabit the same  historic home over the course of a century—braided stories of love, heartbreak and courage connect the women, even across generations.

Ivy Baygren has two great loves in her life: her husband, Adam, and the bungalow they buy together in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Salt Lake City, Utah. From the moment she and Adam lay eyes on the  home, Ivy is captivated by its quaint details—the old porch swing, ornate tiles, and especially  an heirloom rose bush bursting with snowy white blossoms.  Called the Emmeline Rose for the home’s original owner, it seems yet another sign that this place will be Ivy’s happily-ever-after…Until her dreams are shattered by Adam’s unexpected death.

Striving to be strong for her two children, Ivy decides to tackle the home-improvement projects she and Adam once planned. Day by day, as she attempts to rebuild her house and her resolve, she uncovers clues about previous inhabitants, from a half-embroidered sampler to buried wine bottles. And as Ivy learns about the women who came before her—the young Mormon torn between her heart and anti-polygamist beliefs, the Greek immigrant during World War II, a troubled single mother in the 1960s—she begins to uncover the lessons of her own journey. For every story has its sadness, but there is also the possibility of blooming again, even stronger and more resilient than before…

My Thoughts 
I fell in love with this book from the very beginning - from the intricate web of characters Ella presents to the story lines that take you in directions you don't see coming and can't help but smile when they happen.
This tale travels from one emotion to the next and some that you are least expecting!  There is loss, love, sadness, heart break, heart ache,  and courage to move on.
Ivy had it all - the husband and the house (with history).  But then her world is turned upside down - he husband Adam dies...She was blindsided.
What is she going to do?  He was her rock, her safe place, her one true love...
How will she move on?  Start over?
Her brother showed up one day, a few days later, and told her to make a list - she needed something to look forward to, something to accomplish.
Her kids needed her and she needed to get her old self back.
She came up with project after project to get her through each day.  Each day seemed to bring a new surprise, a new story of the previous owners and Ivy felt like her life had purpose as she embarked on this journey of discovery.  Not only was she learning about the previous women she shared this home with but she also learned more about herself and who she needed to be going forward.
There are so many intricate webs to read and inhale, you need to experience it for yourself to grasp the depth of Ella's beautiful debut novel.

This book goes perfect with a glass (or two) of a deep red Merlot.  Perfect for this intricate story of love, loss and life.
This book was truly amazing, I could not put it down.  I will be recommending this book to everyone I know!  Must read for Fall 2016!

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