Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sonoma Rose

As the nation grapples with the strictures of Prohibition, Rosa Barclay lives on a Southern California rye farm with her volatile husband, John, who has lately found another source of income far outside the federal purview.

Mother to eight children, Rosa mourns the loss of four who succumbed to the mysterious wasting disease that is now afflicting young Ana and Miguel. Two daughters born of another father are in perfect health. When an act of violence shatters Rosa's resolve to maintain her increasingly dangerous existence, she flees with the children and her precious heirloom quilts to the mesa where she last saw her beloved mother alive.

As a flash flood traps them in a treacherous canyon, only one man is brave-or foolhardy-enough to come to their rescue: Lars Jorgenson, Rosa's first love and the father of her healthy daughters. Together they escape to Berkeley, where a leading specialist offers their only hope of saving Ana and Miguel. Here in northern California, they create new identities to protect themselves from Rosa's vengeful husband, the police who seek her for questioning, and the gangsters Lars reported to Prohibition agents-officers representing a department often as corrupt as the Mob itself. Ever mindful that his youthful alcoholism provoked Rosa to spurn him, Lars nevertheless supports Rosa's daring plan to stake their futures on a struggling Sonoma Valley vineyard-despite the recent hardships of local winemakers whose honest labors at viticulture have, through no fault of their own, become illegal.

I finished the latest installment in the Elm Creek Quilts series by Jennifer Chaiverini this week and I have to say that I don't really see it as an "Elm Creek" book. Yes there are a couple of mentions made of Elizabeth Nelson (Sylvia's cousin) and Rosa and Lars were first introduced in an Elm Creek novel (Triumph Ranch) but other than that, there is nothing to connect this book to Elm Creek Quilts. Quilting also only receives brief passing mentions.

That said, the book was very good. Ms. Chaiverini really educated herself on the wine growing process and Prohibition. The book was very well researched. The descriptions were, as usual for the Elm Creek books, very detailed.

All in all it was a great book but if you are looking for a book about quilters and quilting or even a continuation of the Bergstrom story or life at Elm Creek Quilt Camp, this is not where you will find it.


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