The actual book, Chasing The Rose, captivated me from the moment I held it in my hands. The cover was decorated with flowers, and the pages contained beautiful drawings whose colors expanded upon the beautiful language on the pages next to it. The thing I appreciated about the story was the narrator’s voice. It was factual, yet his observations were cheeky. The novel took me on a magical journey through Italy that awakened my senses.
The adventures of how people smuggled roses from one country to another were entertaining, especially for those who appreciate tales about Napoleon and other royals. However, this was not like Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s The Language Of Flowers, which used horticulture as a backdrop to a moving storyline. Instead, this was a loosely woven story that mostly retold historical tales of roses. Baltimore belle, a beautiful rose, was named after a scandal involving Napoleon brother and his pregnant American wife he abandoned to be the King of Westphalia. The Caroline testout rose became known during the Belle Époque when it was named after a fashion designer. Right after finishing this book, I walked by a row of roses and instinctively looked at the flower and wondered about its origin. Was it smuggled into Europe, or was it one of the coveted Chinese roses? I have to admit, I’ll never look at roses the same way.
This was a light, but enjoyable read that made me want to plant some flowers!