Waking Rose reviewed by Tannia E. Ortiz Lopes

Waking Rose - A Fairy Tale Retold by Regina Doman
Reviewed by Tannia E. Ortiz-Lopés (timewithtannia.tripod.com)

Some books take you traveling into space. Others bring you back in time. But then one day, when you least expect it, you come across a book that grabs your imagination and leads you on a road of adventures and suspense into a world combining elements of fantasy and fairy tale with the world we live in.

Waking Rose, a young adult novel by Regina Doman (the sequel to The Shadow of the Bear) is a book which deprived me of precious sleeping hours because I felt I had become a character of the story–a character the author did not intend to create; nevertheless, I was there on every page, a silent witness. I was unable to help the written characters to solve the mystery, of course, and I agonized and hoped somehow they get my clues. But the characters could not have my (the reader’s) inside information; the reader isn’t a part of the characters’ world; they are part of the reader’s. I tried to balance this mix of worlds (fantasy vs. real) and wait for the end. Then came the climax of the story and I was in total awe, speechless and unable to write the book review. How could I start to write the review if was still in shock? Well, I let two weeks pass before I was able to collect my thoughts and do it. I hope the following book review helps you enjoy a fairy tale retold with elements from old and new, just like in a wedding.

The book’s cover is simple, but it captures well what is in store for the reader: The country house, which keeps a secret from the past soon to be discovered; trees, a rose bindweed, and Rose, peacefully sleeping. Or is she truly sleeping? Each chapter follows the rose bindweed theme and includes a portion of the Brother’s Grimm story, Sleeping Beauty. This gives each chapter an identity and momentum. Also, the narrative of the story comes from the hero’s (Fish’s) and heroine’ (Rose’s) points of view and an understanding of the situations and conflicts around them.

The book begins with the wedding of Blanche and Bear, characters familiar from The Shadow of the Bear. Rose is nervous with anticipation to see Fish, her one and true love. Chaos reigns at the Brier’s residence in preparation for Blanche’s wedding, but in the midst of it, Blanche is relaxed. Rose admires her older sister’s relaxed attitude and her enchanting beauty, too.

After the wedding, family and friends gather to celebrate the marriage of Blanche and Bear. During the reception, Rose has the chance to dance with Fish. Rose is in seventh heaven. Fish, on the other hand, is a little bit annoyed by her childish behavior. Blance and Bear sneak out of the reception and off they go to consummate their love and become one flesh and one spirit while the guests celebrate on this very joyful day.

Soon after the wedding, both Fish and Rose start taking classes at the university. Fish goes to the Universtiy of Pittsburgh, while Rose goes to Mercy College, a small Catholic college located in the small town of Meyerstown. Rose’s parents both graduated from Mercy College, her dad with a major in English and her mom in nursing. This Catholic college, Meyerstown, an old barn, and an old “cold case” are part of the Brier’s family secret and obscure past.

At Mercy College, Rose shares her dorm room with her lifelong friend, Kateri Kovach. In the course of her studies, Rose joins the theater group. They are rehearsing “King Lear”, a tragedy by Shakespeare. Rose auditions and gets the role of Cordelia, which upsets a more talented and experienced actress, Donna. With her friend Tara, Donna proceeds to make life pretty difficult for Rose, both on and off stage. Taking advantage of Rose’s naïve personality, Donna and Tara plot to terrorize her one evening after rehearsal.

But Rose also has made many friends at Mercy College. Among them, a group of so called “knights” who live at the Sacra Cor dorm and enjoy practicing martial arts and sword fights. Because Rose helps them during an interdorms war between Sacra Cor and Lumen Christi, Rose becomes one of the “Lady’s Sword Cor” and they swear to protect her. The group’s leader, Paul, a pre-med student, becomes a key figure during the book’s story.

Things heat up when Rose, who is working on a report for her bio-ethics class, begins looking into a topic her dad, a journalist, investigated while he worked for a local newspaper in Meyerstown. Rose’s dad had been dead for several years and she likes the idea of sharing a piece of his work.

Rose gets a ride with Paul and together they go to the family farm outside of town, where Mr. Brier’s files have been kept in an old barn. to look at her dad’s old files. They find boxes covered by dust, untouched in years. Besides many family pictures, letters from Rose’s parents courtship, and an old newspaper article her dad wrote, Rose finds a file labeled “Abuse on Comatose Patients.” Tose takes up the topic for what she calls her “Monster Bio-Ethics Project”.
At Graceton Long-Term Care facility, a private hospital for comatose patients, Rose speaks with Dr. Murray, who gives her a tour of the facility. Dr. Murray also refers Rose to other comatose patient’s caretakers who might be willing to talk to her. Rose mentions her dad’s research to several people, who proceed to get nervous about Rose’s bio-ethic project, and who would very much like to get hold of Mr. Brier’s old files.

When a suspicious accident leaves her badly injured, Rose herself becomes a comatose patient at Graceton, which turns out to house a world of hidden activity, unknown to the general public, and involving a medical black market. During her stay there, you get to see the world of a comatose patients from Rose’s perspective, while the other characters move in Fish’s world.
In such a dark castle, who will wake up Rose? The knight in the bright and shining armour? The true prince who passed all tests and discovered his true love? Will Rose wake up from her coma at all? And last of all, who was the perpetrator? The pleasure of a strong climax awaits the reader of this tale.

Regina Doman’s young adult novel is very well written, and it is clear throughout that she did some pretty extensive research in the area of comatose patients. I highly recommend this book to readers looking for adventure mixed with topics of concern in today’s world.
Bravo Ms. Doman!


About the book reviewer: Tannia E. Ortiz-Lopés author of The Window to my soul, My Walk with Jesus
(2004 Tate Publishing ISBN 0975393359.) The book could be purchased directly from the publisher at www.tatepublishing.com and at all major online stores.
Visit the author at: www.myspace.com/tanniaortizlopes, and ttp://timewithtannia.tripod.com/


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