REVIEW: December Roses – Fiona Glass

December Roses - Fiona Glass

Genre: Paranormal, Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: MM Gay

Reviewer: Maryann

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About The Book

Recovering from a bombing in 1990s Belfast, British soldier Nat Brook is sent to remote army rehab unit Frogmorton Towers to recuperate. At first he’s lonely and depressed, but then he finds the remnants of a once-beautiful garden, meets the enigmatic Richie, and begins to fall in love.

Gradually, though, he realises there’s something odd about Frogmorton. He can rarely find the same place twice, and Richie proves every bit as elusive as the Chinese pagoda or the Scottish glen. Nat begins to question his own sanity, because if the garden is imaginary, what does that make the man he loves?

Faced with the shocking truth, Nat must decide whether to stay with the army – even though that means hiding his sexuality – or find acceptance elsewhere.

This poignant ghost story was originally published as ‘Roses in December’ by Torquere Press but has now been extensively rewritten.

The Review

Sergeant Nathiel Brook is recovering from a serious war injury, is afflicted with PTSD, and has been transferred to Frogmorton Hospital. Nat’s leg injury is healing slowly and he’s determined to get better so he can return to the Army. 

In order to get exercise, he’s taken to wandering the unkept garden. The farther he walks through this maze, the more the garden changes. Tired from his walk, he finds a place to rest, and is surprised to meet a man named Richie Douglas, who he finds quite interesting.

Nat can’t always make it to the garden, but when he does he tries to return to where he met Richie. He always seems to get lost, but somehow ends up meeting Richie anyway. They start an affair, but Nat is well aware he has seen Richie with someone else.

Richie tells Nat that Charles is helping him with his music career, so that he doesn’t have to conform to what his father wants him to do.

As time goes on, Nat has some set backs with  PTSD (shell shock) and another awful accident with his leg.  When he finally heals, he returns to the garden,  But Richie is not to be found. 

As the years go by, Nat faces many life changing experiences. He loses a friend to tragedy, he misses his chance to rejoin the Army. He makes new friends, and finds he can adjust and make a life for himself.  

As Nat works hard at Frogmorton, the garden is still quite mystical, as Richie showed Nat so long before. It can take a person to anywhere in the world: China, Italy, Scotland, even Egypt.  But there’s one important thing that is still missing for Nat, and that’s Richie.

Fiona Glass surprised me once again with her amazing, well written, easy flowing, suspenseful, supernatural dark story. Just when I thought I had this story all figured out, she twisted the plot and took me in a different direction, right up to the ending!

There’s a lot that goes on during Nat’s stay at Frogmorton as he discovers some eerie facts about the place and the people. Glass kept me hanging in suspense with each step that Nat took. He’s a really wonderful character and kept me hoping for him, determined to move forward to the future.

Richie is elusive, somewhat naive, and hyper, one who overlooks his dangerous relationship with Charles.

I thought both Elsie and Fred were two outstanding secondary characters. They remained good friends with Nat, always had advice for him, supported and  encouraged him, giving him a chance for a new start at life.  Emily Martin was an interesting addition too – Nat’s psychiatrist with has a secret of her own.

“December Roses” was a real page-turner for me.  I’m declaring Fiona Glass my favorite dark theme writer! 

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California.  Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018.  My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen.  New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012.  She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series.  Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book! 

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing.  I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews.  One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group.  Joining her site was such an eye opener.  I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams.

 

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