Returning from their summer home, the last thing that 19th-century New Englanders Libby and her father expect to find is a Romanian family inhabiting the house they've lived in for 20 years. But that's exactly what happens---sparking a fierce legal battle as both clans insist the house is rightfully theirs. Can they find common ground?
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I could hardly put this book down. It was fun, exciting, and mysterious. It was filled with growing love, family devotion, tragedy, and positive relationships with Christ.
It begins in Colden, Massachusetts in 1879, where most of the story takes place. It also weaves in a family fleeing Romania, who have thick Romanian accents. Those were fun to read, since I tend to hear accents in my head.
Libby Sawyer has a disability which causes her to be very compassionate towards others. She is supposedly the main character, although I felt Mikhail was equally well developed. She is 28 and lives with her elderly father, an inventor. She is a wonderful artist, who captures botany in great and amazing detail despite her difficulty. Her father, however, only recognizes and rather uses her, for her ability to draw his inventions with superb clarity. She has a motherly connection to all children, because she so longs to have her own, but believes she never can. She “exists” in the town, but is not valued for her kindness and talents.
Mikhail/Michael has fled Romania and is very “black and white” in his ways of thinking, but he has deep devotion and commitment. At heart, he is a good man. His differences speak to his cultural upbringing. It is a good reminder for us to consider as we encounter other cultures. As he and his mismatched family struggle to fit in to the American ways and ideas of life, we can imagine what it must be like to do so. By mismatched, I am referring to his two rowdy, but sweet boys, his two hulking comrades, and his frail sister. Each will come to reveal great strength and resolve and are very interesting.
There is deep sadness in some of the characters background stories, but how they overcome them and seek to glorify God is wonderful to read. For anyone who struggles with great tragedy, or disability this book shows positive examples of how to prevail. I enjoyed how well many of the supporting characters were developed. It really added depth to the book.
I give it 5 out of 5 stars, and look forward to other books by Elizabeth Camden.
You can read more about this author at www.ElizabethCamden.com
Included at the End: *Discussion Questions for the reader to ponder or for a Book Club :)
I received this copy free from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.
Okay, so this was my first book by Elizabeth Camden and I enjoyed reading it, but I found the whole story line a little weak. I mean, it's based around a house... There was just enough suspense to keep me engaged and the characters were fairly well developed. Elizabeth is a good writer, and I think I'll be reading more of her books in the future, although I probably won't go through this one again. Worth reading, but not in my list of top ten. If you're a historical fiction aficionado, and you relish in men who love smelling things, then this is a book for you! ;)
Okay, I’ll be honest. I really thought that I would give this book 4 stars… then I read the ending. *Sigh* I’m a hopeless romantic and when an author delivers that ending where the hero comes to his girl’s rescue.... well, let’s just say it looks good from where I’m standing. (Anyone else? ;-)
What a lovely cover for a delightful story! The Rose of Winslow Street definitely secures a spot for Camden’s name on my list of great Christian Fiction authors.
I love her engaging writing – a blend of humorous moments, SWEET, sweet romance, moving scenes, great characters and a story with a well-researched background, crowned in the end with a lovely ending. ( Also, I LOVED The Lady of Bolton Hill!)
My only complaint for R.W.S would be that I found the romance to be a bit sudden and not very believable in the beginning. Also, Michael is not your average hero! Despite the fact that his comportment surprised me at first sight, he’s a good one, in my opinion!! *Smiling*. (I won’t giveaway anything!)
It’s all good stuff, people, check it out!
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Review 4 for The Rose of Winslow Street
Layered Story Reveals Depth and Beauty
Date:July 6, 2012
This review may contain some spoilers. Read with caution!
The Rose of Winslow Street is a tale set in 1879 Massachusetts and revolves around Libby Sawyer a 28 year old spinster who lives a solitary life with her father in a well-appointed, quiet neighborhood home. Libby is a talented young woman who delights in painting botanical illustrations, nurturing her deceased mother's rose garden, and loving on her five year old niece. She is a woman of character, strength, and infinite patience with her elderly, absent minded, inventing professor father. She is also a woman who has lived an unnoticed life.
However, this book opens not with Libby but with a mysterious stranger shepherding a lady, two small children and several men into Libby's vacated-for-the-summer home under the cover of darkness. The man is Michael Dobrescu who has recently arrived from Romania and is now laying legal claim to Libby's father's house! Michael is a physically imposing man who fiercely protects his family even as he tries the best way he knows how to provide for them. But just like Libby, Michael is a multifaceted character who holds secrets and proves surprising at every turn!
As Professor Sawyer and Michael tumble into a fiercely contested legal battle for the house Libby finds herself torn between her father's outraged demands for fealty and the shunning of the interlopers and the surprising kindness, acceptance, inspiration and purpose she finds amongst Michael and his family. Despite the inward and outward turmoil it causes Libby finds herself reaching out in Christian charity to the people who occupy her home and quickly finds Michael himself occupying her heart. But why should anyone love a forgotten woman like her? And who will find themselves the true owner of the house on Winslow Street? These questions and more are answered with such satisfaction and storytelling skill that the reader will be amazed at where this tale ends!
One of the surprising things about this book is that the supporting characters are just as well crafted and important to the story as the main characters! From Michael's sister the quiet and broken Lady Mirela to Libby's sister-in-law the ingratiating and conniving Regina, these characters add so much to the story that they help to bring to life and further highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the main characters. One supporting character that I had a great deal of trouble putting up with though, much less liking, was Libby's father Professor Sawyer. The Professor is an ill-tempered, off balance, and even at times unhinged old man who has used Libby's artistic talents to have technical drawings of his inventions made while all the time looking at and treating her as a burden and a "mental deficient" because of her illiteracy and her singleness. His verbally harsh treatment of her in a number of scenes broke my heart but throughout it all Libby amazingly honors her father and never retaliates in any way and continues to care for her father's wellbeing until her long awaited exit comes.
This book is driven by the conflict and resolution of the issue of the house but is graced with the gentle love story of Libby and Michael. It is a love that slowly develops and is uncontrived and unforced- something that is refreshing to see in any current piece of fiction!
This is the first book I've read by Elizabeth Camden and after this it cerainly won't be the last! From the very beginning to the final pages the author grows a story that is, just like a rose, deeply layered and revealing it's true beauty as time goes on to finally be fully mature and produce the sweetest of fragrances. It is a true pleasure to read and I hope you do!
My rating is 5 out of 5 stars!
I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and opinion of the product.
I loved this book! It was really different from a lot of the inspirational fiction I've read lately, and I think that's why I enjoyed it so much. The storyline was unique from anything I've read and so were the characters. All of the characters drew me in, both the leads and the supporting cast. I really cared about both Libby's and Michael's families.
I loved this tale of family bonds and new love overcoming obstacles. It's a new and different read and really stands out from the crowd.
book sent by publisher in exchange for honest review
I took this book with me on vacation and LOVED it! It was a great get away book to read. The character development, all the different story lines going on and the historical setting were all such joys to me. Yes, I would recommend this book and this author. Every book I have read by her have been wonderful.
I received a review copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest opinion.
Yes, Libby is comfortable in her life, but she’s not really in a good situation. She can not read and feels very inferior because of this. She seeks refuge in her painting and in loving her niece. Her sister-in-law is constantly throwing verbal barbs, which Libby endures just to spend time with her niece. She does her best to see the positives around her, but she’s walked all over by her father and not appreciated, except for the detailed drawings she does for his inventions. There is a side-story involving of his inventions and some missing drawings. (That was a smooth addition and I did not see the conclusion at all! Shocking!)
Michael comes to America to claim a house that was left to him by his uncle many years ago. This also happens to be Libby’s father’s house. The issue will be decided in court, but there is also a mystery in the uncle’s will. While waiting for their time in court, Libby takes them food and helps out when the stores of the town will not even sale to them. This is angers her father and shocks the towns folks, who think they are being supportive of Libby’s family. During this time Libby gets to know Michael and his family. She sees that not all men are like her father. She is amazed at how Michael adores, teaches and has patience with his sons. Her loyalties and relationships are tested and choices are made. However she also becomes more confident in her God-given value wether or not any man loves her.
However, Michael’s sister, Lady Mirela is a story of her own and adds another layer to this book. It is a beautiful account of finding meaning in life after enduring brutal actions that changed she life and future plans completely. I loved this character and felt the most for her. Her story was more than just icing on the cake. I really believe that this novel wouldn’t of been as good without it.
I do not usually notice things that don’t fit in a historical fiction book. However, on page 94 the statement about “the separation of church and state” would not fit in this time period. The phrase "wall of separation between the church and the state" was written originally by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptists on January 1, 1802. It wouldn’t have been used incorrectly or at all during the book’s time period, as it is now days.
Overall, I enjoyed The Rose of Winslow Street by Elizabeth Camden with the many layered storyline and the strong characters. Why don’t you check it out while I seek out more of this author’s books.
Disclosure: I received the book free from Bethany House Book Reviewers’ program. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
At the opening of the story, Libby Sawyer and her father are spending the summer at a lake cottage, though their actual home was in Colden, Massachusetts, on Winslow Street. Libby leads a quiet, yet interesting life of drawing her father’s inventions in detail. Lying underneath her vivacious and gracious personality lies a secret that brings her great shame.
Mikhail (Michael) Dobrescu has arrived from Romania to claim his deceased uncle’s home that was willed to him, but it just happens to be Libby’s father’s home in Colden. Thinking the home is abandoned, Michael and his family overtake the home in an unconventional way, which alienates him from all the Colden residents. It would take the courts to decide on who actually owns the home.
Despite Libby’s outrage at Michael’s actions, she finds herself enamored by him. In fact, she is accused of fraternizing with the ‘enemy’ and her father commanded her not to see the family. But her Christian upbringing could not watch the family suffer though they themselves have been ousted from their own home.
What a heart-rending story of loyalty and love. I was so enthralled with the characters, as the author brought out their genuineness in a way that you could not resist. I thought about them throughout the day, as though they were real friends. The relationships were both delightful and yet difficult to bear at times, but I found them comparable to relationships today, albeit the mysterious circumstances that brought Michael to America. The secrets behind his actions propelled the story forward.
The tender, loving actions of Michael seemed contradictory to his large stature and initial gruff introduction. The author played on Michael and Libby’s attraction, their Christian beliefs, and their true desire to help each other as social outcasts. Their looming romance eventually becomes the talk of the town, despite her father’s feelings.
Deceit from other family members ups the ante to the suspense of the story. It played well into the relationships between father and son and father and daughter. It illuminates the dangers of having favorites among children.
Elizabeth Camden’s book, The Rose of Winslow Street, is a book I’d recommend to anyone for its historical flavor as well as the romance. The details are exquisite and make the story rich. I have to admit that the cover of the book was one reason I wanted to read it, but it’s the content that won me over. I look forward to reading other books by Elizabeth.
This book was provided by Jim at Bethany House in exchanged for my honest review. No monetary compensation was exchanged.
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Review 10 for The Rose of Winslow Street
It's Not Always a Bed of Roses
Date:March 27, 2012
Libby Sawyer is a spunky woman who lives a pleasant, albeit routine, life in a sleepy town outside Boston. Ashamed by her inability to read, she assumes that she will always be a spinster – she does not want to pass her learning disability on to a child. Libby’s quiet life is turned upside down by the arrival of a most unusual family – at least by Colden’s upper middle class standards. Little does Libby know that the Dobrescu’s arrival will upend her world in ways she could never imagined.
I found this book to be an engaging, fast-paced read and one I enjoyed from beginning to end. It was the type of book where you had the ending figured out by the end of the first chapter, or so you thought. The author does an excellent job of weaving multiple twists and turns into the novel, which keeps the reader guessing how the story will turn out.
It was interesting to read about several of the characters’ struggles in the book and think about how they were defined and shaped by the period of the book as compared to today. Libby’s illiteracy is one example. Almost immediately I wondered if she had dyslexia. It’s a treatable condition today, but was not identified until the 1880s. Another example would be Mirela’s apparent PTSD and how it was treated.
The book provides a poignant – and important – lesson on compassion and shows how the compassion of even one person can make a difference. I liked that message, as well as the author’s emphasis on family values and how they may differ between families and circumstances but are nevertheless an important tie that binds us.
Overall, a book I would definitely recommend to other adult readers. This book references both a suicide and a brutal rape, so it may not be the best choice for younger readers.
I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
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Review 11 for The Rose of Winslow Street
An unexpected pleasure
Date:March 23, 2012
God inspired Romantic
I bought this book based on the other reviews on this site, and have to say i am in agreement with those who praise this book. I saw there weren't as many reviews so i decided to post mine as well just to let readers know that this book for me is a classic. I'll be re-reading this often! In short the story is about Libby Saywer who has a gift for nature,drawing and painting. She feels different then others and i'ts revealed later on why that is. One day she goes home and finds Michael Dobrescu in her home claiming that her house belongs to him and his family. The story unfolds from there. What i really liked about this book is that the characters were flawed on so many levels that i could easily relate to them. The author takes her time to tell everyone's story without taking anything away from the excitement of the story. I.e. : I never got bored while getting to know the characters, and the author makes you love all of them. A must read!!
This book was an utter delight. The house takeover hooked me right from the get go and never lost my attention. I liked the variety of character personalities the author gives us. A couple of them have difficulties they are dealing with daily. The themes of prejudice, loyalty, responsibility, family and faith get you stirred up and then thinking how you would react. A thoroughly enjoyable read.
The Rose of Winslow Street by Elizabeth Camden is a historical romance with drama and humor. Libby Sawyer's life is steady, not wonderful, but routine, and she's learned to be happy within her small town of Colden, Massachusetts. She lives alone with her father and uses her artistic talent to help him plan and detail his many inventions, despite her secret that has kept her from finding a husband. When she and her father go on summer vacation on the coast, their home is taken over by Michael Dobrescu of Romania, who lays claim to their home and is desperate to keep it as a home for his family. Michael is quickly at odds with the people of Colden who wage war on the intruder, but Libby sees the family's isolation and at first reaches out out of charity, but soon finds herself fitting into this family better than she has ever fit into her own. Both Michael and Libby have secrets that make for convenient misunderstandings, but they have quick chemistry. As a reader, I never took to Michael. Camden spends far too much time describing his bulging muscles, and I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed in Libby for allowing his physical beauty to blind her to his other flaws. The story is a bit over the top, but despite the occasional dark turns, Camden keeps it light with a touch of humor which kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next.
The Rose of Winslow Street by Elizabeth Camden is an excellent novel and well worth the time to read!! I have never read anything by Camden and I was pleasantly surprised with this story. It had twists in it that I was not expecting. Many books you can read and after the first chapter the entire story is easily figured out, that was the case in this story. The story is set in Colden, Massachusetts in 1879 with the two main characters being Libby Sawyer and Michael Dobrescu.The characters are wonderful and Camden did a lot of historical research to make them come alive.
Though I would recommend this book to almost anyone, it does have a couple of "scenes" that include rape and a suicide attempt. I would recommend caution when it comes to younger readers. It does have a wonderful story of not only love, but also of letting go of a difficult past and moving on with God's help.
Check out Elizabeth Camden's website here!
"I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers for this review"
Liberty "Libby" Sawyer lives with her Father the Professor in a home her father has restored. While they are away at the beach with her brother Jasper, his wife Regina, and precocious daughter Tillie. Into town arrives the Dobrescu family straight from Romania. They break in and claim the house is theirs left to them by a deceased Uncle. This family includes the head Michael, his two sons Andrei and Luke, his Sister Lady Mirela, a Man from Turkey Raghib "Turk, and Joseph "The Giant" who has come with them. When the Professor finds out about the stealing of his home, he goes bananas, now who wouldn't. Can you imagine going away, only to find out that someone else is now living in your home, and claim it is theirs?? Libby after meeting the family does take pity on them and brings them food. She feels this is what God would want from her, even if her Dad does not approve. In doing so she becomes fond of all of them, especially Michael, and the boys. She ends up trying to help Michael find a certain type of tree to help in his perfume business. You will be horrified as to what Michael does to the roses in his yead and others. Just imagine someone coming into your yard and copping down your plants! This is a really good story, with a lot of twists and turns. Don't miss this one!
I received this book from the Publisher Bethany House, and was not required to give a positive review.
This is a delightful story of acceptance and love. The descriptions of scenery and setting are vivid. The reader easily envisions the rickety barn, the fields of roses and the blackberry bushes. The characters are developed throughout the story, so the reader feels with them, sees what they see, and learns the lessons they learn. The compulsion Michael experiences as he cuts down the rose bushes is realistic; the reader feels the pressure without understanding the reasoning. The dialog is very well written and Michael’s word usage is distinct, but not intrusive. The reader experiences the fragrance of history, culture, relationship and moral lessons.
This novel captured me from its inception with the intriguing situation and characters involved. I enjoyed reading a fresh story rather than another rerun of what’s been overdone. Of course, it contains suspense and romance—those seem universal in fiction—but The Rose of Winslow Street provides a stimulating twist, increasing the reader’s enjoyment.
Imagine that while you’re away on vacation someone moves into your stately, old house, and sets himself up as the rightful owner. That’s what happened to Libby Sawyer and her professor father in 1879 Colden, Massachusetts. Michael Dobrescu, an immigrant refugee from Romania claims his uncle left the house to him when the uncle died years ago. Michael settles in with his family and has no intention of giving up the property.
So begins the battle between the professor and the former soldier. Along with this escalating conflict and legal battle, secrets from the past add to the pain and confusion. Will Michael be able to maintain ownership and uncover whatever his uncle intended him to find?
Michael and Libby develop an unlikely relationship, and she is torn between loyalty to her demanding father and her new friend. Flowers, particularly roses, play a major role in the book, hence the title. Elizabeth Camden has created a powerful tale, which explores accepting those who are different and accepting oneself. Her setting and strong characters add intensity and depth. You won’t be disappointed.
It's the only house Libby Sawyer has ever called home, but now Michael Dobrescu has arrived from Romania with his family in tow and seems to hold documents showing that the house was willed to him decades ago. What makes matters worse is that the Dobrescu's moved into the house while Libby's family was vacationing.
With neither family willing to give up their claim the legal battle quickly becomes heated. When important documents go missing Libby's father is determined to have Michael charged with the crime. Libby isn't sure who is right, but when she realizes she is quickly losing her heart to Michael she despairs at having to choose between him and her family. What can she do when both families seem to have valid claims?
This book is no piece of fluff. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read that is well researched and has a fully developed plot. Although it is a historical romance there is enough mystery and uncertainty to keep the reader turning pages. I was completely drawn into the story. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 stars
Camden writes a story filled with strong characters. In her late twenties Libby Sawyer is considered the spinster of Colden, Massachusetts. In her youth Libby could not learn to read despite access to her father’s library and tutors he engaged for her. When it was obvious Libby could never read, her father considered her imperfect and withdrew any parental warmth toward his daughter. But she could draw and paint perfectly. When Michael Dobresca shows up, claiming he owns her father’s house, Libby is outraged as is the entire town. But she is fascinated by this man who seems equally intrigued by her. Elizabeth Camden gives detailed descriptions, filling the readers' senses and pulling them into each scene.