Life in Henryetta, Arkansas is turned upside down with the arrival of a televangelist, but it’s the death of a little old lady on Rose’s street that catches her attention. The Henryetta police deem her death natural causes, but Rose suspects foul play and so does an unlikely supporter–-the president of the Busy Body Club, her eighty-two year old neighbor Mildred.
But Rose is in the middle of opening her nursery with her sister Violet, who’s separated from her husband Mike, as well as stalling her boyfriend Joe’s family, rich socialites who are determined to meet her. Along with her multiple encounters with Fenton County’s new assistant DA, Mason Deveraux III, it’s just another day in the life of Rose Gardner–-chaos.
Character Interview with Mildred & Rose
Hold on to your hats!! I have Mildred and Rose here with me and they’ve agreed to answer a few questions for me. So here goes!
Mildred: Why are you always so hard on our dear, sweet Rose? Is there bad blood between you and Rose because of something that has happened in the past with her or her family?
Rose Gardner comes from a good Henryetta family. On her mother’s side anyways. Her weak-spined father came from Lafayette County, which must explains so many things about Rose’s weirdness, although her sister Violet turned out just fine. But Agnes’s family goes way back in the Henryetta books. We all have our cross to bear, and Rose was Agnes’s.
Obviously, you’ve never met Rose. Ever since she was a girl, she’s been demon possessed. Her mother and the preachers prayed over her until they declared her hopeless. The girl knows things that aren’t natural. She knows things about people that people just don’t have a right to know.
Rose: Do you think you will ever move from Henryetta, given your “past” and just start fresh somewhere?
I’ve dreamed of leaving Henryetta, but I just can’t leave my sister right now. She’s going through a divorce and needs me. I’d planned to move to Little Rock to live with my boyfriend Joe, but Violet convinced me to open the nursery with her. I originally thought about starting the nursery to help Violet, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. But now I’m stuck here.
Rose: Where do you think your ability to have visions comes from? Have you ever investigated it?
My grandmother—my father’s mother—had the sight. She was considered the Oracle of Lafayette County. But her visions were actually helpful—like predicting rain—while mine are worthless.
Mildred: It is rumored that you have a sordid past. Care to comment?
*glares* Those rumors that my family made moonshine are a flat out lie. I don’t care what that fool Minny Malcolm says. Gin is the Devil’s piss.
Mildred: Now that we’ve gotten to know Joe a little bit more, are you surprised that he comes from such a prestigious family?
Even a good fruit tree produces a piece of rotten fruit every now and then. But I suspect Rose found out he had money and somehow used her demon possession to coerce him into fornicating with he in her front yard.
Rose: *sighs* Miss Mildred, kissing on my front porch is not fornicating in my front yard. And would you please stop calling the police?
Rose: Joe and Mason have secrets, do you?
My visions are a big secret that most people don’t know. But I have another secret that only a few people know. Momma isn’t my birth mother. My father left Momma for my birthmother, but she died in a mysterious car wreck when I was a couple of months old. Momma told everyone that I was hers, and no one was none the wiser, which is strange considering how nosey everyone in this town it. Anyway, I found out after Momma’s murder. And also found out that my birth mother had left me some oil stock and her family farm.
Mildred: We haven’t gotten to see much of you except for the times that you pop up to pick on Rose. Would you please let us know something else about you?
I’m the president of the Henryetta Garden Club and president of the Neighborhood Watch committee. I’m also on the Guild of Southern Baptist Women and I’m on the board on of the local chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy. I’m a God-fearin’ Southern woman.
Rose: If your ability is genetic, are you worried about passing it on to your children?
Oh, my goodness! I hadn’t even considered that. I suppose I could. But I’m sure Joe won’t mind. Maybe they’ll be fearless like him.
Mildred: After all this poor girl has been through, are you ever going to give her a break?
Give Rose a break? I’ll give her a break when she moves out of her dead Momma’s house and fornicates on some other street. And we won’t even get into that thing she calls a dog that relieves itself all over her yard.
Rose: Thinking about your ability and how it has helped innocent people, would you still want it if you could get rid of it?
My best friend Neely Kate is always telling me that my visions are a gift. And while I admit they have saved my and Joe’s life and helped keep Bruce Wayne Decker from going to jail for a murder he didn’t commit, I’m not ready to say I wouldn’t get rid of them if given the chance.
Well, that concludes the interview. I think you’ll agree that these were some great answers!
I was very fortunate and very lucky to have been given a copy of this book to beta read for Denise. I really and truly LOVE this series so much and I cannot believe that I got to be a part of the process for it!! Anyway, if you haven’t read this series, then READ NO FURTHER!! You will need to read the others first before you read this one. There may be spoilers here and I can’t help if I reveal something to you that you don’t know from reading the other books.
Rose Gardner has survived the last 2 books and “adventures.” She is still relatively in one piece and her relationship with Joe is still in tact. But, Joe has to go off on an undercover assignment and leaves Rose to her own devices. Rose and her sister Violet have recently opened a flower shop together and have a potentially very big client to impress, Reverand Jonah Pruitt. He is the new pastor at the New Living Hope Revival Church and has given Rose and Violet a very large contract for landscaping at the church. But there is something odd about Jonah and Rose isn’t so sure she wants to take his business, especially after Joe says to steer clear of him. However, she can’t very well pass up the sale as it could be huge for their flower shop. And, as if that’s not enough, old ladies on Rose’s street are dying and wouldn’t you know it, she gets mixed up in the mystery. Since Joe is out of town, she’s relying on Assistant District Attorney Mason Deveraux III for help when she needs it, despite Joe telling Mason to stay away from Rose. With all of this going on, Rose’s sister going through a divorce, Joe talking about having Rose meet his parents, you know that shenanigans are about to ensue!
I truly believe that this is the best Rose Gardner book to date. It is suspenseful, funny, dramatic, heart wrenching and full of surprises, not all of them good ones. Denise has created such an awesome group of characters that mesh so well together that the reader can’t help but be invested in them and their lives. Even grumpy old curmudgeonly Mildred would be welcome around the dinner table if I were able to invite them all to a meal. That would be a meal that would be remembered and go down in the record books in my opinion!
But, I predict that there will be some grumbling and even backlash from some of Rose’s readers for some of the things that happen in this book. I do, however, believe that these things are happening for the greater good of the series and for the characters in the book. I believe that they are necessary for each character to evolve and mature into the people they are meant to be. Each of these characters has already matured in each of the books, with Rose doing most of the growing. I do hate the fact that I read this book early and I have to wait so long for the next one to come out!! I give this book and this whole series 5 books (I’d give them a million plus if I could!).
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About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten houses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period. Her hobbies include witty Facebook comments (in own her mind) and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.) Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks. She has six children and hasn’t lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe.