Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Root, Petal, Thorn - Pub Day Review & Giveaway

Review by Deb Czajkowski
Fifteen years ago Ivy and Adam bought an old bungalow: old as in one hundred years old; old as in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Salt Lake City, Utah; old as in it should be on the Historical Registry. To this day, Ivy loves the old porch swing, the original old world design and charm, and the heirloom rose bush ─the Emmeline Rose─ named for the home’s original owner. The flip side to this collector’s coin is the requisite home-improvement projects, labors of love for both Ivy and Adam.

Until the fateful day Adam leaves for his morning run and is hit by a car.

Adam’s unexpected and untimely death shatters Ivy’s world.  At first Ivy succumbs to overwhelming depression and isolation.  But finally her brother intervenes, reminding Ivy that her two children need her to be present and functioning for them, if not for herself.  He suggests that she create goals ─small goals, doable goals─ that will give her focus and purpose each day.  Reasons to get out of bed.  Reasons to live.

And so begins an unforeseen journey; make that journeys.  When Ivy resumes the home projects list, she soon stumbles upon clues about her home’s previous inhabitants:  a young Mormon woman who is torn between her heart and her beliefs, a Greek immigrant woman who struggles with the terrors of World War II, a troubled single mother whose desperate desire is to raise her daughter.  As Ivy uncovers the journey that each of these women traveled, she realizes their stories provide lessons for her own journey. 

Will Ivy listen to these voices from the past? Will she hear that no one’s life is free from sadness, difficult decisions, tragedy, or struggles?  Will Ivy, like the Emmeline Rose, see the possibility of blooming again?

Author Ella Joy Olsen tells not one story in Root, Petal, Thorn but four stories, taking us back and forth in time from1913 to the present, uniting four lives, four stories, through one common bond ─the beloved bungalow. While each of the women has a very different story to tell, Olsen cleverly weaves another common thread through all four women, once again connecting all four lives: each of these women had her own difficult decision to make, each with consequences, each with historical or personal intrigue. 

I really enjoyed Root, Petal, Thorn, traveling back in time with Ivy. I also enjoyed watching her find her way back from death to life. Root, Petal, Thorn is a great reminder that no one’s life is strife-free.  It’s also a great reminder to choose life, to choose hope.  Lemonade, anyone?

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About the author:
Ella Joy Olsen was born, raised, and currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah - a tidy town tucked against the massive Wasatch Mountain Range. Though Utah is known mostly for Mormons and skiers, Ella is neither. But she loves her town! She lives in a historic brick bungalow on a tree-lined street in a sweet neighborhood called Sugar House. From her front door she can reach mountain trails in five minutes flat, passing an indie bookstore, a library, and a local food market en-route. Ella is the mom of three kids ranging from pre-teen to edge-of-the-nest teen, the mama of two dogs, and the wife of only one husband (just to clarify - she lives in Utah, after all).​​

Though she's crazy about words, Ella is also practical, so she graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Finance (ages ago). After years spent typing boring stuff, Ella eagerly gave up her corner cubicle and started writing fiction. Most at home in the world of the written word, Ella spent nearly a decade on the Board of Directors of the Salt Lake City Public Library system (and four decades browsing the stacks). She's a member of Women's Fiction Writers Association & the best book club ever (Salt Lake Bibliophiles). She's also lived in Seattle, Washington & Savannah, Georgia. 

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Kensington Books is giving one lucky winner
A print copy of Ella Joy Olsen’s new book
Root, Petal, Thorn

a Rafflecopter giveaway