Eleven-year-olds Nora and Charlotte were best friends. When their teenage babysitter, Rose, disappeared under mysterious circumstances, the girls decided to investigate. But their search - aided by paranormal theories and techniques gleaned from old Time-Life books - went nowhere. Years later, Nora, now in her late 20s, is drawn back to her old neighborhood - and to her estranged friend - when Rose's remains are finally discovered.
Upset over their earlier failure to solve the possible murder, Charlotte is adamant that they join forces and try again. But Nora was the last known person to see Rose alive, and she's not ready to revisit her troubled adolescence and the events surrounding the disappearance - or face the disturbing secrets that are already beginning to re-emerge.
It's not uncommon for childhood friends, no matter how close they once were, to eventually grow up and grow apart. But for Nora and Charlotte, the sudden disappearance of their beloved babysitter Rose prevented them from ever cutting ties completely. Years later, Rose's body has been found, and Nora is en route to visit Charlotte in their hometown of Waverly, Connecticut, to try to put the pieces together once again. Being the last person to see Rose before her disappearance, Nora feels the weight of the tragedy and finds herself questioning every member of the community, even those she always believed she could trust. Khristine Hvam narrates Emily Arsenault's In Search of the Rose Notes, giving voice to a myriad of characters, all of whom could be suspected of killing Rose.
While Arsenault lays the groundwork for an investigative, gripping murder mystery set in an idyllic Connecticut suburb, Hvam gives a chameleon-like performance of multiple characters of varying ages and backgrounds. Arsenault's novel jumps back and forth through time from 1991, just before Rose's disappearance, to 2006, when Nora and Charlotte must confront the tragedy once again. Hvram's ability to translate the deep, soothing voice of adult Nora into a vibrant childlike tone of the 11-year-old Nora is particularly enjoyable. As they begin to unearth dark details surrounding the event, Hvam's tone becomes increasingly investigative, discerning, and severe. Her versatile characterizations elevate the novel in a positively alarming way.
In Search of the Rose Notes wraps you into its addictive "whodunit" narrative quickly and deliberately, with Hvam as a valuable guide. Arsenault's tightly wound crime novel is a triumph in its own right, but Hvam's delivery will make the experience all the more pulse-pounding. Suzanne Day
“Dark and full of unexpected twists that will leave the reader guessing.... custom made for any mystery lover's keeper shelf.” (RT Book Reviews - Seal of Excellence)
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Well written images but a tedious story
The frequent jumps from present time to the past were substantially overdone. All the talk among the grade school friends, while initially cute and clever, became quite tedious. There are probably not that many mature people who are forever trapped in their school day memories and experiences and still suffering from high school angst.
What often makes a mystery interesting is the challenge of trying to solve it. In this case, crucial details are left until the very end. Yes, it was a surprise but very little of the story came close to hinting at the ending. The whole book could have been greatly abbreviated.
All the discussion among the childhood friends about strange phenomenon (aliens, magic, ghosts, etc.) may have been an attempt to add more mystery to the story about Rose but had little to do with her after all. The ending was quite anti-climatic
- Jim N
A good lite listen
Slightly predictable from the half way mark
I listened to it in one day, so I guess I thought it was pretty good. A disappearance/death, childhood friends, and the subject of memory. The book has that particular easy American unselfconsciousness that I associate with something that borders "chick lit" --not meant as a slur. I like chick lit because of its easiness. Because it doesn't hurt me in any way, the way that incisive literary social commentary does.