Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Soul of the Rose by Ruth Trippy

This is a novel written in the style of, say 150 years ago. The progress of the action is very slow, with lots of reflection done by the characters. Readers who like Jane Eyre would probably like this novel.

Celia has not recovered from the death of her friend, a friend with whom she had not shared the gospel. Her parents send her to another town to work in a bookstore owned by a couple they know. There she meets several people, including two men who are attracted to her. She also has a good male friend back home so there are three potential suitors.

The one pursuing her most intensely is Edward. Raised a Boston Brahmin, he does not share Celia's faith and that is a serious problem. Also, his first wife died under mysterious circumstances and there are mixed feelings about him in the village.

This is a novel more about ideas than action. There is much talk about science and the promotion of the (new) scientific method of investigation and its claim to be the only means to true knowledge. Darwin's book is also discussed along with the claims that science refutes religion. There are also conversations about literature and authors of the time. Counter to the science arguments are those of Pascal.

I found it hard to identify with the characters and I did not like Edward as a potential suitor. He could act like a gentlemen when needed, but the way he was portrayed, I would never have trusted him. When I finished the book, I did not have that “ah” feeling nor did I reach for a tissue. I had a bit of tension, wondering what the future would actually bring.

Ruth Trippy taught high school language arts, focusing in on American and British literature, and also pursued an interest in apologetics. A 19th century romance novel helped her focus on the roses in her marriage rather than the thorns and inspired her to write to help others. She and her husband live near Atlanta and have two grown children. Find out more at

Abingdon Press, 336 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

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