Review: Blue Rose in Chelsea by Adriana Devoy

I was approached by Adriana Devoy, and asked if I would be interested in reading and reviewing her novel, Blue Rose in Chelsea.  After a quick look at the book, I was instantly intrigued by both the title and the cover art. How could I not be? Today I present

About the book:

Haley Barrett senses that her life is about to forever change when she spies a blue rose in a Chelsea gateway.

She drops out of Princeton, heeding an intuition that there is something she must find before it is too late, and takes a job as a nanny for an Upper West Side family. In a blues club one night, she falls for the charismatic Evan Candelier, an actor whose star is rising. Evan’s façade of perfection begins to crack when he meets Haley, yet he keeps her at a mystifying distance. 

Haley’s dashing rock musician brother conspires to keep them apart and return Haley to the Ivy League. Haley finds a “fairy godmother” in the irrepressible Sinclair Wellington, a costumer and Scottish count. Sinclair sews for Haley an enchanted velvet coat, entangles her in elegant misadventures to win Evan, all the while insisting that in matters of love, nothing is impossible. Until, one snowy day, Sinclair’s lost love from decades past reappears to upend his world.

From brownstones to bookshops, cafes to cathedrals, artist garrets to glittering avenues this circle of bohemians wend their way through late 80’s Manhattan. No fairytale is complete without a castle (in Scotland), a ball (at Tavern On The Green), and a revelation, (in a vineyard at twilight) that will surprise and delight.

My Review:

Alternately described as a modern day Cinderella story or a romance; neither quite does justice to this beautifully written tale.  A book that will capture the imagination of both younger and older readers, ripe with the inclusion of beautifully detailed imagery that makes free and frequent use of New York City as a character.

Haley is a child of books; all readers will understand and relate to her instantly.  A reader that is capable of integrating the books she knows and loves into her personality, and draws on those favored lines frequently in her interactions.  It is a trait that could be quite pretentious and affected if overdone, and yet she is so earnest and guileless in her delivery and manner that it is merely a unique characteristic.

We are allowed to see her develop from an Ivy League dropout, unsure of fitting in, and certain that she has to do “something” impressive to be valued into a woman on the cusp of 40, still maintaining that tie to the young girl who saw the world as full of magic and miracles, to be greeted with anticipation.

It’s truly difficult to point to any one character as a favorite: all of the characters are unique and lively, full of the good and bad that truly creates a human being.  Yes, there is a love story, but there are many – it isn’t just about a happily ever after for one pair.  The story is very much a faerie tale in feel, although there are moments of sadness and loss, the hopefulness and vision that Haley views the world also is strongly present for those around her.

Once opened, this book was difficult to put down, and all distractions were unwelcomed and intrusive.  In the midst of a metropolis, the author created a story-line that muffles the noises and sweetens the smells, putting the city and its scenery into a snow-globe vision that is filled with moments of recognition.  From these odd moments of cityscape, the blue rose appears, rare, unique and special. Much like this book.

I give Blue Rose in Chelsea 5 of 5 stars!

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