REVIEW: Four White Roses by Judy Ann Davis
When widower Rich Redman returns to Pennsylvania with his young daughter to sell his deceased grandmother’s house, he discovers Grandmother Gertie’s final request was for him to find a missing relative and a stash of WWI jewels.
Torrie Larson, single mom, is trying to make her landscape center and flower arranging business succeed while attempting to save the lineage of a rare white rose brought from Austria in the 1900s.
Together, the rich Texas lawyer and poor landscape owner team up to rescue the last rose and fulfill a dead woman’s wishes. But in their search to discover answers to the mysteries surrounding them, will Rich and Torrie also discover love in each other’s arms? Or will a meddling ghost, a pompous banker, and an elusive stray cat get in their way?
Dear Ms. Davis,
Usually I don’t read paranormals because urban fantasy, vampire and shifter books generally don’t appeal to me. But I love roses and the cover for this one seemed to call out to me to sit a spell and enjoy a cool breeze and the fragrance of flowers. This turned out to be a sweeter romance with some lovely characters but the issues were almost too neatly dealt with.
Rich and his precocious daughter Estella arrive in central Pennsylvania with the help of single mother Torrie who comes to the rescue when Rich’s newly purchased SUV breaks down. Why Rich, who seemingly has buckets of money, bought this used POS makes no sense since he and Torrie already know each other. Anyway, Rich isn’t wild about having to leave his legal practice in Dallas in order to deal with his late grandmother’s estate but he hopes it will be a quick fix and he can unload the white elephant house.
Of course a letter from his grandmother – (conveniently) overlooked for two years – nixes that as she set him on two searches. Rich also has to have the house updated and buy a new car. Magical Marlene (no she’s not the paranormal part) can seemingly fix or arrange for just about everything to happen and comes to Rich and Estella’s rescue by suggesting a local widow to housekeep for them. Lulu is one of my favorite characters and any scene with her was a delight.
Soon Rich is neck deep in the local issues including the lovely Torrie, her daughter Iris and taking care of the things his grandmother wanted him to see to. There are also other problems in town including someone pressuring Torrie for a relationship. This man quickly became little short of a caricature of the evil villain and I spent the book wondering how the town would let him get away with half of what he does.
Recently we had an op piece here about how rich heroes and Dukes are security blankets in romances. Rich falls into this category. He’s not a bazillionaire CEO but he’s got enough of the green stuff to throw around at any problem. He tells Torrie how much he admires her independence and hard work then goes about fixing all her problems – sometimes without even really consulting her first – with cash. Buy this, replace that, don’t worry about a thing, Torrie.
Torrie has had six years of hard effort raising her daughter alone – while even here she had strong family support in town – and getting a business started. I can understand how she’d want some safety and security but Rich almost smothers her with it. The amount of time it took Torrie to decide to accept Rich slowed down the romance to a crawl. And for a woman who has been fending off an unwanted relationship with a pushy guy, Rich pushes a lot too. I guess since he’s the hero and doesn’t do it with a sneer on his face that makes it different.
The two things Grandma Gertie wants done become almost an afterthought. Rich, along with helpful Marlene, Lulu and Torrie, does get them done so his grandmother can finally – rest in peace, go to the light? Surprisingly I liked her many brief visitations with her grandson and Rich’s befuddled acceptance of them. As I mentioned earlier, housekeeper Lulu is beyond fabulous. Estella and Iris are also charming yet totally seven year old girls and definitely not plot moppets. I just wish that heaps o’ cash hadn’t smoothed over every bump in the road and that the romance had just a touch more zing. C+