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Black Rose - Hardcover
Book two of Roberts's In the Garden trilogy (following Blue Dahlia) ably showcases the author's many strengths, from her creation of appealing characters to her melding of the eerily paranormal with the delightfully down-to-earth. Rosalind Harper is the owner of a historic Tennessee mansion and the force behind the thriving garden business on its grounds. Widowed young and then scarred by an unwise second marriage, Roz has sworn off dating, instead inviting a collection of family, friends and their children to share her home. Unfortunately, the house is also inhabited by a mysterious ghost, known as the Harper Bride. Roz hires genealogist Dr. Mitchell Carnagie to track the Bride's identity, but the unpredictable and passionate relationship that develops between the two sets off still more malignant displays from the ghost. Roberts postpones the ghost story's resolution for the trilogy's end, but brings Roz and Mitch to a satisfying commitment complete with realistic power struggles and peace treaties among their various children. Roz's inherited privilege is off-putting at times, and her calm in the face of ghostly attacks seems far-fetched. Yet she remains a warmly appealing heroine, resolutely finding her path through a midlife romance that is more complex and hard-fought than 20-something love