Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Book Review: Salting Roses by Lorelle Marinello

Welcome to the next stop in the TLC Book Tour
for Lorelle Marinello's Salting Roses!

Salting Roses: A NovelFrom the ARC's back cover:

Gracie Lynne Calloway-- once left on a coal bucket on a front porch in a small southern Alabama town-- discovers on her twenty-fifth birthday that she is the kidnapped daughter of a late New England financier and heiress to a fortune.  When the tabloid press and her unwanted greedy relatives descend on her, she has to admit the quiet secure life she's known and loved is gone for good.  As Gracie struggles to stabilize her world and come to terms with her new identity, she learns that belonging is not about where you come from but who you are.

*          *          *

I’ve always been partial to Cinderella stories.  And while Salting Roses isn’t a textbook Cinderella retelling, it does have the delight, romance, conflict and transformation found in that type of tale.

Gracie Calloway’s predicament seems incredible— she is an heiress to a multi-million dollar fortune, kidnapped as an infant, raised in a small Alabama town, completely unaware of her true identity.  Eventually her past catches up with her.  She’s forced to choose between her old life in the country and a possible new life with the rich and famous.  Millions of dollars would be a welcome inheritance for many, but not for Gracie.  She loves her simple life, away from the high-handed world she could be abiding in Connecticut as "Katherine Hammond".  But if she turns her back on the fortune, the money will surely be squandered by foolish and lecherous family members. Or she could dump it all on the secondarily-named beneficiary—Sam Fontana, the charming and handsome friend of the family who doesn’t want the overwhelming fortune for himself either.  Predicaments abound!

Lorelle Marinello
I really enjoyed Lorelle Marinello’s debut work.  The story was fun, suspenseful, heart-tugging and even philosophical at times.  I found myself placing notes on pages with interesting quotes.  Her characters were entertaining as well—they were colorful without being over the top or stereotyped.  I especially liked Gracie’s friends and loved ones.  They truly cared about her, often expressing that love through tough-talk and heartfelt lectures. Of her multiple caregivers, one in particular is notably wise, ministering and has a poignant journey of his own.

Gracie was an interesting figure.  She was part tough-girl who loved baseball and could stand up for herself in almost any situation.  Yet when it came to matters of the heart—how she felt about her family, her love life and how she saw herself—she could be insecure and as emotional as any woman around her.  I liked that she was smart and didn’t let her emotions rule her life, yet she was sensitive and caring to others.  When the inheritance comes, she’s more interested in figuring out how she’s going to give it to people in her community than how to use it for herself.

Salting Roses is a relationship story, but it also has touches of mystery to it.  Almost until the very end, family and community secrets are revealed that change Gracie’s perspective in dramatic ways.  The puzzle that is her life has many unforeseen pieces missing, and as they start to fall into place, the story somehow becomes more complex and yet culminating at the same time.  It makes for a very intriguing and page-turning read.  If I had a day alone to myself, I could have easily read this in one long sitting!

While romance is not the main theme of the novel, it does take up a significant portion of the plot.  When Gracie’s love interest was presented, I anticipated a frequently used and clich├ęd plot device to come into play.  Fortunately, Ms. Marinello did not go the way of many romantic comedies or made-for-TV movies. She chose a slightly different route, which was so refreshing.  Overall I enjoyed this storyline, and aside from a couple of moderately steamy love scenes, details of Gracie’s relationship were kept pretty clean.

I applaud Lorelle Marinello for her first novel.  Salting Roses was a treat to read, and I look forward to other works which may come from this new author.  Perhaps a sequel?  If so, I’ll be there!

Visit the other stops on the Salting Roses TLC Book Tour!

Lorelle's Website:

This title was provided by TLC Book Tours.
No obligation other than an honest review was required



  1. It's a fine line to balance between well-written and quirky characters and over-the-top stereotypes - I'm glad to see that this book has the former rather than the latter!

    Thanks for being a part of this tour. It's too bad you didn't have one whole day to yourself to devour it all, but this way you got to savor it longer. :)

  2. Heather--

    So true! I really did enjoy it. In fact, I brought the book back in my room tonight because I want to re-read the last chapter! Thanks for including me.


  3. Great review Laura. This sounds intriguing. I like the mystery element. Glad you enjoyed it.

  4. This book really sounds good.

    Stopping by from Cym Lowell's Book Party.

  5. Elizabeth-

    Thanks for stopping by! Yes, it was a fun read.


  6. This sounds like a great one. When I find myself marking off quotation upon quotation because I like them so much, that's a clue! Thanks for the review!

  7. Julie:

    Yes, when I prepped the ARC for its new owner, I had to flip through the book and pull out all sorts of post-it notes that I'd used to mark the notable spots!




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