THE GOLD ROSE
Jodi Lea Stewart
Publisher: Progressive Rising Phoenix Press
Date of Publication: February 21, 2023
Number of Pages: 372 pages
Since the early 1940s, THE GOLD ROSE, a secret rescue agency with Asian origins, has used unique systems to ferret out and save victims in every corner of the world. Charlotte Hunt-Basse has faced dangerous and often deadly challenges in her decade as an agent with the agency, not the least of which was the past rescues of two of her assignments, Pinkie and Babe.
Two-year-old Pinkie is discovered abandoned on a dirt road during a violent storm. She is whisked off to Mexico by oil heir Clint Sutton and his girlfriend, Angelina, as they attempt to escape the lies of Clint’s father’s second wife. Three years later, Pinkie is stolen away to Argentina by an aging Romani. Pinkie suffers from the malice of her captor but wins the fatherly love of a Buenos Aires circus owner and his fiance. Shortly after landing in the crosshairs of THE GOLD ROSE, Pinkie’s life takes two more shocking twists. When the agency locates Pinkie again, Agent Charlotte must throw all caution to the wind to rescue her.
Babe, the child of Texas-based missionaries, is hidden by two Chinese families during the Japanese invasion and ensuing Communist takeover of China. She is forced by the second family to live incognito as a “boy” for several years to save her from soldiers invading China from the North. Martial arts are banned, but the grandfather of the family teaches Babe Yǒng Chūn in deepest secrecy. The civil war escalates, and Babe finds herself on a dangerous quest for survival as she journeys alone through enemy territory toward the faintest hope of rescue.
Clueless Gent’s Rating for The Gold Rose
The Gold Rose is a good story with an impressive amount of great action. It runs the full gamut of human emotion, and it takes the underdog motif to a refreshing level – thrice!
The story follows the adventures of three women—Charlotte, Pinkie and Babe—as they traverse a number of horrible obstacles as they grow from young girls into young women. Each woman has her own unique story in her own unique setting, ranging from Texas to Mexico to China and beyond. The only similarity between the three is that they all need some type of help to break free of the oppression that encompasses them.
Each of the three stories is told separately, with chapters alternating between them. Charlotte’s story is told in the first person narrative, while the other two are told in third person.
The timeline of the stories spans from just before World War Two to the late 1950s. However, although the three stories are told between alternating chapters, they are not told chronologically. Time-wise, Charlotte’s story starts after the other two, despite it beginning in the first chapter. It doesn’t seem to me that Charlotte is telling the stories of Pinkie and Babe to the reader, which make this timeline presentation a bit offsetting to me.
I think the author did a great job with the overall description. With the story taking places in a number of countries, there are plenty of opportunities for description to be included without being overdone. Further, the author incorporated more than just the sense of sight. For example, this is how the author described a hallway one of the characters came upon: “The hallway reeks of urine-soaked carpet, almost making me gag. The scent-ghosts of smoke and a thousand spilled liquors haunt the soured corridors.”
Within each woman’s story, there are other significant characters that are unique to that story. Some are pretty integral to the plot. These characters somewhat disappear from the story and are only brought up again as backstory near the end of the book. In each story, it is only logical that there will be a union between these other characters and the main women at some point. I think these reunions could and should have been handled differently in the story. I acknowledge, however, that this would make the book longer. Maybe that’s why the author handled it the way she did.
It may appear by some of my comments that I did not enjoy the story. That’s not true! I did enjoy it. I thought the storylines were very original, and the situations these girls were put in are somewhat shocking, yet highly believable. I happen to love good underdog stories—and this is one of them. Actually, it’s three of them!
Signed copy of The Gold Rose plus a custom Gold Rose laptop carrying case
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