Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Roses for Rachel by Dianne Miley

Young widow Rachel Santos raises her daughters alone and tries to get past the pain of losing her cheating husband. Attracted to pretty boys, she goes from one bad relationship to another. When she dumps her cheating boyfriend, someone vandalizes her home and sabotages her job. Faithful Elliot Truman catches this demented stalker... and convinces her some men are worth loving.

I believe Roses for Rachel is my favorite of the series and mostly because of Elliot Truman. A geeky architect, Elliot's character brings to mind the old adage "let's just be friends". He's the dependable guy that Rachel turns to in a best friend but she never looks beyond friendship. He's the source of her strength and she doesn't even realize it. Meanwhile, all Elliot can think of is Rachel. It was so funny when she would ask him a question and he would try to do whatever made Rachel happy, while snapping out of a Rachel fantasy. My heart simply melted during the scenes Elliot deals with Rachel's children. To me, the way a man deals with children is what really makes him a hero.

Rachel's character is a strong woman who has her moments of weakness and feels as though God has forsaken her. The heartache of not having Elliot around is palpable but Rachel has to somehow learn her lesson. A single mom dealing with more than her share of stumbling blocks, Rachel's character is as realistic as they come. I've been where Rachel is (minus the whole dead husband thing) and found that Ms. Miley hit the nail on the head with Rachel's reactions.

I enjoyed the way Ms. Miley added other people to the potential relationship between Rachel and Elliot. Wade, the slimy salesman and Brandy, the rich young woman who would do anything Elliot wanted, were attainable but at what cost? I think these relationships were pivotal in Roses for Rachel because without them, neither Rachel or Elliot would have known how strong their love for each other was.

Roses for Rachel is a character driven story with unexpected twists and turns. At times during this book, I was left scratching my head as to whom the stalker could be. I love mystery in the stories I read and this was a phenomenal mystery. I highly recommend the entire Crystal Falls series and look forward to reading Sarita's story in Sunflowers for Sarita. After that, there is a spin off of this series called the Charleston Series which deals with the daughters in the Crystal Falls series. I just can't wait! I will own all of these books in paperback so that I may revisit them whenever I like.

Lilacs for Laura Book 1
Roses for Rachel Book 2
Violets for Vanessa Book 3
Sunflowers for Sarita (coming soon)