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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
A Rumor of Roses: Planting Seeds of God's Extravagant Love by Sally Klein O'Connor is a Christian autobiography outlining the time she has spent in parts of the world that are well known as places associated with genocide and systemic mass murder. O'Connor, an evangelical Christian with Jewish roots, found herself questioning the mercy of God where his people, believers or non, had been subjected to such pain and cruelty. As the anger began to subside, O'Connor was transformed through enlightenment and instead established a ministry that allowed for worship in a manner she connected with. As O'Connor begins to make pilgrimages to areas that were subjected to the most inhumane acts, she begins to hand out symbolic single stem roses to its current residents in a mission that has expanded beyond her wildest dreams.
Part memoir and part travel journal, A Rumor of Roses offers an interesting perspective on a unique form of ministry. Sally Klein O'Connor describes the places she's been and the driving force behind the process of getting there in great detail, including the receptiveness of locals and applicable scripture. This is a compact book that is weighty with regard to its substance, and I struggled to reconcile the ethics of the messages attached to the roses, as well as some of the stories. One, in particular, was of a Holocaust survivor who, despite being tortured through human experimentation at the hands of Dr. Josef Mengele, found it in her heart to forgive the Nazis. But this isn't about me, and this isn't about my personal feelings. This is the real-life experience of the author. O'Connor's work is able to bring respite to the people and surrounding communities who have grievously suffered, and sometimes just a single act of kindness is all it takes to allow for healing that is otherwise impossible to grasp.