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Reviewed by Lisa McCombs for Readers' Favorite
Self-assured, beautiful, funny Rose Badger is rarely caught off her game. All the boys in town know it and she knows they do. Rose is always in control, but when newcomer Jonah Livingstone enters her vintage boutique in Blake’s Folly, she senses a slip in her composure, a doubt in her stance. Who is this man and why is he in Second Hand Rose looking for a gift for a mysterious woman who evidently isn’t interested in anything remotely vintage. Rose is not lacking in male company. It is common knowledge that she is available for any number of casual dinner or lunch invitations. She just isn’t available for permanent relationships. So, why does Jonah’s presence unnerve her so? And, more importantly, why does she feel the need to bare her highly guarded secrets to him?
Desert Rose: Romance in Blake's Folly by J. Arlene Culiner is a fun, fast-moving romance unlike any other read by this reviewer. Rose Badger is a likable and oddly relatable character, especially to the free-spirited reader of the twenty-first century. Even the most independent woman will appreciate Rose’s style. Culiner’s use of contemporary language and laissez-faire attitude is refreshing, yet endearing. The vivid details bring the reader up close and personal with the town watering hole, the Mizpah Hotel. Town locals are realistic in their time-gone-by colorful entertainment. I can smell the dust of old fabric in Second Hand Rose. This is truly a story of mature love, gender respect, and classic story telling absent in so many books of today. Kudos to J. Arlene Culiner!