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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Verlaine Crawford created her own secret garden, one to rival the garden that inspired Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. I have a secret garden, too, created similarly out of love and respect for all that is beautiful and profound in nature. Crawford’s Endless Shades of the Mystical Rose pays tribute to her secret garden and the love that both inspired and challenged the emotions she experienced while living in a home that was her castle in more ways than the name it was given: High Castle. There she was able to write, travel, share her mystical inner self with others seeking solace, and create a comforting venue where art and nature could thrive. That was before it came crashing down, metaphorically speaking, when her husband and love of her life informed her that he’d found someone else. It was the beginning of a new emotional journey of self-discovery and redefining one’s inner self. But, through it all, the roses and flowers bloomed with perfection and beauty: “We are that rose of infinite color/ And at our center, the rose does flower./ We are blossoming forth for all to see/ Let us laugh and rejoice to be free.”
Verlaine Crawford’s Endless Shades of the Mystical Rose: A Poetic Personal Journal of Life and Love, is a tender and compassionate poetic look at one person’s journey through love, grief, and redefining. The poems are mostly rhyming verse; simple messages of mystical connectivity with the natural world, particularly with roses. Each poem is accompanied by a spectacular photograph of a rose, or a collection of roses, adding a visual dimension to the presentation of the poet’s journey through the many stages of love and all that is beautiful. Hers is a healing journey, confronting the deeper issues of love and loss. The unbridled connection between love, life, and, yes, roses, is cleverly expanded by metaphor in verses like this: “Focused like a magnifying glass,/ we study the most minute details./ We sense, see, smell, and feel/ a rose and develop energy in motion,/ e-motion around the concept of Love.” Powerful words. This is a book to enjoy over time, to savor with compassion, and to reflect on all that we find relevant to our own lives. An absolutely deeply beautiful, sublime book.