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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Tales of the Rose by Abby Gordon is a historical romance set in the Order of the Rose series. Starting with The Madness of Catalan, Owain, devoted to Wales, the Order, and Elizabeth Tudor, falls for Anna Elizabeta, leading to a fight against the Sons of Scion. The Courage of the Rose follows Edward Talbor, aspiring to marry Celeste Black but faces treason. Owain's cousin Daffyd defies nobility for love. In The Honor of the Rose, Anna seeks to heal her York branch while others make life-altering decisions. Tales shift perspectives and from Madness, Marco and Anna seek vengeance; from Courage, London Roses Miles and George hold onto faith; and from Honor, Sir Godfrey, Sir Jasper, and Geoffrey fight to protect their branch.
Tales of the Rose is a whopping epic saga in which author Abby Gordon threads back through content from the series previously left on the cutting room floor. I really enjoyed how Gordon was able to piece this patchwork together into a beautiful whole tapestry that has everything one hopes for in historical fiction. I enjoyed the character dynamic between Anna and Marco, and the grey moral areas around loyalty, sacrifice, and the price of revenge. There is a scene where Marco must face consequences, and the cost for Anna to save him makes for an impossible choice. Gordon is also able to make the obstacles of cultural barriers feel authentic, and they are overcome in believable ways. Cultural curiosity and mutual respect are not easy to achieve but through the English and French Roses, Gordon masters it. The stories have love and grief wrapped up together, but it is Gordon's prose that breathes life into them. "Her voice so clear in his mind that he was certain she stood next to him. Go home, my love. Be strong, my love." An excellent novel. Very highly recommended.