Whatever Happened To Rosa Lee?

Christian - Fiction
150 Pages
Reviewed on 05/16/2024
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Author Biography

I am a retired computer programmer, but I am just a "country girl" at heart. I love hearing/reading about the simpler life from the "days gone by" before the fast-paced technology "invaded" our world. The stories my grandmother used to share with me about her life finally inspired me to write the fictional Dovie Series stories (my first set of books) about that time period.

I have also always loved reading mysteries. That led me to a desire to "try my hand" at a mystery novel. Hence, the old-west style mystery novel "Whatever Happened To Rosa Lee?" came into being.

I live in a beautiful, tiny little town called Good Hope, and, like Dovie from my Dovie Series books, I, too, have goats! ;)

    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Whatever Happened to Rosa Lee? is a young adult Western mystery novel by J.L. Stone. Benjamin Alfred Sweetwater III is a sixteen-year-old teen who has left his home in Alabama to lend a helping hand on his grandfather's ranch in Shady Falls. However, soon after his arrival in Shady Falls, misfortune strikes as the town sheriff Alan Jackson's daughter, Rosa Lee, goes missing. All the evidence points toward Ben's involvement in Rosa Lee's disappearance, and the sheriff is eager to make him pay. After being arrested as the primary suspect, Ben feels truly lost, and his only hope lies in the hands of God. Meanwhile, he has to share a jail cell with rustlers caught stealing local cattle. Can Ben prove himself innocent? Will Rosa Lee be found?

Part Western, part sleuth mystery, Whatever Happened to Rosa Lee? is an absorbing novella that keeps you engaged up until the end. J.L. Stone has crafted a captivating coming-of-age tale filled with mystery and intrigue. This is a story about justice, faith, and hope amid adversity. Stone's narrative is crisp and concise, as the author barely wastes a word and spins a captivating yarn that's bound to take you by surprise with the ending. Most of the characters are likable, including the protagonist, Ben. Although young, Ben displays remarkable fortitude and resilience against adversity through his faith in God. I also liked the secondary characters, such as Ida Mae and her friend, Running Elk. All in all, this is a fast-paced novella that I breezed through in one sitting. If you're looking for a light-hearted sleuth story, you won't go wrong with this one!

Grant Leishman

Whatever Happened to Rosa Lee? by J L Stone is a simple novella set in the old West. Fifteen-year-old Benjamin Alfred Sweetwater has left his safe, comfortable family life in Alabama to head to his elderly grandfather's farm out west. Benjamin has never met his grandfather but he is going to assist him in running the farm in his later years. After meeting the sheriff’s daughter, Rosa Lee, in town, she offers to ride with him to show him the way to his grandfather’s farm. After a loving reunion with his grandfather, Ben is shocked and terrified to find himself in the town jail awaiting trial for the disappearance and possible murder of Rosa Lee. Ben, the last known person to have seen Rosa Lee alive, is suspect number one and the sheriff, her father, is out for blood. Ben and his grandfather have but a few days to find Rosa Lee and probably save himself from the hangman’s noose. Throw some ruthless cattle rustlers into the mix and you have all the makings of a Wild West mystery.

Whatever Happened to Rosa Lee? is a short, punchy story that is easy to read in a single sitting. Author J L Stone has created an interesting mystery that is clean and suitable for all ages. Although it is listed as Christian fiction, the faith component is very small, and although significant to the principal character, it does not define the story in any way. The story is first and foremost a missing person narrative and the search for answers to clear Ben’s name and potentially save his life. Due to the short length of the novel, the focus is very much on plot and action rather than character development but the author has managed to create some interesting twists and turns. I particularly appreciated how the sheriff’s relationship with the missing Rosa Lee allowed his judgment and sense of fairness to be somewhat distorted from his official role as a lawman to that of a worried father. The character of the judge as a leveling counter to the sheriff’s rashness is also telling. This is a gentle, fun read that flows effortlessly through the events portrayed. I can recommend this to anyone who appreciates a cozy Wild West story.

Nino Lobiladze

Fifteen-year-old Ben Sweetwater arrives from Alabama in a small Western town to offer his rancher grandfather a helping hand. Rosa Lee, the daughter of the local sheriff, Alan Jackson, is eager to show him the way to Mr. Sweetwater's ranch. She leads Ben to the forest near the ranch, where they say goodbye to each other. Soon after meeting his grandfather, Ben learns from the outraged Sheriff Jackson and his deputy, Hal Winters, that Rosa Lee is missing, and he is the last person who spoke to her. Sheriff Jackson throws Ben in jail. Reverend Johnson advises Ben to seek the Lord through prayer. Will Ben prove his innocence to the desperate father of the missing girl? Whatever Happened to Rosa Lee? by J. L. Stone is for fans of mystery, suspense, Christian fiction, drama, Western, and historical fiction.

In J. L. Stone's Whatever Happened to Rosa Lee? the events unfold very quickly. The twists in the plot are nail-biting, and it is easy to root for the main character, Ben. The suspense grows gradually, and the carefully crafted versions of what may have happened to Rosa Lee engage us in the narrative. Also, Stone enables us to experience the atmosphere of a historical Western town, where people can be rude, yet they work hard, and prayer is an integral part of their lives. Ben finds himself in a difficult situation. While the sheriff is biased, Ben can rely only on the Lord and His higher justice. The author explores how our faith changes when impacted by life challenges. I especially recommend this meaningful book to young adult readers who want to feel a connection with the Lord.


Fantastic reading! Exciting from beginning to end!