My latest review for Catholic Fiction.net is for a novel by Tom Milton called A Shower of Roses. It is the story of Eva, a Polish Catholic nurse who falls in love with Marek, an activist who works for the CIA. The story goes back and forth between 1981 and previous years in flashbacks.
Let me start by saying that I have enjoyed Tom Milton’s previous books. He has a solid easy-to-read writing style with good stories. What drew me to this one was the title. The book begins with a quote from St. Thérèse, “I will spend my heaven doing good on earth; I will let fall a shower of roses.” I also was intrigued by the main character, Eva’s, desire to follow St. Thérèse’s Little Way and I wondered how the author would implement this in the novel.
However, Eva is about as naive as they come. It’s her desire to be a saint. Yet she marries Marek, a self-proclaimed atheist, who does not hide that he’s an atheist, although he keeps plenty of other things secret. Eva promises Marek that she will love him unconditionally. Time and again, he purposefully tests this unconditional love. Without giving away the ending, I found that, on the one hand, it was perverse, and on the other, predictable.
Eva is a kind soul who tries to follow St. Thérèse’s Little Way. However, this plot line was not developed enough, especially in light of the fact that the title of the book is “Shower of Roses.” Milton’s books tend to be heavy on dialogue, which I generally don’t mind. However, some of the dialogue seemed forced, especially Marek’s words, which, for the most part, came off as robotic and unemotional.
Warning: there are adult themes and there is one scene that is R rated. As well, this book contains swearing so I would not recommend it for young teens.
Milton’s overall writing style is good, but some of the characters in this novel could have been better developed.
All that being said, if you have read Milton’s other novels and have enjoyed them, you may like this one. For me personally, though, it wasn’t as compelling or believable as his other novels.
Copyright 2011 Ellen Gable Hrkach