One of the pleasures of reading is the surprise of discovering a new author. New to yourself, that is. Melanie Dobson was writing books long before I discovered The Winter Rose, a novel I chose randomly from a used bookstore.
Hopping back and forth between the past and present, The Winter Rose tells the story of Grace Tonquin, an American woman who follows her Quaker convictions to France, where she risks her life helping Jewish children flee to safety during World War II. Decades later another young woman, Adie Hoult, becomes entangled in Grace’s story while searching for an organ donor who can cure the man who rescued her from a wretched childhood.
Most of the characters in this tale suffer from emotional traumas. Grace’s mother Ruby, a fading movie star, remains a torment to her daughter even after the war, carousing in a secluded mansion in Oregon while Grace tries to build a new life for a handful of young refugees. One of them, Charlie, barely escaped death from Nazi hands, only to spend his life fleeing from memories that warped his youth. Interestingly, it is Charlie’s decision to devote his soul to God that saves Adie from her own self-destruction.
Dobson maintains an air of mystery as she reveals the relationships that develop among the many people thrown together by adverse circumstances. The characters who persevere do so by clinging to their believe in God, or by accepting His willingness to forgive their transgressions. The author has done an excellent job of historical research in this tribute to those who worked selflessly on behalf of war refugees.
The Winter Rose is a tribute to the power of selfless love, a five-star masterpiece that establishes Melanie Dobson as an innovator in the realm of Christian fiction.