Read of the Week

The Snow Rose

Lulu Taylor

Pan

Review: Lauren O’Connor-May

The Snow Rose is a curious read. Perhaps I missed it but to me it seems as if this book has a complete absence of a discernible genre.

When I first picked it out from the review pile I wondered what I was getting myself into. The cover looked spooky, with a bit of a Virginia Andrews feel to it.

“Is this a horror?” I wondered. It isn’t, not really, but it does get spooky at times.

The novel starts out a bit like a thriller, with smatterings of chick lit. The lead character is on the run, as the back cover informs. She’s running from a great many mysterious things, it seems. As the chapters pass, the curiousities of why she is running and hiding aren’t resolved but intensified.

And then, midway through the book, just after the first major plot twist – which is very cleverly hinted at since the beginning of the story – boom! A complete change of storyline.

Just like that, the novel suddenly picks up in the middle of a family inheritance squabble, several decades earlier.

This alternating storyline is linked to the first but this is not obvious from the outset. In this secondary storyline, the eldest sister and only heir of the family’s vast estate, surprises her younger sisters by becoming entrenched with a doomsday preacher.

Deviating deeper into a new genreless realm, the story becomes increasingly strange as an ever-increasing number of quirky characters are added.

Then both storylines pick up the chick lit thread again as the former begins to resolve itself and the latter builds into a rather sweet love story.

And if that is not enough, throw in a bit of mania, a teensy bit of philosophy, an orgy and a good solid dollop of weirdness and only then will you start to get an idea of what this book is like.