In the west of Ireland, Iris — mother to adopted daughter, Rose — is doing her best to carry on after the death of her husband.
Nineteen-year-old Rose, a violinist at the Royal Academy in London, still grieves for her father, but music and life in the city sustain her, until one day she faces into an important master class with a virtuoso violinist and finds herself in doubt of her talent when the concert ends in disaster.
After a doctor’s phone call, Iris is haunted by the promise she made to her husband — to find Rose’s birth mother, so that their daughter might still have family if anything were to happen to Iris. Armed only with a twenty-year-old envelope, she begins a journey into the past that takes her to Boston and back to Ireland, with unexpected results for herself and for Rose.
“Breen’s characters immediately invite the reader to go on a heartwrenching journey that’s enhanced by her skillful plotting and authentic, lyrical descriptions of the Emerald Isle. A moving first novel.”— Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Check off one novel: I read, and liked, “Her Name Is Rose” by Christine Breen. I kept it in part because it was an adoption story. It’s a novel about a mother who is afraid she may receive a cancer diagnosis and whose husband just died of cancer, searching for her college-age daughter’s birth mother so that the girl won’t be alone in the world. Much of the action centers around that search, but it’s largely a plot driver. The emotional center of the book is really about people learning to trust one another more than it is about genetics and parentage. If you like a somewhat romantic book, “Her Name Is Rose” is a good one. I’d put it on the shelf with “The Secrets of Midwives” by Sally Hepworth. — Motherlode NYTimes: Shelf, iPad, Bed Table: Reading, May 2015 KJ Dell’Antonia
“Making her debut, Breen has created a warmhearted and poignant story. It focuses on Iris’s physical and emotional journey, but supporting narratives from Rose and other bit players help flesh out the enormity of Iris’s mission. Fans of Maeve Binchy and Catherine Ryan Hyde will appreciate this witty story of family, acceptance, and the power of belonging.”— Booklist
“The story is beautifully written, with lovely descriptions of people and places, and an underlying feeling of conviction and love.” — Kelly Strom, The News-Gazette