The Garden of Blue Roses by Michael Barsa *Review+Book Tour+Giveaway*

Thank you so much TLC Book Tours for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and for having me on this book tour!  An odd story with bits of dark humor thrown in, a mystery and an eccentric unreliable narrator built up this unique gothic fiction.  As a debut novel this was really well done and I’m excited to see what is next for Michael.  I gave this 3.5 stars!

“I didn’t trust his death.  Father was an author. He was words.  You can’t kill words.”

Goodreads Synopsis

A car lies at the bottom of an icy ravine. Slumped over the steering wheel, dead, is the most critically acclaimed horror writer of his time. Was it an accident? His son Milo doesn’t care. For the first time in his life, he’s free. No more nightmarish readings, spooky animal rites, or moonlit visions of his father in the woods with a notebook and vampire make-up.

Or so he thinks.

Milo settles into a quiet routine—constructing model Greek warships and at last building a relationship with his sister Klara, who’s home after a failed marriage and brief career as an English teacher. Then Klara hires a gardener to breathe new life into their overgrown estate. There’s something odd about him—something eerily reminiscent of their father’s most violent villain. Or is Milo imagining things? He’s not sure. That all changes the day the gardener discovers something startling in the woods. Suddenly Milo is fighting for his life, forced to confront the power of fictional identity as he uncovers the shocking truth about his own dysfunctional family—and the supposed accident that claimed his parents’ lives.

My Experience

From the beginning you could tell Milo was an eccentric character.  It was hard to get a read on him and as the story goes on you realize just how unreliable he is.  Yet he’s likable and self aware of his unreliable nature which makes sympathizing with him a bit easier.  It was hard to grasp what exactly had happened versus what didn’t but I think that was what made the story more interesting.   He also had random moments of dark humor that was actually unexpected and kind of chuckle worthy.

Milo’s sister, Klara, and the gardener, Henri, were both interesting in their own ways too and at times I questioned not just what was going on but who was real or not!  And as a flower lover I loved the story line of the rose garden.

I will say the writing style was not really for me.  I know it was to make Milo unreliable and different, but for some reason I felt sort of disconnected the whole time.  Not that it was bad writing, I thought Michael did a good job with smilies and metaphors and poetic writing, it just didn’t happen to fully capture me.  However, I do think it could really hook others.

I recommend giving this for a quick, 200 page, gothic fiction and mystery with an odd ball unreliable narrator who is actually quite fun to read!

There is a giveaway, US only, going on on my Instagram @Katyslibrary right now, ends 7/11, for one copy of this book 🙂




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