(Reviewed by J.D. Jung)
“… the greatest thing about Malagueños is that they will never ask you about your past or ask you to divulge.”
That’s why Rose felt so comfortable here. People came to Málaga to go unnoticed. That was fine with her. But what brought her to this point in her life?
Nineteen year old Rose Santo Domingo was to graduate in the spring from the New England Conservatory. She lived and breathed the violin; she knew and experienced nothing else. Music was her passion. She was in awe of the instructor of her symphony section, Maestro Christophe Fredrick Johansson, with whom she studied with for three years. However, what started out as an infatuation led to a huge mistake that would change her path in life.
Rose was forced to leave Boston and go back home to California. She found herself in a deep depression and could barely get out of bed. She didn’t connect with her family, except for one person: her paternal grandmother. She learned about this woman’s past which not only provided a bond, but prompted her to take action. So she left upscale Malaga Cove in Palos Verdes, California and travel to Málaga, Spain–just like her grandmother did in 1946 when she left Mexico and went to Málaga. However it was for totally different reasons.
Rose of Málaga is a riveting story of a naïve young woman seeking to experience the unfamiliar– an adventure—as she tries to figure out her life. After facing family discord and certain connections, we follow Rose through her personal journey in Spain, meeting new people and encountering new experiences.
Not only is the writing is so delectable and the characters credible, but I feel that there is some aspect of the story that all readers will be able to identify with.
However, what particularly impressed me was that author Bobbi Verdugo could have taken the easy route and made this another trite “feel good” novel that we’ve all read before. It would have been an easy trap to fall into. Instead, the events are believable and while personable, Ms. Verdugo proceeds with just the right amount of detachment as she tells the story. Though the ending is satisfying it is not your typical “happily ever after” conclusion.
I hope that Ms. Verdugo continues the story of Rose Santo Domingo. I want to learn what she experiences in the next chapter of her life.