Bea was a Christian woman well known in town for the roses she grew in her garden. However, what people couldn't see was the pain she carried inside of her soul because of a painful secret she had kept from her biological son to protect the relationship he shared with his adopted brother - a fact which isn't brought forth until the end of the book, though I had suspected about two thirds of the way through the story. Rest assured, by sharing this detail, I have not given the story away.
After her son, Tyler, had left home, Bea prayed every day for his return - but it never happened. Five years had passed when, in the early morning hours, she heard a knock on her door and opened it to learn her son had gotten killed in an accident. Her faith in God plummeted to an all-time low as she assumed He hadn't heard either prayer she prayed.
Not long afterwards, we learn Tyler had gotten married to Gemma, who had a daughter named Paisley when she met him. With Tyler gone, Bea was their only chance of survival but, when they knocked on her door, Bea welcomed them in briefly then watched them leave. Bea justified her actions as appropriate because she was unable to confirm in her own mind the story Gemma had shared with her, even if parts of what Gemma relayed to Bea could only have come from Tyler sharing such stories with her. It isn't long before Bea feels convicted in her spirit and allows them to move into her home for a while.
Without going into other details of the plot, I will summarize by saying this story will reach into the depths of your soul. You will put yourself into a hurting, broken woman's shoes - questioning everything you ever believed while looking for answers at every turn.
You will feel the pride of a young mother who feels she doesn't measure up. She doesn't dress the right way to please Bea but pride will prevent her from making any changes. She's looking for acceptance since she had only received it from her husband and daughter but, no matter where she goes and who she meets, it's always a struggle for people to accept her as she is.
Then, of course, you'll get to know a wonderful child named Paisley who has experienced too much heartache for her age. Not knowing where her next meal was coming from, when she would sleep in her own bed, brought tears to my eyes as I tried imagining my own children and grandchildren faced with such a situation. I know I couldn't bear to look at either of them and be unable to offer them something to eat or drink.
The story was very rewarding and reached into the deeper recesses of this human's soul. I always come away from Deborah Bedford's books feeling as though I've spent my time on something worthwhile - something lasting - and A Rose by the Door is no exception.
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