The process of growing from child to adult is always fascinating. Change is by its nature uncomfortable in difficult. People frequently try to keep their habits the same. Yet, childhood cannot last physically, mentally, socially, philosophically or spiritually. Young ones are constantly prodded to change by changing surroundings and expectations. Some change for the better; others become rotten and fall off the vine. Rose shows a lovely example of a graceful journey from childhood to adulthood that many could copy to their benefit. On another note this book feels so familiar in tone, style and language that I find it hard to comprehend that is was written and published over 140 years ago. I guess great books stand the test of time because they feel universal. Be sure to first read Eight Cousins to fully enjoy this novel.
Rose and Phebe return to from their years abroad in Europe traveling alongside Uncle Alec. Both have grown in manner and intelligence while away from Rose’s seven cousins. Phebe has blossomed into an astounding singer and Rose has acquired expanded ideas about female independence and autonomy. In Europe, Rose decided to devote her life and inherited family fortune to charity. The idea of her squandering her fortune in this way instead of keeping it in the family by marrying one of the elder cousins frightens the rest of the family. Rose is appalled by this disrespect towards her own free will instead deciding not to immediately commit or entertain the idea of marriage. This mildly upsets the family who are taken aback by this young independent woman. Archie, who the Aunts had assumed would marry Rose, becomes smitten with Phebe after just one song. Later on Archie’s affection causes a controversy among the Aunts. To think that the eldest cousin would sully the family name by marrying a woman from the poor house. The family is back together for better or worse. If you wait for spring time, you will see Rose in Bloom.
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