Sonoma Rose by Jennifer Chiaverini


14 Critic Reviews

Like an overgrown vine, this book could have benefited from extreme pruning.


From New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini, a powerful and dramatic Prohibition-era story that follows the fortunes of Rosa Diaz Barclay, a woman who plunges into the unknown for the safety of her children and the love of a good but flawed man.

As the nation grapples with the strictures of Prohibition, Rosa Barclay lives on a Southern California rye farm with her volatile husband, John, who has lately found another source of income far outside the federal purview.

Mother to eight children, Rosa mourns the loss of four who succumbed to the mysterious wasting disease that is now afflicting young Ana and Miguel. Two daughters born of another father are in perfect health. When an act of violence shatters Rosa's resolve to maintain her increasingly dangerous existence, she flees with the children and her precious heirloom quilts to the mesa where she last saw her beloved mother alive.

As a flash flood traps them in a treacherous canyon, only one man is brave-or foolhardy-enough to come to their rescue: Lars Jorgenson, Rosa's first love and the father of her healthy daughters. Together they escape to Berkeley, where a leading specialist offers their only hope of saving Ana and Miguel. Here in northern California, they create new identities to protect themselves from Rosa's vengeful husband, the police who seek her for questioning, and the gangsters Lars reported to Prohibition agents-officers representing a department often as corrupt as the Mob itself. Ever mindful that his youthful alcoholism provoked Rosa to spurn him, Lars nevertheless supports Rosa's daring plan to stake their futures on a struggling Sonoma Valley vineyard-despite the recent hardships of local winemakers whose honest labors at viticulture have, through no fault of their own, become illegal.


About Jennifer Chiaverini

See more books from this Author
Jennifer Chiaverini lives with her husband and two sons in Madison, Wisconsin. In addition to the six volumes in the Elm Creek Quilts series and two books of quilt patterns inspired by the novels, she designs the Elm Creek Quilts fabric line from Red Rooster Fabrics.
Published February 21, 2012 by Plume. 432 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Sonoma Rose
All: 14 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 8


Below average
Feb 01 2012

Like an overgrown vine, this book could have benefited from extreme pruning.

Read Full Review of Sonoma Rose | See more reviews from Kirkus

RT Book Reviews

Reviewed by Bunny Callahan

Chiaverini has an impressive ability to bring a time and place alive, showcasing the effects of Prohibition on farmers in Sonoma Valley.

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City Book Review

Below average
Reviewed by Elizabeth Benford on Apr 03 2012

Rosa particularly comes across more like the vaporous heroine of a soap opera than the earthy, loving woman she is intended to be.

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Peeking Between the Pages

Below average
Reviewed by Darlene on Feb 13 2012

...although some parts dragged a bit for me, for the most part I just really enjoyed the story being told and all the historical detail really enriched this novel for me as well.

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Debbie's Book Bag

Below average
Mar 23 2012

The book showed potential but it felt more like the first book in series, that promises something more instead of the 19th book in a series.

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Unabridged Chick

Below average
Reviewed by Audra on Mar 15 2012

I just didn't resonate with the characters or writing style, despite the book's interesting setting and potentially fun premise.

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Amused by Books

Below average
Feb 24 2012

There were certain plot lines that dragged for pages and pages that I felt Chiaverini could have tightened up and therefore could have cut the story down significantly without ruining the crux of the story.

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Historical Novel Review

Feb 21 2012

Beautiful prose, rich descriptions, and an endearing story of courage and hope make this an awesome read.

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A Chick Who Reads

Reviewed by Andrea on Mar 05 2012

Everything about this story is beautiful, including the stunning front cover.

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Below average
Mar 12 2012

Characterization felt a little shallow, and a lot inconsistent...

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Life in Review

Reviewed by Michelle Vasquez on Feb 28 2012

The writing is very lovely with rich, detailed descriptions.

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Creative Madness Mama

Feb 16 2012

Immediately from the beginning of the novel I was intrigued and captivated by the characters and the story.

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A Cozy Reader's Corner

Below average
Reviewed by Tiffany on Mar 30 2012

While I enjoyed parts of this book, I also felt lost and over stimulated at times.

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Brimful Curiosities

Feb 23 2012

Sonoma Rose is a rather complex combination of themes and fairly action-packed, full of dramatic events.

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