Roseborough is a story of people joining together, sharing life and forming a kind of family.
Anne Hamilton is a college English professor who ďhad decided to change her life.Ē Anneís apparent success hides the fractures in her life caused by the loss of her family. She offers a single-parenting course even though she has never been a parent, and the class provides the setting for her life to join with Mary Louís.
Mary Lou didnít decide to change her life, but it changed anyway when her beloved Gypsy husband, Gundren, was killed and their daughter, Echo, ran away. She signs up for Anneís class almost by accident, as though it was determined by fate.
Over the next year, more lives join with theirs: the other single parents in the class; the people Mary Lou works for and Anneís neighbor; Anneís coworker, Christopher; Gundrenís gypsy family; people who meet Echo and are awed by her ethereal, tenuous presence; and, finally, Roseborough.
Anne, Mary Lou and the others learn to face their fears and to risk caringóabout themselves, each other, and the other people who join them. As Anne says, they learn that ďno one lives alone. Not really.Ē Not only have their lives changed, but Anne and Mary Lou and the others have changed, too.
Jane Roberts Wood uses language beautifully in Roseborough. Her scenes are both solidly anchored to time and place, and dreamy and mystical. Flat, matter-of-fact words are emotionally evocative. Somehow, Wood continually draws your mental eye toward the open sky and your heart toward hope.
She tells the story from inside the characters. Itís written in the third person but with a shifting point of view. You donít see the characters from the outside; if Anne is hurt, you donít see her expression or her tears - you hear her thoughts and feel her pain. Itís an odd perspective that reinforces the dreamlike quality of the book.
As a reader, you are on the inside looking out, not the other way around. But you donít have an omniscient perspective. You only get to know what that character knows at that moment. Like Gundren, who canít stay in one place; like Gundrenís Gypsy family, who are in constant movement, shifting from place to place, dancing, twirling, tapping heir feet; like Echo who canít be captured or tethered to a place; the story moves from person to person and heart to heartÖall the way to the readerís heart. The reader, who is changed along with everyone else in the story by this beautiful, evocative book.