Monday, April 23, 2012

The Memory of Roses Blog Tour by Blair McDowell - Review and Excerpt

Welcome to my stop at The Memory of Roses Blog Tour! The tour is organixed by Sizzling PR and by the author Blair McDowell.My stop includes review and a book spotlight with an excerpt from the book.

Author: Blair McDowell

Title: The Memory of Roses
Release date: 2nd of October 2011
Published by: Rebel Ink Press
Reading level: FICTION - Adult: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery
Pages: 237 pages in Paperback
Source: From Sizzling PR and the author for blog tour and reviewing


The Greek island of Corfu unearths the enduring love stories of two generations of the

McQuaid family. First, renowned archaeologist Ian McQuaid meets the love of his life while

recuperating from an illness contracted during a dig in Crete. Even though he is married, his wife had not been a passionate partner for many years, and the appearance of the stunning Maria Calbrese was a miracle sent to him at the lowest point in his life.

Then a generation later, Ian’s daughter Brit travels to Corfu after his death. He left Brit a note
disclosing that he owned a villa on Corfu, and that when he was there he had fallen in love with a
woman named Maria while still married to Brit’s mother. He asked Brit to deliver a package to Maria, who he thought lived somewhere in Venice. Determined to fulfill her father’s requests and return quickly to the US, Brit’s plan is soon derailed. She meets archaeologist Dr. Andreas Leandros who looks like the Greek gods of ancient times, and her own damaged heart begins to come alive.

What does the mysterious package contain, and how will Brit find Maria as requested by her
father? Will finding her change Brit’s life? Will she manage to preserve her bond with Andreas, or will she return to the US to live out her life without him?

My review:

I took this book for review, because I have visited Greek Islands and I am a big fan of the islands and the rest of Greece too and since the main parts of the book were taken place on Corfu, I was hooked!

The Memory of Roses is well-written book, it is easy to read and had interesting characters. I liked that there were two parallel stories of father and a daughter and I liked how the author brought these stories together to the solving a mystery.

Regarding the plot:

The story starts out with Brit reading a letter of his recently dead father. Through this letter she finds out, that her dad has lived a double life and had a woman he loved in Greece. Her father also tells her, that she owns a house in Corfu.

After the shock she travels to Corfu to find the house and deliver the box which her dad left for to the woman she loved. On Corfu she meets a young man, an archaeologist Dr. Andreas Leandros who knew Brit’s dad. Andreas is talented and gorgeous man who agrees to help Brit to find out who was the mystery woman her dad loved.

At the same time there is a parallel story about Brit’s dad and how he found love in Corfu.

I liked that these two stories were combined. The story was told from two points of views – Brit’s and her dad’s. That gave added value to the book and gave better understanding for what happened in the past.

I also enjoyed the descriptions of the life in Greece, these were really well-written by the author.

There was one thing which I disliked and that was the ending of the book. Not the ending itself, but the way it was written. It seemed that it was rushed and the author did not give enough time to Brit and Andreas to organize the big events towards the end of the book. I would have wanted seeing more emotions and happiness.

Regarding the characters:

There were two sets of main characters in the book: Brit and Andreas and Ian and Maria.

I liked how Brit developed through the story from being a heart-broken and betrayed to the independent woman making her own choices. She was vulnerable and there were times in the book where it annoyed me, but I enjoyed her growth. Andreas was not only a good looking man, but also handy. He supported Brit and was very patient with Brit during the development of their relationship.

I felt sad for Ian for being forced to make difficult choices, but I adored him for being so loyal to his daughter. Maria was like an enigma: beautiful, creative, loveable. Unfortunately their story was not as happy as Brit’s and Andreas’.


The Memory of Roses was a sweet romance to read. Definitely a book to romance lovers!

5 Flowers!
4 stars.

Buy links:
Barnes and Noble
All Romance E-Book

Author Bio:

Blair McDowell wrote her first short story when she was eleven and hasn’t stopped writing since. After many years producing non-fiction professional books in her field, Blair decided to exercise her rich imagination and write novels of mystery and romance set in places she knows and loves, peopled with characters drawn from her experiences in those locales.

One of her favorite places in the world is Greece, the setting for ‘The Memory of Roses’, Blair McDowell’s latest novel. While in Greece Blair was inspired by the ancient culture, friendly people and the picturesque settings, and the plot for the ‘Memory of Roses’ was born.

Blair has a home on a remote island in the Caribbean where the local lore of the ‘Jumbie’ (‘the dead who walk’) formed the basis for her novel of that name.

The setting for Blair McDowell’s book, ‘Sonata’, is the spectacular city of Vancouver with its vibrant multicultural population and its rich musical life. In ‘Sonata’, Blair McDowell’s love of music comes into play, and is intricately woven into this story of mystery and romance.

Blair is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Romance Writers of America (Greater Vancouver Chapter), and the Romance Writers of America (Women's Fiction).



It was on June eleventh that he met her. He had gone to Adriatika for his evening meal. It was a week night and he had lingered over his late afternoon swim. By the time he arrived, the few other diners were well into their meals.

“What have you for me tonight, my friend?” he asked.

“Ah! You are in luck. We have Rabbit Steffado and I’ve kept a portion back for you.”

Ian settled into his chair at his regular table and opened his book. He’d long had the habit of reading in restaurants until his food arrived. It kept him from feeling lonely.

He heard a commotion at the door and glanced up from his book to see a stunning young woman in conversation with Yiannis.

“Of course you are not too late, Signorina,” Yiannis was saying as he showed her to a table. “We
always look forward to your return in June. Did you have a pleasant journey from Venice?”

“Pleasant enough, Yiannis. I hope you have some of your Rabbit Steffado for me tonight. I’ve been looking forward to it for months.”

“Alas, I am afraid the last portion was just ordered by someone else,” he said, nodding in the general direction of Ian’s table. “But I have a very nice fish if you’re interested.”

“Hmm. I’ll think about it. Meanwhile, if you could bring me a pitcher of your good house wine…”

“Of course.”

Ian went back to reading his book. Suddenly he sensed that he wasn’t alone. He looked up to see

the woman who’d just entered the restaurant standing at his table, a brimming pitcher of wine in her hand. She was tall and full breasted, her long ebony hair swung loosely to her shoulders and her eyes were dark and lively. Her face could have come from a Botticelli painting, beautifully oval, classically Italian. She wore a low necked blouse that seemed to fall off one shoulder and a full skirt that emphasized her small waist.

He realized with a shock that she was speaking to him in English and that he hadn’t heard a word she had said.

“I beg your pardon?”

“I said I assume you speak English since you’re reading a book in that language. If you’d rather, we could speak in Italian. My Greek is a bit primitive.”

Confused, Ian managed to stutter, “English will be fine.”

“Good. I have a proposition for you.” She smiled.

Ian thought whatever it is the answer is yes. He merely nodded.

“You,” she resumed accusingly, “you have ordered the last portion of Rabbit Steffado. I’ve been looking forward to Rabbit Steffado for months. I propose that we should enjoy that rabbit together. There is always enough for two in Yiannis’ portions. Meanwhile we can order some of Catarina’s eggplant and a salad to start and,” here she held up the pitcher, “I already have the wine.” She waited expectantly.

Ian threw back his head and laughed for the first time in months. “Please,” he said, getting up quickly and pulling out a chair for her, “Be my guest. I’m Ian McQuaid.”

Over the eggplant she told him she was from Venice and that her name was Maria. “I always spend six weeks here at this time of the year. And this is my favorite restaurant on Corfu. I always came here on my first night back.”

They worked their way through the appetizers laughing and chatting about their experiences on Corfu as if they were old friends.

The rabbit arrived at the table, steaming and aromatic in its rich sauce. Maria ladled it on to their plates. “So what brings you to Corfu?”

Ian somehow didn’t want to admit his recent illness to this young woman who was the picture of

health and vitality. “I was working on Crete and I decided to take some time off. A friend suggested Corfu.”

“What do you do on Crete?”

“I’m an archaeologist. My special area is Bronze-Age societies, the Minoans in particular. Knossos, on Crete, is one of the best preserved Minoan sites in the world. I’ve been working there off and on for some years.”

“You’re an American aren’t you? Your accent isn’t British.”

“Yes. I’m a professor at Stanford University in California. But I spend half of every year in Greece.”

They continued to chat and laugh their way through the rest of meal.

Ian could hardly take his eyes off of her. She was so utterly alive. Her mobile face telegraphed her every thought and mood. When she laughed at his stories her whole face lit up. When she was serious,her eyes held the reflective calm of a mountain lake. He found her utterly entrancing. By the time they’d finished dessert he was wondering how he could prolong the evening, how he could arrange to see her again.

Then he reminded himself that he was still married, that he’d no right to become involved with this young vibrant creature sitting at his table. And that surely she would have no interest in him, a middle-aged man graying at the temples and many years her senior. Regretfully, when Catarina began closing the shutters, he moved to pay the bill. “Please allow me,” he said. “You’ve given me so much pleasure tonight.”

She nodded and rose to leave.

Outside the restaurant, she paused confused, and looked around. “Where’s your car?”

“Actually, I don’t have one. I haven’t found much need for one here. I walk everyplace. The house I’m renting is just up the hill a mile or so.”

“Please let me drive you home,” she said. “I insist. It is small payment for that lovely dinner.”

Ten minutes longer with her, Ian thought. Ten minutes more of her lovely voice and beautiful face. “Of course,” he responded.

She drove efficiently and competently. He watched the shadows and light fall on her face as she
navigated the curves of the narrow, winding country road.

“Turn here,” he instructed as they reached the open gates to the property. She came to a stop at the circle in front of the villa. The fountain was splashing, its dolphins alive in the moonlight.

“What a beautiful spot.” She said. They sat in silence for a moment, neither quite willing to end the evening.

“You could come in for a brandy,” he suggested.

They got as far as the front door. Later they could neither of them remember who moved first.

They were in each other’s arms, tearing at their clothing, stumbling up the steps toward the bedroom. Frustrated with their slow progress Ian swept her up into his arms and carried her to his bed, covering her with his body. They made love wordlessly, frantically, as if their very lives depended on their being together in this way at this moment.

When the storm had passed, Ian tried to speak. “I had no right to do this,” he said. “I’m married.”

“Of course you are,” she replied. “No man as attractive as you could be single. Not at your age. I came to you willingly, I asked for no commitment. We have here and now. We have tonight. Let’s not ask for more.”

He buried his face in her fragrant hair.

Thanks goes to the author for providing the excerpt!
Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. Your blog is always so magical and capture such beauty through your camera that it looks like an incredibly inviting place...your life.The blossoms are beautiful. Your house in the roses must smell so sweetly...

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