The Calling of Rose
by Nicey Hamilton

"She heard the voice think to her 'Rose, Rose.' She responded in her mind, 'My name is not Rose, my name is Amber.'"

Amber Carson is shocked when she and her sister Joan are unceremoniously fired from the school they work for. The administrators didn’t care for Amber speaking out about the conditions of the school. The reaction is mixed, ranging from staunch defense from friends to unhinged anger from various parents. The backlash extends all the way to Amber and Joan’s parents. Amber and her boyfriend, William, take off to Florida with their two children to enjoy a much-needed vacation. Then, Amber begins to experience weirdness in her life. She suffers from constant bleeding with no known diagnosis. Despite this and weight loss, she carries on. However, strange voices calling out to her and mysterious visions threaten her already fragile mind and pose a threat to Amber and her loved ones.

The author’s book is a near-hallucinatory, supernatural mystery where the question of reality is put to the test in every chapter. The unsettled feeling sets in with the chaotic inception of the book and is never completely abandoned in the story of Amber’s afflictions. Amber is the forlorn protagonist fighting for her physical and mental health, even as her loved ones doubt her. The war for her mind is on. William serves as the voice of reason but often comes off as condescending in his treatment of her. The narrative would have been strengthened by a slower denouement and greater character development. Still, author Hamilton offers up a psychological mystery with plenty of drama and paranoia that will keep the reader guessing.

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