Rose has just turned forty when she gets a call from a lawyer asking her to come to Kyoto for the reading of her estranged father's will. And so for the first time in her life she finds herself in Japan, where Paul, her father's assistant, is waiting to greet her.
As Paul guides Rose along a mysterious itinerary designed by her deceased father, her bitterness and anger are soothed by the stones and the trees in the Zen gardens they move through. During their walks, Rose encounters acquaintances of her father--including a potter and poet, an old lady friend, his housekeeper and chauffeur--whose interactions help her to slowly begin to accept a part of herself that she has never before acknowledged.
As the reading of the will gets closer, Rose's father finally, posthumously, opens his heart to his daughter, offering her a poignant understanding of his love and a way to accept all she has lost.
This is an exquisitely told story that will you have you yearning for Japanese gardens and swooning over the words chosen to describe the journey you take with Rose!
Rose finds herself an orphan at 40, when the father she never knew dies and she has to travel to Japan for the reading of the will. She's very conflicted about her feelings about this man she never met or knew and sees this trip just as 'admin' - not expecting what was to follow.
Happiness seems to have evaded her over the years - wrapped up in her work as a botanist, she was always lacking that passion or connection that lit up her life. You wonder if she learnt from her mother who always lived with a negative outlook on the world.
During her time in Japan she is taken on a tour of places that were important to her father, by his assistant. And those trips start to open her eyes to this man she never knew, and takes her out of that comfort zone to start experiencing a different outlook on life. As a reader you can't help but be seduced by the use of language to describe the gardens and flowers, and Rose starts to learn things about herself.
This was a magical reading experience for me - the way it is written was just so beautiful and elegant and I really enjoyed watching Rose learn more about herself as she learnt more about her father. A beautiful book inside and out!!
My thanks to the team at Gallic Press for the advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review