Book Review | The Gold Rose



Jodi Lea Stewart

Historical Fiction / WWII / Action & Drama / International Mystery
Publisher: Progressive Rising Phoenix Press
Date of Publication: February 21, 2023
Number of Pages: 372 pages 

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Since the early 1940s, THE GOLD ROSE, a secret rescue agency with Asian origins, has used unique systems to ferret out and save victims in every corner of the world. Charlotte Hunt-Basse has faced dangerous and often deadly challenges in her decade as an agent with the agency, not the least of which was the past rescues of two of her assignments, Pinkie and Babe.

Two-year-old Pinkie is discovered abandoned on a dirt road during a violent storm. She is whisked off to Mexico by oil heir Clint Sutton and his girlfriend, Angelina, as they attempt to escape the lies of Clint's father's second wife. Three years later, Pinkie is stolen away to Argentina by an aging Romani. Pinkie suffers from the malice of her captor but wins the fatherly love of a Buenos Aires circus owner and his fiance. Shortly after landing in the crosshairs of THE GOLD ROSE, Pinkie's life takes two more shocking twists. When the agency locates Pinkie again, Agent Charlotte must throw all caution to the wind to rescue her.

Babe, the child of Texas-based missionaries, is hidden by two Chinese families during the Japanese invasion and ensuing Communist takeover of China. She is forced by the second family to live incognito as a "boy" for several years to save her from soldiers invading China from the North. Martial arts are banned, but the grandfather of the family teaches Babe Yǒng Chūn in deepest secrecy. The civil war escalates, and Babe finds herself on a dangerous quest for survival as she journeys alone through enemy territory toward the faintest hope of rescue.

I'm going into this review saying I only read about the first paragraph of the synopsis and decided I wanted to check out this book. So I came in not completely knowing I would be reading three people's stories. After the first couple of times switching points of view, I was able to follow along pretty quickly and really got into each story.

I found myself reading this book as if I were reading three different short stories, one about Pinkie, one about Babe, and the other about Charlotte. Even though they were their own stories, I loved the concept of how the author tied each unique story into the other. The stories had some similarities, especially the lost child theme, but overall, our main characters were strongly written in a way that each felt like its own and that I was reading something completely different that still tied in by the end.

The reader will also appreciate our author giving our main characters lots of growth through their trauma. There are some mediums that I have come across where they talk about children characters having trauma but then the child doesn't really change their personality at all. In real life, if someone is going through something traumatic, such as being kidnapped or having to flee from their government, that's going to inevitably impact their character. I was glad our author showed us how with each traumatic event, our three main characters reacted appropriately, even when I wanted them to act happy, such as Pinkie seeing Luka for the first time in like 4 years, but she didn't because she thought he was dead this whole time and didn't want those feelings of hope to come back to her again. 

My only complaint about this story, other than getting used to going through the points-of-view was Clint's character. I just didn't like him and I'm sure that was the author's point, but he's this guy who claims that this girl who he hasn't seen in years is just going to marry him because he loves her and it was just very toxic masculinity in my eyes. Unfortunately, the girl he is waiting for does end up marrying him, but there was something about him feeling this need to be a stereotypical knight-in-shining-armor rubbed me the wrong way and I could have read this story without his character and been just fine.

Overall though, I enjoyed reading the story of Pinkie, Babe, and Charlotte. It's a story that gives you hope that there are people in this world that care. It's also a story of survival and triumph and not losing hope, even if you have just a sliver left. I give The Gold Rose a 4 out of 5 stars and I recommend giving it a read. Until next time, Happy Reading! 


Jodi Lea Stewart is a fiction author who centers her themes around the triumph of overcoming adversity through grit, humor, and hard-rock tenacity. Born in Texas and growing up in Arizona smelling cedar berries and cow pens on a large cattle ranch wedged between the Navajo Nation and the White Mountain Apache Tribe, most of her friends were Native American and Hispanic, with a few Anglos thrown in for good measure. On the ranch, she climbed petroglyph-etched boulders, sang to chickens, bounced two feet in the air in the backend of pickups wrestling through washed-out terracotta roads, and rode horseback on the winds of her imagination through the arroyos and mountains of the Arizona high country. Later, she left her studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love, and exactly what she didn’t want to do with her life. 

Moving back to her native Texas, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised three+ children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles, and served as managing editor of a Fortune 500 corporate newsletter. Her lifelong friendship with all shades of folks, cowpunchers, southern belles, intellectuals, and "outlaws" propels Jodi into writing comfortably about the Southwest, the South, and far beyond. She currently resides in Arizona with her husband, two wild and crazy Standard poodles, one rescue cat, her fun-loving ninety-plus-year-old mom, a never-be-still-four-year-old tornado, and numerous bossy houseplants.



Signed copy of The Gold Rose plus a custom Gold Rose laptop carrying case
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 4/21/23)

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  1. Such an insightful review & I love that quotestagram! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

  2. Your review is crisp and to the point the best part is that you are genuine and stated what you didn't liked that is toxic masculinity. Overall a decent review:)


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