Josey Rose (A Novel)

Josey Rose (A Novel)

5.0 1
by Jane Wood
A spellbinding novel of family secrets and forbidden love. A young boy's life takes an irrevocable turn when he meets a young woman who lives in an abandoned chapel in the woods, and who has a deep, yet unexplained connection to his family.


A spellbinding novel of family secrets and forbidden love. A young boy's life takes an irrevocable turn when he meets a young woman who lives in an abandoned chapel in the woods, and who has a deep, yet unexplained connection to his family.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Child abuse and incest spark forbidden love in Wood's gothic, ludicrously overwrought debut. In early 1960s New Hampshire, young Josey Rose hits puberty fearful of his father's alcoholic tantrums but curious about the taboo topic of his motherwho, he is told, died years agoand Lily, the mysterious, beautiful young woman whom he discovers living in a deserted chapel in the nearby woods. At home, he combs his mad grandmother's hair as she obsessively pastes pictures into scrapbooks. After befriending Lily, Josey witnesses his father rape her; he asks help from the minister, who tries to molest him. Gradually, the boy realizes that he and Lily are connected by ties stronger than their mutual attraction, but his fantasies about running away with the mentally fragile young woman are thwarted. Wood describes sexual abuse in indignant prose and energetic detail, sharply contrasting Josey's violently manipulative father with the gently passionate young hero. The convoluted melodrama of the Rose family is further tangled by unbelievable dialogue, fuzzy characterizations and even fuzzier sex scenes ("Then sipping from the wells of my neck, she'd whisper of angels sighing, butterflies breathing, galaxies falling, and the crackling hiss of dawn"). Despite its charged themes, this book must be judged as soft porn for the socially consciousand as soft porn it certainly fails. Film rights to Hit & Run Productions. (June)
Library Journal - Library Journal
In this uneven first novel, Wood, who clearly never met a dysfunctional behavior she didn't like, has concocted a bewildering mix of family violence, incest, race relations, sexual abuse, and murder and covered it all with a thin veneer of New Age spirituality. The 11-year-old eponymous hero lives with his father, Willie, whose out-of-control alcoholic rages lead him to mistreat everything he lays eyes on. In addition to his father's anger, Josey's childhood is filled with mysteries. Is his long-absent mother dead or alive? Who is the beautiful Lily, whom Josey comes to love, who lives in a stone chapel in the woods and must, like Josey, bear Willie's physical and emotional abuse? As Josey gradually realizes his mysterious connection to Lily, events have long since spiraled out of control. Somewhere in this novel might be the makings of a good book (the author has created two memorable myna birds, Jake and Lulu, and one interesting human character, Josey's Grandma Ru), but Wood needs to be reined in quite a lot. Not recommended.Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle
Kirkus Reviews
Incest is luridly limned in this over-the-top first novel that's more country kookster—lots of critters and wacky grandmas—than a serious take on a troubling subject. Presumably, the story told by narrator Josey Rose should engage and alarm, but it never does: The writing is too uneven, the plot too overwrought, and the characters more suited to a Beverly Hillbillies noir sitcom. After a melodramatic prologue, Josey begins his story in 1960, the year he was 11. Believing his mother to be dead, Josey lives with his father and Grandma Ru, who worries about space flights and glues pictures of thermostats into scrapbooks. Josey's father links the steel beams for high-rises and as a hobby builds delicate models of ships in bottles, but when he drinks he gets mean'enough so that he not only destroys all his models and beats up on Josey, but then heads out to a deconsecrated chapel deep in the woods. It's there one night that Josey sees his father there rape a beautiful young woman whom he learns later, visiting her himself, to be his cousin Lily. She wears strange clothes, fears the sun, at 13 had a baby—a son who reportedly died'and sculpts fungi gathered after dark. Josey's smitten by Lily and as he grows older he tries to protect her, but drunken Dad, more a concept than a real character, chokes Grandma to death before the traumatized young woman, then hospitalizes her to keep his secret safe. The adult Josey springs Lily from hospital, after which they live together as lovers. When Lily tells Josey that his mother isn't dead, a reunion with Mom complicates his life further: after she tells him the truth about Lily, his father, and himself, a confrontation ends inanother death. But whatever the truth, Josey decides to stick with Lily. Underwhelming excess.

Product Details

Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.56(h) x 0.99(d)

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Josey Rose (A Novel) 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow, I bought this from a dollar store when I ws in 7th (I'm finishing 12th grade now) grade on a whim, having no idea what it was about. I then procded to write a little book report on it for english class. Man did I feel weird about it, so I left the incest stuff out, I mean, I wasn't supposed to be reading that kind of stuff in middle school! Regardless, I found it to be a great novel, I am just careful as to who I reccomend it to :)