#BookReview A SINGLE ROSE by MURIEL BARBERY @BelgraviaB #publicationday


From the best-selling author of The Elegance of the Hedgehog comes a story about a woman’s journey to discover the father she never knew and a love she never thought possible.

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. 


Publication date – 23rd September 2021


 Belgravia Books



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




Alejandro de Yepes and Jesús Rocamora, young officers in the Spanish regular army, are stationed alone at Castillo when a friendly redhead named Petrus appears out of nowhere. There is something magnetic and deeply mysterious about him. Alejandro and Jesús are bewitched, and, in the middle of the sixth year of the longest war humankind has ever endured, they abandon their post to follow him across a bridge that only he can see.Petrus brings them to a world of lingering fog, strange beings, poetry, music, natural wonders, harmony and extraordinary beauty. This is where the fate of the world and all its living creatures is decided. Yet this world too is under threat. A long battle against the forces of disenchantment is drawing to a climactic close. Will poetry and beauty prevail over darkness and death? And what role will Alejandro and Jesús play?Muriel Barbery’s richly imagined new novel, the sequel to The Life of Elves, will transport readers to a lost world exposed to the constant churn of civilisations and remind them of the power of poetry and imagination



Publisher Website




Some books take a little bit of extra effort from a reader, and I found this to be one of those books  BUT it is worth that work! It’s another beautifully written book from the author, and another fight of good vs evil with links to the other world as the worlds join forces to defeat those with evil intentions.

The story starts with a war, and the bond between soldiers despite their very different backgrounds. Fighting a common enemy unites them, and Alejandro and Jesus are 2 of the soldiers. And they find themselves facing even weirder times when they are confronted by 3 ‘ghosts’ who appear to have crossed the bridge from another world to warn the humans that they need to work together.

This inventive story really does have a mythical feel with the magical realism and once you get into the flow of the story it all begins to make sense.  The use of poetry helps lead you through the twisty journey that they find themselves on – the story flits about and it’s told in a mixed up way and I found this to be good at keeping you engaged and wondering what was round the corner for them!  

I also enjoyed the little touches of humour, and the way it unites what should be two very different forces with their outlook on the ways of the world.  Their experiences, their histories are all explored and I loved the gentle and soothing aspects of the story! The vivid descriptions transport you to this other world.  This is a prequel to Life of Elves but you don’t need to have read that – I think I preferred the storytelling aspect in this one than in ‘Elves’! It just made it easier to connect with for me!  Well worth immersing yourself in this book just for the beautiful way with words that Muriel Barbery has!!


My thanks to Gallic for the advanced copy of the book in return for a fair and honest review.