A Forgery of Roses
Jessica S. Olson
Published March 29, 2022
About A Forgery of Roses
Myra Whitlock has a gift. One many would kill for.
She’s an artist whose portraits alter people’s real-life bodies, a talent she must hide from those who would kidnap, blackmail, and worse in order to control it. Guarding that secret is the only way to keep her younger sister safe now that their parents are gone.
But one frigid night, the governor’s wife discovers the truth and threatens to expose Myra if she does not complete a special portrait that would resurrect the governor’s dead son. Desperate, Myra ventures to his legendary stone mansion.
Once she arrives, however, it becomes clear the boy’s death was no accident. Someone dangerous lurks within these glittering halls. Someone harboring a disturbing obsession with portrait magic.
Myra cannot do the painting until she knows what really happened, so she turns to the governor’s older son, a captivating redheaded poet. Together, they delve into the family’s most shadowed affairs, racing to uncover the truth before the secret Myra spent her life concealing makes her the killer’s next victim.
From SING ME FORGOTTEN author Jessica S. Olson comes a gothic fantasy murder mystery perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Erin A. Craig.
Last year I read and loved DOWN COMES THE NIGHT, which also has a creepy, murder mystery in a mansion feel to it. I hoped to find a similar vibe in A FORGERY OF ROSES, and it definitely hit a lot of those notes for me, so I really enjoyed that.
I’m also a huge fan of sister books, so the fact that Myra’s driving goal is to save her sister was also something that drew me to this book. I liked that Lucy is portrayed with a chronic illness. I think she’s also sort of this angelic character– she’s super smart, incredibly supportive of her sister and rarely complains about her own discomfort. I think she would have read as a more real character if she’d at least been grouchy sometimes, or if there was something the sisters consistently argued about or disagreed on.
I liked the way Myra and August’s relationship developed. There were some really fun moments between them, like when they’re exploring a place they shouldn’t be and nearly get caught, so of course they have to cram themselves into a tiny closet together. Ha.
The only thing that I struggled with was that there are a couple moments where characters seemed to suddenly become different than they’d been all the way up to that point in the story. Those caught me by surprise (which is good) but also left me thinking, wait, where did this come from?
Despite that, I enjoyed seeing Myra figure out how to trust others and keep fighting for her family. I think readers who like slow burn romance and fast-paced mysteries in a fantasy world will enjoy this story.
Recommended for Ages 12 up.
Myra’s sister is chronically ill. August has anxiety.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used somewhat frequently.
Kissing between boy and girl.
Characters believe a great painter they call the Artist painted the world, and his Lady was so moved by it that he made the world real for her. Her tears upon first seeing the painting became a roses with special powers.
Someone attacks Myra. She also finds portraits that seem to indicate people were tortured.
Myra attends a party where guests drink champagne.
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About the Author
Jessica S. Olson claims New Hampshire as her home but has somehow found herself in Texas, where she spends most of her time singing praises to the inventor of the air conditioner. When she’s not hiding from the heat, she’s corralling her four wild—but adorable—children, dreaming up stories about kissing and murder and magic, and eating peanut butter by the spoonful straight from the jar. She earned a bachelor’s in English with minors in editing and French, which essentially means she spent all of her university time reading and eating French pastries. She is the author of SING ME FORGOTTEN (2021) and A FORGERY OF ROSES (2022).