THE SMERALDO FLOWER REVIEW
J. F. ROGERS
In sixteenth-century Italy, seventeen-year-old Carola’s family is on the verge of becoming destitute. So, when her family is offered funds for Carola to travel far into the mountains in northern Italy to paint a rare flower, she can’t refuse. Little did she realize she’d be trapped with a masked recluse in the middle of nowhere. But if Carola can survive her time in the rundown castle with Soren—the hideous man who may or may not be a psychotic murderer—it will all be worth it. And if she can get Soren to stop hiding behind his mask, all the better… Beauty and the Beast meets the Phantom of the Opera in the Secret Garden in this a retelling of the Italian folktale—La Citta di Smeraldo, inspired by BTS’s song “The Truth Untold.”
I found this little gem in a group promotion I joined and was first pulled in by the beautiful cover. When I discovered it was a Beauty, and the Beast meets Phantom of the Opera retelling, I couldn’t pass it up. And when I realized it was novella length, I settled in for a night of binge reading! It was well worth the late night, that’s for sure. Actually, I wouldn’t have complained if it was twice as long.
Rogers’ writing is captivating and pulls you in with subtlety. I’m known to DNR a book within a few pages, and I just won’t read a book if I’m not hooked right away. Maybe that means I miss out on some great books, but that’s a chance I’m willing to take. There are just too many books to read, and I will only live so long. I must be choosy, and I’m glad I chose this one.
The characters are relatable and likable, even the mysterious man who hires Carola to paint his rare flower. I loved Carola’s ability to see Soren as more than his mask, and while her situation began on a bit of a rocky and worrisome foot, she gathered her wits and took charge. The sweetness flows as well as the prose, and I would recommend this novella to anyone who is a fan of fairy tale adaptations and retellings.
You can find it here.