The Rose Master by Valentina Cano
Published June 2014 by REUTS Publications, LLC
I had the opportunity to read an ARC of The Rose Master, and I have to tell you ... IT IS AMAZING.
It's one of my new faves, and I can't wait to read more from author, Valentina Cano. There were days, when I was at work, that my thoughts would be consumed by this book, and I couldn't wait to read more.
Anne Tinning, the MC in The Rose Master, agreed to a little chat, though it was difficult to get her to actually sit in a chair, but after some coaxing, she obliged.
We learn in The Rose Master that you were a scullery maid in Caldwell House when you were younger. Do you have a meal that could be deemed as your specialty?
I never really excelled in cooking, though I do have to say since meeting Dora, I have to give thanks even for my meager gifts in the kitchen. At least I do not leave pieces of toast so crisply black you could use them as charcoal. The one meal that Mary always complimented me on when I was at Caldwell House was my roasted chicken with rosemary sprigs. I could probably cook it with my eyes closed.
That sounds delicious! Can you tell us a few differences between Caldwell House and Rosewood Manor?
Where to begin? Caldwell House was bursting at the seams with all manner of things, from knickknacks to rows and rows of china to dust every day. The amount of furniture Caldwell House had was excessive, not to mention the rugs and velvet curtains that had to be cleaned every week. I don’t even want to talk about the amount of frilled pillows on every sofa and chairs that Lady Caldwell insisted we fluff every day. The household was also much larger, with fifteen servants that ranged from scullery maids to butlers and the housekeeper.
At Rosewood Manor, the rooms are mostly bare, with only the most necessary items in place. There are only four servants, including yours truly, so there isn’t much in terms of servant hierarchy. Rosewood is freezing, though. I don’t think I’ve ever been this cold in my entire life, and when you’ve lived through the London winters in a small attic room with a draft the width of a knife’s blade, that is saying quite a bit.
What's your job title at Rosewood Manor?
I’m a parlor maid, officially, but that means nothing at Rosewood. Since there aren’t many of us to keep the house running, we have to split the tasks between the four of us. I do most of the dusting and cooking because Dora’s food will end up killing us all, otherwise.
Do you have a chore that you’re partial to? Is there one that you despise?
Dusting can sometimes be soothing. I wouldn’t exactly say I enjoy it, but if my mind is careening at full tilt, it can many times help me get my thoughts under control. I can’t abide polishing silver, however. I’d rather clean chamber pots.
We meet Elsie in the first few chapters of The Rose Master, who was like a sister to you. What kind of mischief did you two get into when you were younger? Perhaps, something that you never got into trouble for because you were never caught?
Well, I’ll only share with you because I highly doubt it will find its way back to Lady Caldwell or Mary, but Elsie and I used to sneak shortbread slices in our aprons. Mary had a recipe, which she never shared with me, for shortbread made with clotted cream that all guests at Caldwell House requested so she was constantly whipping up batches of them. One morning, when she had made about two hundred or so for that afternoon’s tea, Elsie and I stole a dozen of them and hid them under her bonnet.
What is it about August, Lord of Rosewood Manor, that you found attractive first?
This is a rather delicate question, but for honesty’s sake I will try to answer. He is so different from anyone in his station in life. He sees no boundaries of any sort, certainly none that have to do with wealth or breeding. He saw me as an equal from the beginning, despite his sharp words the first time we met.
That he has a pleasing face is an added asset, of course, but do not tell him I said so or I’ll never hear the end of it.
Rosewood Manor has an abundance of red roses. If August were to present you with a bouquet of flowers, what would you fancy?
I love flowers, but I’ve never been one for large bouquets. I don’t enjoy the idea of cutting them off the plants, since I know they will die soon.
August has given me a single rose, however, and it has wilted yet. It is the most fragrant flower I’ve ever smelled, though I have to be careful of the thorns.
How romantic! Thanks, Anne, for taking time to chat! ~Jax
To read an excerpt from this brilliant novel, please check out my other blog, Bouquet of Books.
Blurb for The Rose Master:
The day Anne Tinning turns seventeen, birds fall from the sky. But that's hardly the most upsetting news. She's being dismissed from the home she's served at since she was a child, and shipped off to become the newly hired parlor maid for a place she's never heard of. And when she sees the run-down, isolated house, she instantly knows why:
There's something wrong with Rosewood Manor.
Staffed with only three other servants, all gripped by icy silence and inexplicable bruises, and inhabited by a young master who is as cold as the place itself, the house is shrouded in neglect and thick with fear. Her questions are met with hushed whispers, and she soon finds herself alone in the empty halls, left to tidy and clean rooms no one visits.
As the feeling of being watched grows, she begins to realize there is something else in the house with them--some creature that stalks the frozen halls and claws at her door. A creature that seems intent on harming her.
When a fire leaves Anne trapped in the manor with its Master, she finally demands to know why. But as she forces the truth about what haunts the grounds from Lord Grey, she learns secrets she isn't prepared for. The creature is very real, and she's the only one who can help him stop it.
Now, Anne must either risk her life for the young man she's grown to admire, or abandon her post while she still can.
Valentina Cano is a student of classical singing who spends whatever free time she has either reading or writing. She also watches over a veritable army of pets, including her five, very spoiled, snakes. Her works have appeared in numerous publications and her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Web. She lives in Miami, Florida.