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People used to say Iris Bowen was beautiful, what with the wild weave of her red hair, the high cheekbones, and the way she carried herself like a barefoot dancer through the streets of Ranelagh on the outskirts of Dublin city. But that was a lifetime ago.
In a cottage in the west of Ireland, Iris--gardener and mother to an adopted daughter, Rose--is doing her best to carry on after the death of her husband two years before. At the back of her mind is a promise she never intended to keep, until the day she gets a phone call from her doctor.
Meanwhile, nineteen-year-old Rose is a brilliant violinist at the Royal Academy in London, still grieving for her father but relishing her music and life in the city. Excited but nervous, she hums on the way to an important master class, and then suddenly finds herself missing both of her parents when the class ends in disaster.
After the doctor's call, Iris is haunted by the promise she made to her husband--to find Rose's birth mother, so that their daughter might still have family if anything happened to Iris. Armed only with a twenty-year-old envelope, Iris impulsively begins a journey into the past that takes her to Boston and back, with unexpected results for herself and for Rose and for both friends and strangers.
Intimate, moving, and witty, Christine Breen's Her Name is Rose is a gorgeous novel about what can happen when life does not play out the way you expect.