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Secrets of Rosa Lee
by Jodi Thomas

Category: Fiction / General
384 pages; ISBN: 0778322025

Rating: 9/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner


Secrets of Rosa Lee
Jodi Thomas
Mira, Aug 2005, $6.99, 384 pp.
ISBN: 0778322025

The residents of Clifton park, Texas form a group to determine what to do with the once proud Altman mansion that is showing its age and abandonment. The townsfolk are divided with one side insisting on selling the mausoleum to a group planning to tear it down in the name of progress. Another faction wants to return the home of the town’s long dead founding father to its former glory and keep it up as memento of the past.

However, someone in the shadows wants to more than just influence the decision making process. This individual prefers the house be torn asunder so that their deadly secrets will remain interred and will blackmail committee members into tearing down the mansion. As the committee forms, storms, norms, and performs, they learn that the “old Altman place” is more than just a dilapidated extinct dinosaur with roses; however the extortionist pressures each member to adjourn in favor of annihilating the mansion to bury its history with the evidence that if it comes to light would destroy this culprit.

The committee turns the tale into an interesting look at progress vs. heritage as they go through the stages of group dynamics with the perpetrator causing trust issues between the members. Although the audience sees the differing personalities during the interactions, the intrigue caused by the wrongdoer feels unnecessary though exciting as the tale focuses on the group’s struggles (think of Twelve Angry Men) and the house’s past. Fans of modern day social issues and Management 101 students will appreciate this fine look at group interplay with a touch of intrigue caused by an assailant whose actions foment mistrust, the death of committees.

Harriet Klausner


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