Death by Roses book review Title:  Death by Roses
Author:  Vivian R. Probst
Publication date: February 14, 2015
Publisher: Select Books
Source: Meryl M. Moss Media Relations, Inc.

For the first time in nearly thirty years of marriage, Art McElroy Sr. buys his headstrong, disapproving wife a dozen yellow roses. Hours later he discovers her lifeless body seated on the toilet. Mae Rose McElroy’s sudden death leaves a void in her family and in the entire Midwestern farming community of Fairview. It’s a void Mae Rose will attempt to fill, herself, from the hereafter by meddling directly in earthly affairs. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

My first impression of Mae Rose is that she’s not a very nice person. One of those women who seems to be angry all the time. Her husband Art seemed like a nice enough guy and I actually felt sorry for him for having to put up with her. Then she dies in a fit of rage, and everything changes.

Mae Rose is escorted to Heaven by her mother, who explains how things work. I really liked the idea of a Viewing Pane, which allows the deceased to see life on Earth. The dead are only supposed to observe, not interfere, but Mae Rose isn’t one for playing by the rules.

We also meet Mary Lee, aka “Scary Mary” because of her long string of successful horror movies. Mary Lee only has a short time left to live, but isn’t quite ready to go because she has yet to win an Oscar. She doesn’t like playing by the rules either.

Mae Rose and Mary Lee seem to be the main narrators, but we also hear from Mae Rose’s husband, Mary Lee’s nurse, and several others. The multiple POVs could be a little confusing at times and the transitions a little choppy. There’s also a time jump that could have been handled a little smoother, as I wasn’t sure how much time had actually passed.

Watching Mae Rose and Mary Lee’s relationship was amusing at times, as they are both strong-willed women learning to share one body. Art’s journey was sadder, as he has a tough time adjusting to life as a widower. I wasn’t sure where the story was going at times, but was pleased with the eventual ending.

The story is funny, touching, and a bit maddening. I did like that after finishing the story, it stayed with me. Don’t want to spoil anything, but think it was a worthwhile read despite a few small hiccups.

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