By Cynthia Bujnicki
Ever since her mother left Trix decided she didn’t need anyone but herself to survive. But when she finds out she has family willing to take her in, eager for her to belong with them, Trix makes the effort, finding a place to call home, but when old ghosts come calling, Trix is caught between the life she had always known or future with hope.
A Constellation of Roses is a remarkably moving novel. Following Trix, an abandoned 17-year-old living on her own in a cheap motel, stealing her way to survive, virtually unnoticed, as if like magic. She keeps hoping her mother will return to her until social services arrives first, telling her she has family on her fathers’ side willing to take her in.
It is a compelling story focused on character growth. All the characters, Auntie excluded, grow so much throughout the story. They all have their struggles to overcome, and they overcome them together, with Auntie as their guide. That is the central theme of the story, growing beyond the hard times that have stopped them from living. Mia lingers in the memory of failed marriage, Ember is living with the secrets of anyone who touches her, and Trix is living with the thought that she can live without her mom and does not need anyone else. Together they form a tight bond and move past everything together, growing stronger.
A Constellation of Roses is an emotionally charged novel as it delves with reconciling with the past and moving beyond it. The story flows, allowing for flashbacks that are both meaningful and important for the development of the story. Steadily paced, the story allows the reader to connect both to it and the magical realism aspect of it. It is not fantasy, but the magical element in the story gives it a fresh and unique way to bring the story to life and explore these characters and their growth. (★★★★☆)