Scarlett Rose, the once remarkably beautiful queen of the burlesque scene in 1960's Toronto, has aged into a decrepit bitter alcoholic, living on welfare and her daughter's handouts - a daughter she forced into the adult entertainment industry at the age of sixteen to support the family. Now in 1983, Scarlett's wealthy ex-husband has been found tortured and murdered in a hotel room, and her twenty-two-year-old daughter Fiona, must help the police find the killer.This was an interesting book to finish reading on Mother's Day: a day when we venerate mother's and their many virtues. As a mother, Scarlet Rose (aka Sylvia) doesn't really have any virtues. In fact on pg 205, Scarlet's daughter Suzanne describes her mother perfectly as "the Cruella de Vil of mothers." She forces her eldest daughter, Fiona onto the stage as a 'dancer' at the age of 16 to support her addictions, and basically allows all manner of evil to befall all of her kids without a thought. Despite this, and fighting addictions of their own, Fiona and her sister Suzanne grow up to be strong, independent women. My heart went out to them. Even with all of their faults - and they had plenty - I was on their 'team' from the start.
Julia Madeline has written a gritty novel from the seedier side of life. She has forced the reader to confront certain truths: that dysfunctional families are more prevalent than we want to admit; that drug addicts, exotic dancers and all manner of others that our society tries not to see, are real people with lives and hopes and feelings and loves; that there is evil in the world. the truth about Scarlet Rose was one of those novels that left me examining my own prejudices and thought processes. It made me remember that survivors and women of strength may not look like lawyers or soccer moms. And, on top of all this, it is a fast paced, involving read. I couldn't put it down.
Character Development 5
A Taste from Page 75:
The November sky had turned purple, the shade of a bruise, as Fiona crossed the parking lot from her car to the entrance of the Cabaret. She looked up at the neon sign and thought of Charlie. She couldn't help but think about him in relation to the club. He would usually show up here two or three nights a week. The thought that she was never going to see his face again was surreal. It was nearly two weeks since his death, and the facts still didn't seem to have fully penetrated her mind. But there were shadows within her that she could feel on the edge of her thoughts. Dark shadows that whispered to her. They were waiting for her, waiting to sneak up on her and thake her down when she least expected.