When it comes to unconditional love, Italian matriarch, Rose D’Orsi is deeply challenged. Nobody feels it more than Glory, her estranged 48-year-old lesbian daughter. Though Rose attracts the attention of Eli Fineman, a rich Bulgarian Holocaust survivor whose love, compassion, and wit affects people in unimaginable ways, he arrives too late in life to teach Rose how to be a good mother, even to Ricky, the child she favors. Meant to plant the seed where it needs to be planted most–with readers who might be believers–DeSio’s award-winning debut novel, Rose’s Will, is a fictionalized account of the bizarre circumstances surrounding her mother’s death and the Bulgarian Holocaust survivor her mother left behind. Incidental to that, atheist and humanists should find it refreshing to see themselves in DeSio’s characters.
“Rose’s Will is a captivating family story, told from three very distinctive viewpoints. The author does a particularly great job of capturing the struggles and stresses of interpersonal relationships, especially when dealing with difficult family members. There were a number of times I literally said out loud, “Yes!” when relating to internal emotional conflicts and thoughtful observations about human behavior … The chapters are relatively short, and you will find yourself justifying “just one more” chapter again and again. I’m really looking forward to reading other books and essays from this author.”
“This is the kind of book that makes you laugh out loud and also brings frequent tears to your eyes. Told through the stories of three different people: a brother and sister, and their mother’s “boyfriend” (odd to think of as he’s in his 80’s) but the real focus of the story is the mother, Rose. Each character is trying to do the best they can – I think – and some succeed better than others. I cringed at the flashbacks the sister has of the abuse she experienced as a child at the hands of the mother, and I admired the sister’s continued efforts to connect with her mother. It reminded me of how we all just want unconditional love from someone, but mostly from a parent, and how hard it is to achieve sometimes. As a former Brooklynite, I loved the little glimpses of Brooklyn life in the 50’s and 60’s and wanted a bit more of that. It’s a fast read and an easy read, but it’s the kind of book that keeps you thinking about the characters and wondering what happens next.”
“It was an enjoyable read and I was unable to put it down once at the half way point. This story relates so well to the many different levels of family dysfunction from sibling rivalry, divorce, mental health as well as the intimacy of final farewells in death. There are so many relatable facets to Rose’s Will.”
“I was not able to put down Denise DeSio’s book, “Rose’s Will”, until it was finished. I was completely drawn into her story about a girl growing up with an abusive mom and the way she and her brother each dealt with it. Denise was honest and I liked what she said. The woman struggling to find a way to be in a healing relationship with mom rather than holding onto the pain, anger, fear, and shame.”
“I believe Denise DeSeo has written a very compelling novel. Each character speaks in their own voice and Ms. DeSeo has developed the characters in a way that made the book feel very believable. The book delves into subject matter that hasn’t been touched upon too often in the past. It’s a breakthrough and I thoroughly recommend it.”
“Rose’s Will is an amazing book. It’s well and thoughtfully written, and the story itself is fascinating. The language is precise and colorful. It’s extremely funny, evokes a flurry of feelings and questions, and also great empathy for the protagonists. For a first book, this is a knockout! I am certain many people will thoroughly enjoy this book.”