Reviews for The Brevity of Roses

Here’s what these readers said about The Brevity of Roses:

Katherine Kramer, freelance writer and editor: 5 stars

The Brevity of Roses is a story about love. It’s a story about loss.  It’s a story about facing truths about yourself that you don’t want to face.

The book is divided into sections and written from the points of view of three characters: Jalal, Meredith and Renee.  Meredith is the first woman who enters his life.  Meredith is fifteen years older than Jalal.  Renee is the other woman, who is seventeen years younger than Jalal and comes into his life later.

Without giving anything away, I thought the author did an excellent job of capturing emotions and allowing us to feel. All three of the principle characters are flawed and they have the annoying habit of running instead of facing their fears.  In the hands of an unskilled or hack writer, these same characters would be annoying, cowardly and spoiled.  Linda Cassidy Lewis’s way with words and characterization makes them sympathetic to the reader because in some way, we can identify with them.  These are all very well-rounded characters.

This is literary fiction. It is about humans and their foibles and faults and the dumb things they do and the lessons they learn.  The characters have changed by the end of the novel. Read more …

Naomi Blackburn, reviewer for A Book and a Review: 4.5 stars

I must admit that I loved this book. It was an intelligently written romance…although, I think it fit more into simply a contemporary genre due to the “moral” of the story being something much deeper than one would find in a traditional romance novel.

As a debut author, I was particularly impressed with Ms. Lewis’ ability to weave an intricate story line while developing characters so rich and deep that one felt they were in the scenes as dialogue was occurring. Even the description of scenery was done in such a poetic fashion seen more in her more published contemporaries.

I absolutely love it when I find authors (or they find me), such as Ms. Lewis, because it is wonderful to find a rock star just beginning to shine and one can say “Yep…I knew her when!” Read more …

James Garcia, Jr, author of Dance on Fire: 5 stars

I absolutely adore serious writing about flawed and scarred characters, written by gifted writers, with romantic or heart-wrenching situations. I just finished reading, “The Brevity of Roses”, which was brilliantly composed by Linda Cassidy Lewis

The first thing that I was so pleased about was the fact that this novel was not about two blond hair, blue eyed people who find love, lose love and then find it again. Like many of the fabulous gourmet dishes that you’ll find the characters cooking and eating, this wonderfully crafted story has been flavored and spiced with culture. It was such a breath of fresh air to fall in love with a family that was so different from my own or my neighbors.

Beyond that, this story isn’t about two people at all, but three. They did not ask to be brought together, but fate intervened and they find themselves powerless to do anything about it. In fact, the three try as hard as they might not to be brought together, but in the end, love has its way.

We have three distinctive characters amongst the three leads, and a vibrant and unforgettable supporting cast that surround them throughout. Lewis’ prose is smooth and effortless. Her writing made me forget there was a narrator involved. I simply felt as if I were in the room with every character, sitting out on the deck with them or running that beach alongside Jalal. I also marveled at the pacing and the quality of the subplots, particularly the storyline involving Jalal and his father.

Lewis may have created the most perfect title for a book ever. In fact, it’s a book within a book, since you’ll find that Jalal used it to title his book of poetry that was inspired by his wife Meredith. By definition, brevity means “shortness of time or duration; briefness: the brevity of human life”. It suits the plot perfectly, but you’ll definitely need to find that out for yourself when you pick up a copy of this absolutely delightful and moving book, “The Brevity of Roses”.

Christa Polkinhorn, author of Love of a Stonemason: 5 stars

Every once in a while, I come across a work of literature, which is not only fascinating, entertaining, and moving, but which touches me on a deeper level. The Brevity of Roses by Linda Cassidy Lewis is one of those books.

The Brevity of Roses is a story about love, the power and beauty of love as well as the fear it can trigger and the pain it can cause. Love is what the three main characters–Jalal, Meredith, and Renee–struggle with.

Jalal, a handsome American-Iranian poet from a well-to-do family escapes a life of drugs, alcohol, a career he hates, and a lot of superficial relationships by moving across the country from New York to California. He finds love and embraces it but when tragedy strikes, he withdraws from life. Underneath the shiny veneer he presents to the world, he is slowly dying. Meredith, an anthropologist, struggles with feelings of guilt toward her former husband which hold her back from giving her heart fully, and Renee, a waitress and survivor of childhood abuse and neglect, falls in love but when it gets serious, her first reaction is to run. But it is the tenacious Renee who ultimately manages to break down the walls Jalal has built around himself and forces him to face his demons, a grief so deep it threatens to undo him.

While reading this book, I was often reminded of a quotation by May Sarton in her book Mrs. Stephens Hears the Mermaids Singing: “Love opens the door into everything, as far as I can see, including, and perhaps most of all, the door into one’s secret, and often terrible and frightening, real self.”

The Brevity of Roses is a carefully crafted, beautifully told story. The characters are complex and believable, flawed but loveable. With vivid descriptions, the author manages to engage our senses, our thoughts, and our emotions. And, without any explicit love-making scenes, she creates a highly charged and sensuous atmosphere.

Masterful debut novel by a talented author. I look forward to more of her work. Amazon only allows for 5 stars. I give it 6! Read more …

Kayla Olson: 5 stars

I had the privilege of reading this fabulous book before it hit publication. Though I read it a year ago, I can still remember entire scenes vividly in my mind. All of the characters are well-developed (Jalal is my favorite!), with great depth and layers. I also loved the setting–a cottage on the California beach.

The thing I most love about this author, however, is the way her writing feels so…purposeful. She’s woven a beautiful story, rich with meaning. It’s not one of those slam-you-over-the-head quick reads–it’s a story to linger in, so you don’t miss out on the more subtle aspects of the writing. I loved this book and am so excited to see it available to the public. Read more …

Kasie West: 5 stars

I adored this book. Linda has a way with words that is both beautifully descriptive and succinct. The story pulled me right in and kept me there wanting more, wanting to find out how Jalal’s life would turn out. The characters are full of depth and wonderfully flawed. This was a book I didn’t want to put down until I finished every last gorgeous word. Read more …

Candice Kennington: 5 stars

I was sucked into this story immediately!! The characters are well developed and the writing is impeccable. The story took me places I could never have anticipated. Linda has the knack for adding twists that are both surprising yet natural. If you are looking for a deep and emotional story of love lost and love found, then I highly recommend this book!! Read more …

T.A. Olivia: 5 stars

This book stirred the soul of a hard-a** dystopian writer like me to tears.

Even though this book is far outside my preferred genre, I found myself immersed in the lives of Meredith, Jalal, and Renee. I’m living proof that a well written story can capture an audience no matter the genre for which it may be aimed.

I’m indebted to the author, Linda Cassidy Lewis, for introducing me to woman’s literature through a believable and well crafted story that was neither trite nor stale. Truly a memorable piece of fiction that takes the reader though a journey of love, lose, fear, and redemption.

As this was Linda’s debut novel, I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next. Read more …

Judy Croome, author of Dancing in the Shadows of Love: 5 stars

“The Brevity of Roses” is an elegant story that quietly dragged me into the lives and loves of its characters. Perhaps this novel appealed to me because love in its many forms—a passionate interest of mine—is the main theme. Both the wonder and the anxiety of sensual love, family love and friendship are explored with charm, poise and intelligence.Jalal, a handsome American-Iranian poet, unexpectedly finds love with an older woman, Meredith. When tragedy strikes, he withdraws from life until Renee, a young woman as wounded by love as he, falls in love with him, Jalal struggles to break free from his pain and grief. His is a struggle we all have to cope with at some time in our lives and that is where the story’s greatest appeal lies.For a debut novel, this story is well-crafted and complex, interesting and deep, without ever being obscure. “The Brevity of Roses” is a fine read by a talented author and I look forward to Ms Lewis’s next novel.

Kathryn Magendie, author of Sweetie: 4 stars

Love, grief, forgiveness, acceptance, familial relationships torn asunder or brought together, marriage, friendship – so many wonderful “themes” that thread through this well-crafted (and well-edited) book. I am not a “romance novel” reader, but found this book crosses over into literary fiction/”women’s fiction” quite easily enough that I kept turning the pages – something I am finding more often with novels in the “romance” genre, lately.
Jalal is the thrust of this book, though there are other points of view presented in Brevity. Readers will want to bomp him over the head, hollering at him to “grow up!” or “be grateful for your friends and family, dang you!” But in that good way – that way that keeps you reading so you can find out how he grows, what decisions he’ll make that affect his life, his familys’ lives (I loved his big family – mom, dad, sisters – they added a wonderful layer to this novel that I much enjoyed), his loves, his poetry.

A fine debut.

Cathryn Grant, author of Demise of the Soccer Moms: 4 stars

The Brevity of Roses is a quiet but probing look at the life of Jalal Vaziri as he searches for love and a sense of peace with who he is. Through the eyes of the women who love him — his sisters and his lovers — I felt as if I was looking into the soul of a man who feels out of place in the world, and found myself longing for him to gain a new perspective on life.

As delicately as a vine climbing over a trellis, the author weaves together a variety of lives, time periods, and personal journeys. The gradual revelation of oneself in a new relationship and the struggle to overcome past hurts are illuminated in each of the main characters, making for a satisfying read. Read more …

Heather H. Simone: 5 stars

Wow!!! I absolutely loved reading Lewis’ debut novel. I found myself laughing, wiping tears away, cringing, grinning as I read this. Lewis’ ability to capture human emotion and relationships is amazing. I loved how she told the story from the three different character perspectives. I grew to love Meredith so much by the point that Renee came along that I found myself not liking Renee at first. But, I grew to like Renee just as much. This is such a wonderful story of love, loss, and renewal. Lewis’ characters come alive on the page and her story telling is so wonderful that I really felt as though I was watching this story unfold on the big screen. I was truly moved by this read and can’t wait to read more by Lewis. I’m already itching for more wonderful words and characters. Read more …

Darlene Foster, author of Amanda in Arabia: 5 stars

A well written book; exploring the nature of human relationships, miscommunication and misunderstandings; filled with compelling, real characters that you can’t help but cheer for. The main character, Jalal, a good looking hunk, a Persian poet and a troubled soul is surrounded by love but doesn’t realize it as he dwells in self absorption and misunderstanding. He is easy to fall in love with and you want him to find true happiness as you follow him through immense joy and incredible sadness. The supporting cast; his delightful family members, the women he encounters and members of his community are well defined also, making this a most enjoyable read. I highly recommend this first novel by Linda Cassidy Lewis and hope to see more from this author. Read more …

Christi Craig: 4 stars

“It was time to stop looking backward. . . . He opened the new journal and its blankness sent a ripple of fear through him.”
~ from The Brevity of Roses

The middle ground. We’ve all been there. And, in her debut novel, Linda Cassidy Lewis takes us back there, to that place of fear and uncertainty, through the lives of three unforgettable characters.

Jalal, Meredith, and Renee have little in common, except that each is tethered to the weight of a painful past and unable to embrace the future. Incidental decisions, like a left turn instead of a right, bring the characters together. Unexplained connections urge them forward, to new life and to healing. Linda gives her readers a well-designed book (she created the artwork for the book’s cover as well!) and a story that will leave you thinking about the characters long after you reach the end. Read more …

Lori Rhaines: 5 stars

This beautifully executed novel reads like no other self-published piece of work I’ve read. It was crafted to perfection and could rival any NYT bestseller. It’s character driven literature that won’t bore you like most others.

Linda Cassidy Lewis puts you on the beach in California with her perfect settings and clear descriptions. You’ll smell the spicy tea and feel the fog as it drifts over your skin.

Meredith is a gem and the epitome of a well-educated woman whom still doubts herself. She’s true to life and true to character. You can’t help but root for her to find love after years of being alone.  You’ll fall hard for Jalal too, and lose sleep in order to follow him through his journey of love and loss. And just when you think there is no happy ending, Renee will surprise you with the strength and courage of a true survivor. With her help, Jalal will learn to survive as well.

You won’t be disappointed in this story. I look forward to more stories from this author.

Rose Mullen: 5 stars

I just completed The Brevity of Roses–author! author!!–what a fabulous book. From the very beginning of the book there was intrigue and a sense of mystery–two characteristics destined to make for a fabulous read.

I read a lot-and I selected this book with a bit of trepidation–will the book live up to the reviews? In my opinion the book more than delivers. The Brevity of Roses is extremely well written with interesting characters and a fascinating plot. The Brevity of Roses should be on the list of all book clubs since this story will provide an excellent read to discuss and investigate.

I sincerely hope Linda Cassidy Lewis will grace us with another novel–clearly she has creative talent and the know how to tell a beautiful story!

Tricia Sutton: 5 stars

I love this debut novel in that it delves into love, relationships, and grief that is not sappy or clichéd. The characters are as unique as the story in which they are portrayed. I recommend this book to anyone who has ever suffered self-doubt, disappointed their parents, or suffered loss. That’s everyone.

Natasha Alexander, author of Just Desserts: Greed. Lust. Tiramisu: 4 stars

The Brevity of Roses is an interesting read by debut author Linda Cassidy Lewis. It follows main character Jalal’s relationship with two women – Meredith and Renee – but, ultimately, it is Jalal’s relationship with himself that he needs to resolve in order to move forward with his life. The characters and their relationships develop slowly and with some depth. I found Renee the most believable and likable of the three, but all characters are well-drawn.

Readers who enjoy stories rich in character relationships will not be disappointed.

Maureen Mullins: 5 stars

This is a book that touched my heart. It has a storyline that so many people can relate to. If you are a person like I am, that when you read a book and you can relate certain aspects to your own life and it can give you insight, then you have found a great author and you really should pick up this book.

I love when the author can paint such a perfect picture for the reader that they feel like they know the characters and when something happens in the story, their readers feel it also. Those are just the type of books that make me never want to put it down and I started the book yesterday morning and could not bring myself to stop reading. I finished it by about 10pm that same night.

My problem now is that I need the author to write another one soon. I can’t wait to read more of her work. BRAVO!!!

Mary Smith: 5 stars

The Brevity of Roses is a beautifully written story about about a man’s journey to find himself and find love! The story shares with us about his life as well as his lovers in different time periods so you honestly feel like you know him and you are routing for him the whole time! I just could not put this book down! Thumbs up to the Author … Linda Cassidy Lewis !!!! I can’t wait to read more of your work!

Jean Lentin: 5 stars

I loved this book!! It took me until the 2nd chapter to get into this book and fall in love with the character Jalal and then I was hooked! This story had multiple love stories that made me want to keep reading, you got to see how the different characters struggled with their past and how hard it is to let go and move on. Jalal’s story is one of strength, forgiveness, courage and love. I didn’t want the story to end. I would recommend it to everyone!! 🙂 Thank you goodreads for this amazing win!

Terry P: 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is about people with very real feelings and how they react to the things life throws at us sometimes. This author has great insight into human nature. I have already bought a second copy to give as a gift. I look forward to the next book by Linda Cassidy Lewis.

Suzanne Conboy-Hill: 4 stars

There are two things you should know; I’m not a fan of romantic fiction so I would never have read Brevity if Linda were not a twitter-buddy. I approached this with some trepidation, but once started, I read over half the novel at one sitting and the rest at another. It had me. Why? Hard to say because I really wanted to smack Jalal for his adolescent self absorption. Then I wanted to yell at the women around him who seemed hell-bent on keeping him that way. But maybe it was because, in my youth, I would have fallen hook, line & sinker for him. Maybe it’s because he was so well drawn that I was reminded of an incident in a café when an equally stunning creature dived out ahead of me and pulled up at the bus stop, offering me a lift ‘to the rest of my life’*.

Perhaps I saw myself in Renee, jealous of her predecessor, and intimidated by Jalal’s wealth and position. The feminist in me hated the family kitchen scenes, the division of labour, the ‘behind-the-scenes’ but not ‘up-front’ cleverness of the women. In short, I ranted at the characters, identified with some of them, yelled at them to avoid the traps I’ve fallen into myself, and growled at their weaknesses and ineptitudes. Now that’s writing! Make me forget I’m reading something I’d normally avoid; make me angry with the characters so that the writing becomes the skilful, competent engine that purrs quietly beneath; get me involved with people whose behaviours make me spit feathers, and I’d say you’ve got yourself an authoritative author.

If romantic fiction is your thing, you will love this. If it isn’t, give it a try; you might find you’ve inadvertently read a very satisfying, well plotted novel that had you involved enough to be hissing at the page. I wonder if, like me, you will still be yelling ‘No no no!’ as you close the book. And on whose behalf …
*I accepted. It wasn’t!

Karin Sandbergen: 5 stars (SPOILER ALERT!)

“The Brevity of Roses” is Linda Cassidy-Lewis’s debut novel and in my opinion a very good one. I found it very hard to put down and therefore finished it in one day.

Jalal Vaziri is living the high life in New York as a financial advisor. One day, after waking up from one too many parties, with a hangover and a woman he hardly knows, he’s done with this kind of life and decides to pack up.

The novel then takes up six months later, when Jalal is visiting with his parents and his siblings in Seattle for the holidays. These visits are a chore for him, because his relationship with his father is strained, to say the least. His father doesn’t agree with the fact that Jalal wants to be a poet and Jalal even thinks that his father hates him. So, as soon as the holidays are over, Jalal makes his escape to Bahia de Sueños (which means Bay of Dreams), where he now lives. Because he’s not fond of flying, he drives back home and on the way there stops at a French restaurant in Coelho. Where he meets a fascinating woman, called Meredith Dahlberg-Lang, who is 20 years his senior and they begin a relationship.

Fast forward 10 years and Jalal is in the throes of grief. Of course, this has to do with Meredith, but the author leaves the reader guessing what’s the precise source of his grief. For a long time the reader doesn’t know whether Meredith has died and what of or that the relationship between her and Jalal has ended in another way.

This is the point where Renee Marshall enters the story. Renee is (once more) fleeing from another bad relationship and a man who is cheating on her. She is done with men and plans on going to Los Angeles to try her luck. But due to car trouble, she strands in Bahia de Sueños, and she decides to stay. And meets this very handsome, but very grief-stricken stranger, who tries to resist Renee. But Renee in turn has her own demons which make her loath to share anything about herself.

I’m usually not into romances, but I liked this novel, because it wasn’t just about love and living happily ever after. Most of all, it was about trust and the lack of it in yourself and others. At the beginning of their relationship, Meredith doesn’t trust Jalal’s love for her, because she’s so much older than he is. Jalal doesn’t believe Renee loves him, because he’s a broken man and she’s years younger than he is.

The characters of Jalal and Renee were well-defined, in my opinion. I had a bit of trouble with Meredith. She came across as one of these women who always take their cue from others, as too much of a people-pleaser. She’s more of an observer than someone who immediately interacts with others. Because of this she remained hazy to me.

I’ve read that other people who have read “Brevity” didn’t like Renee. Up to a certain point I can understand them. In “Brevity” Renee is pushy and stand-offish at the same time. She pushes Jalal out of his comfort zone and makes him talk about his grief, but refuses to share anything about herself. People like that are extremely frustrating.
Sometimes, she comes across as bitchy, a smartass. And people generally don’t like women to be smartasses. I guess that’s why they didn’t care for Renee. But I can understand Renee being a smartass. It’s a way of keeping people at a distance, of not letting them get too close to hurt her. Therefore, I did like her.

Anyway, I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to submerge themselves in a novel and not emerge for some time later. I gave it 4 stars, because it’s very well-written and Linda Cassidy-Lewis obviously cared for the (main) characters in her novel.


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