Pondathon II: A New Companion Quest! Let’s Grow Roses with Racquel Marie

In the book Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie, the main character Ophelia is a rose gardening extraordinaire who assigns different rose breeds to each of her best friends. For this Companion Quest, Racquel has invited us to design a rose that represents our favourite book.

The rose could be a drawing, a poem, a detailed description – well, I can’t draw, so…!

My rose grows wild on the highways and byways, ways and vales, shining lakes, haunted woods and lovers’ lanes of Prince Edward Island, off New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

It is a hardy breed that can grow in adverse conditions and survive chilly ground, but it thrives best with just a little warmth and care. The flowers retain the fresh bloom of innocence and youth throughout the plant’s natural life and are therefore a popular choice for brightening the drabbest of spare rooms.

The flower shape resembles a puffed sleeve, as you might see on more modern and stylish dresses, and the rose comes in only one colour variety, described variously as orange, russet, ginger or auburn. The petals are quite sensitive and can wilt if proximate to certain root vegetables, or conversely, this arrangement may cause the plant to grow thorns that are usually absent from this variety. I would therefore strongly advise you keep these roses away from carrots, unless you are content to be repeatedly and sharply prickled!

Similarly, the colour is immutable, despite chemical efforts to the contrary, so if you are not fond of the autumnal shading, it would be best to avoid this variety completely, as all attempts to alter the hue of the petals have resulted in mere greenery, with no hint of the desired colour.

Other than these minor difficulties of temperament, these roses are one of the most delightful and enduring varieties to be found anywhere, with a sweetness that can win over the most obdurate, ornery souls to their charms. Kindred spirits who are therefore hoping that the variety would be named with the whimsy and scope for imagination that reflect these qualities will be doomed to the depths of despair, as the original breeder has chosen to go with plain ‘Anne Rose’ over something more elegant (Cordelia Rose, maybe?).

However, one should keep in mind the old saying about a ‘rose by any other name’… just don’t forget that all-important, final ‘e’!

Anne of Green Gables book series by L. M. Montgomery

Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie

Blurb: A teen girl navigates friendship drama, the end of high school, and discovering her queerness in Ophelia After All, a hilarious and heartfelt contemporary YA debut by author Racquel Marie.

Ophelia Rojas knows what she likes: her best friends, Cuban food, rose-gardening, and boys – way too many boys. Her friends and parents make fun of her endless stream of crushes, but Ophelia is a romantic at heart. She couldn’t change, even if she wanted to.

So when she finds herself thinking more about cute, quiet Talia Sanchez than the loss of a perfect prom with her ex-boyfriend, seeds of doubt take root in Ophelia’s firm image of herself. Add to that the impending end of high school and the fracturing of her once-solid friend group, and things are spiraling a little out of control. But the course of love–and sexuality–never did run smooth. As her secrets begin to unravel, Ophelia must make a choice between clinging to the fantasy version of herself she’s always imagined or upending everyone’s expectations to rediscover who she really is, after all.

 About the Author

Racquel Marie received a BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing and a minor in gender and sexuality studies from the University of California, Irvine. You can learn more about her writing and love of books through her Twitter, @blondewithab00k. Ophelia After All is her first novel.

Find Racquel on: Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Ophelia After All releases on 15th March 2022; you can pre-order it here!

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