What Rose Forgot Discussion Journal

Our discussion of What Rose Forgot by Nevada Barr was pretty straight forward. We didn’t talk much about themes, language or writing. Our small size made the discussion easier, and we all seemed to find the story engaging at least, even if Rose’s escape, battle on the roof and in the garage seemed unbelievable. We talked about the humor in the book, enjoyed the characters – the diet-cola drinking nurse, the granddaughter, the sister, the friend, the would-be assassin. Echoes of comments I had heard by email or in person.

Our first responder found What Rose Forgot to be the most enjoyable book club read WhatRoseForgotCoversince The Rosie Project. Our next found it engaging enough for her to want to get to the end, but it was too descriptive, the unrealistic battles of our heroine going on too long. Another found it far-fetched but humorous. A new member was disappointed by the ending, feeling it had been rushed.  Another thought it was an unusual book and mystery. He also thought some scenes were too descriptive, but he didn’t think Rose was old at 68 and found her roof-top escapade to be possible if not probable. Still another thought it started off slow but she ended up liking it enough to try out one of the author’s park ranger mysteries.

Even in our masks, we laughed about a knife so sharp that it could cut a finger off through a glove. One of us had listened to the audiobook and didn’t find it slow or too descriptive. She said that the beginning was like a horror story. She also shared that the author was born in Yerington, Nevada and had worked as an actor and a park ranger. In the midst of this discussion, we looked for comparative stories— Miss Marple and Agatha Raisin or The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules and Stephanie Plum.  We talked about vulgar language and obligatory sex in modern fiction. We discussed other books we have read and recommend.

Although I spend my working days at the library wearing a mask, talking through my home-made mask felt awkward, like talking with cotton in my mouth, but no one complained. We were a group of seven. Five months since our last, the meeting felt both exhilarating and sad. Any other year, we might have had a small group simply because of summer vacation or heat or disinterest. We started out socializing, and it didn’t feel as difficult as I had imagined—even in a normal meeting, some members would be twelve feet away from others.

But it wasn’t a normal meeting.  I know that many more wanted to attend and had shared their comments with me.  One of us attends book clubs around the valley and is frustrated that some may not be able to restart. I hope that we will be able to begin a virtual book club to include more of us. If you haven’t tried out virtual meetings, they can be highly satisfying when it is not possible to get out. Consider getting a family member or friend to read with you. And then share it with us! So, I hope you will keep reading with us and sending me your comments. I look forward to them!

For some comments from some of us who couldn’t attend:

  • R.M.P.:“Previously I said that Nevada Barr was one of my favorite authors;   All of her books that I have read previously were from her series with Anna Pigeon, a National Park Ranger who was kept busy solving mysteries in various National Parks throughout the US.   What Rose Forgotis a bit different.  Sorry to say I was able to read/listen only as far as chapter 14 before I lost interest in the story and gave up in frustration;  Read/listened to the last chapter and the epilogue to determine it did have a happy ending (I think).”
  • M.M:  “I enjoyed the book, and here are my answers to the questions on the flyer:— I didn’t really identify with any of the characters. If any, Mel would be the closest because of her sense of adventure, but I am nowhere near as brave as she is.

    — I found the storyline and most of the characters believable, although Rose on the roof of her house successfully fighting off her attacker was a bit of a stretch! I also have to scratch my head over Chuck’s help calling attention toward the end. It all made for good fun and excitement, though.

    — I’m not sure what a traditional mystery is. There have been so many mystery writers Over the years who have their own style, but I don’t know which is traditional.

    — It was a compelling read. It was easy to get into the book right from the start. I was interested to see how events would play out throughout the story.

    — I didn’t notice anything left unexplained. Maybe I would have if I reread it…

    — The author could make a series with Rose, her sister, Marion, her “granddaughter, “ Mel, and Mel’s friend, Royal, and maybe even Mel’s dad, Flynn.

  • M.R.:  “What did you find believable or not?I almost quit reading during the description of the hired killer on the roof. I thought she was hallucinating-it was unbelievable.  

Finding her way to her son’s house when she escaped the first time was hard to believe as well.

The scene at her home when she was trapped and injured but still managed to escape was hard to imagine as well.

Her relationship with the hitman was curious.

Was it a compelling read? Why or why not? It was compelling because she kept saying she wasn’t done yet.  She sure had a lot of ideas!

I enjoyed the book.”

  • P.M.: “I didn’t find the roof-top scene to be unbelievable. I thought that Chuck and Rose would get together. What a surprise that he was a judge and went back to his wife! I thought the thug was believable. More like a real person instead of as a crazy stereotype.”
  • D.C.: “What a crazy and ingenious lady Rose is!”
  • K.P.: “Enjoyed the book.”
  • C.H.: “I enjoyed What Rose Forgot.”


  • The biggest bluff: how I learned to pay attention, master the odds, and winby Maria Konnikova
  • Caste: the origins of our discontentby Isabel Wilkerson (2020)
  • The warmth of other suns : the epic story of America’s great migrationby Isabel Wilkerson (2010)
  • China Bayles cozy mystery seriesby Susan Wittig Albert (herbs)
  • City of girlsby Elizabeth Gilbert (2019)
  • Gaslight mysteriesby Victoria Thompson (turn of the 20thCentury New York)
  • Lilac girlsby Martha Hall Kelly (2017)
  • The little old lady who broke all the rulesby Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg ; translated from the Swedish by Rod Bradbury (2016)