#Book Review # What Rose forgot by Nevada Barr

In New York Times bestselling author Nevada Barr’s gripping standalone, a grandmother in her sixties emerges from a mental fog to find she’s trapped in her worst nightmare

Rose Dennis wakes up in a hospital gown, her brain in a fog, only to discover that she’s been committed to an Alzheimer’s Unit in a nursing home. With no memory of how she ended up in this position, Rose is sure that something is very wrong. When she overhears one of the administrators saying about her that she’s “not making it through the week,” Rose is convinced that if she’s to survive, she has to get out of the nursing home. She avoids taking her medication, putting on a show for the aides, then stages her escape.

The only problem is—how does she convince anyone that she’s not actually demented? Her relatives were the ones to commit her, all the legal papers were drawn up, the authorities are on the side of the nursing home, and even she isn’t sure she sounds completely sane. But any lingering doubt Rose herself might have had is erased when a would-be killer shows up in her house in the middle of the night. Now Rose knows that someone is determined to get rid of her.

With the help of her computer hacker/recluse sister Marion, thirteen-year old granddaughter Mel, and Mel’s friend Royal, Rose begins to gather her strength and fight back—to find out who is after her and take back control of her own life. But someone out there is still determined to kill Rose, and they’re holding all the cards.

(from the Book Blurb)

My thoughts:

What Rose Forgot is an extremely entertaining action-packed mystery. I fell in love with Rose’s dry self-deprecating sense of humour from the very first scene. Rose wakes up in a wood and has no idea how she ended up in the place. has there been an accident? Then why is she wearing a hospital gown, and most importantly, why is she struggling to clear her mind from its foggy state? Two teenage boys find and report Rose to a nursing home nearby and we quickly understand that not everything is as innocent as it seems to be. The orderlies drag the poor lady, the relatives (whose names escape Rose) seem to be really angry, to say nothing of the home managers. Rose cannot remember being committed to this secure unit and she doesn’t believe herself demented. Could she have been drugged? Rose pretends to take her medication and then hides her daily dose stash in a drawer of her cabinet. Slowly and painfully, the fog begins to clear away, while she is continuing to behave as if nothing has changed. When she hears two voices saying that she won’t last this week, Rose knows her life is in imminent danger and hatches an ingenious escape plan. Once out, Rose can count on very few people, partly because she still doesn’t know who exactly wishes her harm to the extent of hiring a hitman, and partly because the kind soul she is, she doesn’t want to risk the lives or freedom of people she loves.


The character of Rose is absolutely adorable. I might forget the exact details of this intricate plot, but I definitely won’t forget its feisty protagonist, an eccentric artist, a Buddhist and a doting grandmother. Rose and her sidekicks- her recluse sister/ hacker Marion, wonderfully practical and elusive, and Mel, Rose’s thirteen-year-old granddaughter, make an excellent team.


I believe the charm of this book lies in Rose’s attitude to the events . The comments and opinions she voices in her head are hilarious. She is both humble and resilient, and won’t go down without a good fight.


The pace is really fast and the author makes sure there is never a dull moment. The events are, of course, far-fetched, but the book is well-written and the protagonist is so endearing in all her kookiness, that you will readily suspend your belief and keep turning pages.


The big issues touched in the book- ageism and extended family relationships- are serious and need to be discussed more often. This light and funny read is quite insightful, without losing its entertainment value.
Thank you to Edelweiss and Minotaur/ St.Martin’s Press for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

  • Have you read What Rose forgot or is it on your tbr list? Have you read other books by Nevada Barr?

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14 Comments

  1. Sounds like a bit of gaslighting, then a hunt to kill her, but why? Love the sound of this! I hadn’t come across the author before either so I’ll make a note and this to my TBR. It’s the sign of a good book when the author can breathe life into a character so well and I like the idea of Rose having a good sense of humour, too. Neat review!
    Caz xx

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve recently seen this book and its descriptions a few times, but didn’t know more than that. I was actually worried about how the main character would be portrayed, but from what you’re describing it appears that I shouldn’t have been concerned and sounds like a really good book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! This was my first book by Nevada Barr and I just loved her sense of humor and writing style. I’m definitely going to read her previous work. Hope you like Rose as much as you did her other characters 🤗

      Like

  3. I am familiar with Nevada Barr and have a few of her older books on my shelf, but had not heard of this book. Rose sounds like a character that I would love to know. A feisty older woman, that could be me, although I hope my family have no reason to lock me up. 😄 Wonderful review Toni and I have definitely added this one to my TBR.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Carla! When I requested this book, I had no idea it was going to be so entertaining. I’m sure you have wonderful family who do appreciate your feisty spirit and kindness. Can’t wait to read your review of this one!

      Liked by 1 person

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