Brown Roses (Book Review)

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the ebook from the author. Opinions conveyed are my own.

  • Author: Tope Omotosho
  • Leverage Publishing
  • Available Now
  • Synopsis: Brown Roses follows Erinma, the CEO of a popular cosmetic company, and Andrew, a single dad and founder of a taxi company, as the Lord leads them to healing and new relationships.

Scripture Connection

And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Isaiah 58:11

Omotosho includes a quote before the start of the book: “We are the garden, and our Father is the Gardener.” This put me in mind of John 15, but when I googled verses about God as gardener, the Isaiah 58 Scripture seemed even more fitting. As the novel’s title suggests, plants also play a pretty big role in the novel, which features themes of healing and renewing.

Spiritual Themes

Redemption, forgiveness and identity in Christ are big themes. The main characters pray and seek the Lord’s will, and there are numerous instances of God speaking directly to them. These moments are full of grace, hope and security in Jesus. Awesome!

There’s a beautiful, evangelistic scene of personal connection with Jesus’ sacrifice. This was a meaningful moment in the story AND the author follows it up by including the sinner’s prayer, in the Author’s Note at the end of the book. I do feel that having such a prayer attached to a meaningful work makes more sense than many sermons. Rather than feeling “preached at,” I have walked with a character, through her testimony.

What I Liked

I both enjoyed and appreciated Erinma’s characterization as the CEO of a very successful cosmetic company. I’ve now read two books by this author, and both times, the characters had interesting jobs. Although I rarely wear make-up, it was fun to read about the latest products that Erinma was launching at Proud Belle. Moreover, I really liked that the company specifically targeting Nigerian women with darker complexions. I’m interested in whether this company is based on an existing one, since I think this is such a meaningful, necessary concept.

On a similar note, I appreciated that Erinma’s work in the makeup industry also brought forth discussion about beauty. Referring to the company, Erinma writes, “We don’t make you beautiful, we show how beautiful you are.” At the same time, the emphasis is not just on external beauty. There are multiple moments that emphasize identity and worth in Jesus. These are some of the key pages I bookmarked 🙂 Additionally, the romance is not exclusively based on physical appearances.

God’s healing work in Erinma’s life is so beautiful! I don’t want to give away the actual wording of the book, since one page in particular is so good, but there is some awesome, empowering, truthful content here. The forgiveness emphasis was also heartfelt and meaningful.

I liked the side characters, especially Isi. It was refreshing to read about her walk with the Lord and her strong commitment to purity and waiting on Him. I also liked that Isi felt like a more “normal” character, amidst the many rich (and royal) characters. I’m also interested to read more about Odavwaro. And, it’s refreshing to see these friendships where the ladies point one another to Jesus. This is encouraging and a good example of uplifting fellowship in the Lord.

The romance was very sweet and I enjoyed it more than I often enjoy romance plots!

As with the first book, this one had plenty of Nigerian dialect infused, throughout. There’s also a glossary at the end of the book. However, most of the phrases were reasonably decipherable, in context. For non-Nigerian readers, this is a fun foray into the culture. Plus, it’s an OwnVoices representation by a Nigerian author.

In contrast with the other book I read by this author, Brown Roses did not have such a strong emphasis on the need to get married, as a life goal. As a single person, I really appreciated that. Additionally, intimacy with Jesus is a significant theme (and one of my favorite themes, in general).

Content Notes

This book is a bit heavy on “content,” although there is not one large, overarching theme that makes me feel uncomfortable reviewing the title.

  • There are a few uses of the Lord’s name/variations, aside from prayer
  • I remember two times when women in relationships comment on the attractiveness of a man they are not dating
  • In terms of romantic content, there are multiple kissing scenes, as well as references to characters being intimate with one another. Overall, these references are in passing and they are not depicted in a positive way. With that said, I was a bit grossed out by the prologue, based on the language in the kissing and slightly stronger allusions to sex. For this reason, I’m doing what I did in another recent review, and including a summary of that little section below, just in case anyone decides to skip it. Below that is another spoiler-y content note.
  • SPOILER SUMMARY OF PROLOGUE: Andrew is in a romantic relationship with TJ, who is ten years his junior. Andrew’s friends and family (including Aunty B, who he and TJ live with) are not supportive of the relationship, nor is TJ’s wealthy father (who offers to pay Andrew to stop seeing her daughter). Andrew is possessive of TJ . When TJ becomes pregnant, Andrew proposes to her and she rejects him, confessing that she actually only dated him to get his best friend’s attention.
  • SPOILER #2: Erinma learns that her boyfriend has been cheating and reads some sensual text messages.

Respectful Discussion

I felt a little strange about the foundation of a certain relationship in the book, with it being based on the characters encountering each other when one of them is feeling sad. As a result, I was concerned that one character was trying to “save” the other. With that said, the author made it clear that, ultimately, God was the one doing the saving.

Recommendation Status

This is a book I’d recommend with reader discretion. The romance was fun, but more importantly, the messages were strong and pointed back to Jesus– and intimacy with Him. Overall, an entertaining, encouraging and meaningful read.i

Published by Stephanie Agnes-Crockett

Hi, there! My name is Stephanie and I’m a Fresno, CA native. After studying at Biola University, I received my MLIS (Masters in Library Science) from San Jose State University. I live with my mom, poet Kimberly Vargas Agnese, and serve as her unofficial agent. We reside at MeadowArc, a food forest in its infancy. I am called to, and passionate about, purity. In fact, the name Agnes means “pure.” Before I was born, my mom felt led to include the name Agnes in her name, and in the names of her children. My full, hyphenated name includes 26 letters (but not the whole alphabet).

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