The Yellow Rose: A Novel of the Texas Revolution is a wonderfully crafted piece of historical fiction. Typically, I do not read a tremendous amount of historical fiction unless there is an element of romance, and The Yellow Rose provided just enough to keep me interested not just for the first read, but for a second, as well.
The first thing that I must (absolutely must) comment on is the eloquent way in which the story is written. It is apparent that each word was chosen with care. The outcome? A beautifully written piece. Period. The words flowed through the pages, weaving in and out of story lines, creating a highly entertaining piece. Brush and Stewart are quite talented in this respect.
In addition, the characters are true to their namesakes and appear highly accurate. They are complex in their development and hold true to their motivations. I really felt that Brush and Stewart were able to create each character with multi-dimensional facets. Nothing fell flat. The dialogue was intriguing and spot on. It was true to the character’s personalities, never wavering, which I find to be refreshing. It was especially nice to have a strong, independent female character who struggled with her own demons while trying to help others deal with theirs.
Which brings me to the romance. The romance of Sam and Emily is beautiful, sad, complicated and, at times, torturous. I just wanted them to be together so bad even though history hints that it was not going to happen. Brush and Stewart just really twist the knife with this one. They create this wonderfully believable romance, with a build up that takes you through the deep feelings and emotions of both characters, and then stay true to what we know is the history. There was no way that Emily and Sam would ever be together… I knew it, I just didn’t want to believe it. But, hey, I’m a hopeless romantic.
Anyway, the story ends in a way that I did not like, but I really appreciate how a brief background of the historical characters is added at the end of the novel making me accept that this was how it was supposed to be. I suppose it kind of “talked me down” after being disappointed.
“If you didn’t like the ending, how can you give this novel five stars?” you ask.
Well, in addition to being a hopeless romantic, I am also a glutton for the tortured romantic. I didn’t like the ending, but not all things have happy endings and what made me not turn my back to this book was the way in which Brush and Stewart handled the let down. Until the very last page, the characters were true to their souls and the story was true to what we know of the history.
The Yellow Rose made me believe that this story could have very well happened, and in my opinion, that is the true indicator of a really strong historical fiction.