Waking Rose – Regina Doman

A fairy tale retold

Let me start out with my conclusion, Waking Rose is a surprisingly excellent novel, which I gulped like lemonade in Summer – even though it is the third in Regina Doman’s fairy tale series and I haven’t read the first two. A book is supposed to hold its own and Waking Rose does.

Just by the mention of the title, it is no secret that the fairy tale retold, is Sleeping Beauty. However, Regina Doman gives the fairy tale her own spin and makes it very up to date. Waking Rose is a love story between Rose and Fish, and at the same time, it is so much more. Rose and Fish are very complete characters, each of them working out their personal issues. Their attraction to each other is profound, but fortunately Regina Doman doesn’t drown their relationship is the typical love story/life and death/true love rhetoric that is so abundant at the moment.

Regina Doman’s has dupped herself a Catholic author and many of the other reviews of Waking Rose focus on the religious aspects of the story and its age-appropriateness. I can’t bear the thought of barring individuals – no matter their age – from certain books, but I respect any parent’s wish to protect their children. Why not read books with our kids and discuss themes and/or controversial aspects in order to help them view books as different points-of-view and not necessarily as objective truths.

Personally, belief plays a larger role in Waking Rose than it does in my everyday life, but it rings true to the lives of Rose and Fish – and it represents a life chosen by many individuals. Belief is an existential necessity whether it is religious or not, and it serves as both an anchor and the foundation of our lives.

One detail that I found superfluous in Waking Rose was the reference to Rose’s homeschooling. I see that it speaks to her inexperience and youth, but I don’t see how it makes a difference to her character or the storyline. I understand that Regina Doman has homeschooled her own children and perhaps that is the reason, she decided to include it here, even though the story takes place at college.

One major theme in Waking Rose is the care of comatose patients and especially the ethical dilemmas behind the care of comatose patients. Rose is pursuing the subject for a paper in her bio-ethics class at university, and she discovers that her father also investigated the subject a couple of decade before. It was however so controversial that he decided to drop his investigation and move his family. Without giving too much of the plot away, I can reveal that Rose ends up in a coma (which is just one of the states, she needs to wake up from.) because she tries to uncover the happenings at the local hospital and a nearby long term care facility.

A surprising element to Waking Rose that usually makes me cringle my nose, is that the novel is self-published. My prejudice is that only authors that don’t have a good enough book and therefore can’t convince an established publisher to publish it, choose to self-publish, and in choosing so, the author foregoes professional editorial assistance, leaving a less-than-finished result. However, in this case, I am completely wrong. Waking Rose is a book that possible could make a number of bestseller lists if it only had sufficient distribution and marketing.

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