Roses are my favourite flower and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning more about them over the last four years when we moved to our new home. It was with this enthusiasm that I started “Rosa” by Peter E. Kukielski and his coauthor, Charles Phillips. There are stunning photos and illustrations of roses and certainly a lot of facts about them too. However, I found the book to be too detailed on what felt like rabbit holes such as quite a bit of information on Robbie Burns because he wrote a poem describing someone like a rose or a historical review of the “war of the roses” in England. I’d hoped for more rose plant information, directly related to it’s history and formation as a bush and into different flower styles. This was a short section at the beginning. It also spent far too many pages for me on Greek and Roman history.

It is well-written, so I recommend you read the contents and decide it appeals to you before picking it up. For me, it was a three out of five enJOYment scale.

From the back cover:

A beautifully illustrated and unique history of the “queen of flowers” in art, medicine, cuisine, and more

Few flowers have quite the same allure or as significant a place in history as the rose. A symbol of love, power, royalty, beauty, and joy, the rose has played many roles, both literal and symbolic, in poetry, art, literature, music, fashion, medicine, perfume, decoration, cuisine, and more.

In this beautifully illustrated guide, award-winning horticulturist Peter E. Kukielski and his coauthor, Charles Phillips, tell the fascinating and many-layered history of this “queen of flowers.” The book explores many stories from the long association of roses with human societies, from their first cultivation—likely in China some five thousand years ago—to their modern genetic cultivars. It shows how roses have been prominent across time and many cultures, including ancient Greece and Rome, Christianity, Islam, and Sufism.

The book, with more than 140 color illustrations, offers a unique look at the essential contributions that roses have made throughout human history.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from Yale University Press through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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