The Rose Variations
Soho, Feb 2009, $24.00
In 1975, following her graduation at a Philadelphia school in which she was the only female in her class, twenty-five-year-old Rose MacGregor accept a temporary position as the token “Girl Composer at a St. Paul, Minnesota college. She arrives with almost nothing beyond a few T-shirts and her cello. Her only feminist ally in the music department is the secretary Frances Dupree.
She dreams of becoming a famous composer and finding true love; having spent her pre-graduate days growing up in New Hampshire and taking care of her younger sister Natalie. Rose blossoms in St. Paul as she falls in love although the romance ends sadly. She joins cellist Lila Goldensohn’s all-female musical group and enjoys her time on her mentor’s farm composing. That ends abruptly when a despondent pregnant Natalie arrives. After doing what comes naturally which is taking care of Natalie, Rose’s music thrives while she continues her quest for love.
This is an enjoyable historical character study that takes the audience back to the early days of the feminist movement; affirming we have come a long way baby; if you have doubts look at sports with women dunking. The story line is owned by the appealing Rose who seeks musical accomplishments in her professional life and an interesting combination of self sufficiency with a love of a lifetime. Her eccentricity that flourishes with growing confidence due to her musical achievements make for an engaging tale in which the late 1970s have become historical.