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The White Rose

The White Rose

Passion, infidelity, social climbing, and one very special white rose weave a seductive narrative in this intelligent and tender novel.

At forty-eight, Marian Kahn, a professor of history at Columbia, has reached a comfortable perch. Married, wealthy, and the famed discoverer of the eighteenth-century adventuress, Lady Charlotte Wilcox, she ought to be content. Instead, she is horrified to find herself profoundly in love with twenty-six-year-old Oliver, the son of her eldest friend. When Marian’s cousin, the snobbish Barton, announces his engagement to Sophie, a graduate student in Marian’s department, Marian, Oliver, and Sophie find their lives woefully entangled, and their hearts turned in unfamiliar directions. All three of them will learn that love may seldom be straightforward, but it’s always a gift.

From the West Village to the Upper East Side, from the Hamptons to Millbrook, THE WHITE ROSE is at once a nuanced and affectionate reimagining of Strauss’s beloved opera, Der Rosenkavalier, and a mesmerizing novel of our own time and place. *Includes Reading Group Guide*
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Genre: Fiction / Fiction / Family Life

On Sale: March 17th 2015

Price: $15

Page Count: 448

ISBN-13: 9781455530816

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Praise

"This excellent literary mystery [unfolds] with authentic detail in a rarified contemporary Manhattan. . . intriguing and beautiful."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Jean Hanff Korelitz's incisive and urbane new novel, The White Rose, harks back to the gender confusions of Shakespeare's comedies while adding some surprising contemporary twists. The book opens in bed, where Marian, a 48-year-old married Columbia history professor, makes love to Oliver, the 26-year-old son of her oldest friend. The couple is interrupted by the arrival of Marian's oafish cousin, but the bedroom farce that ensues when Oliver reappears dressed as a woman is beside the point. The White Rose, a retelling of Richard Strauss's ''Rosenkavalier,'' is really a roman a clef, a sendup of gossip columnists and Manhattan strivers and a paean to professional fulfillment. Korelitz's characters -- charming, idealistic and contradictory -- are what that make this novel so appealing. Oliver, a metaphysically minded florist determined to create a rose that's ''pompous, overblown and incapable of regret,'' ignores complaints from customers that their purchases die too soon by ''taking a position that celebrates the transience of the flower . . . a flower's impermanence is part of its beauty.'' Marian, the author of a best seller about an 18th-century adventuress, comes to recognize that love is but one pleasure among many. ''Scholars know -- or ought to know -- that they are privileged to lead their lives with their books in their groves of like-minded people. . . . Anyone incapable of appreciating the rare jolts of delight that can come from finding something out -- something wild and obscure, buried in history or chipped from the unknown -- ought to be in another line of work.'' Korelitz, who is married to the poet Paul Muldoon, has previously written two legal thrillers, The Sabbathday River and A Jury of Her Peers. This novel represents a significant step forward.—New York Times Book Review