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Wild Roses    by Deb Caletti order for
Wild Roses
by Deb Caletti
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

After a tempestuous affair, Cassie Morgan's mother marries world-renowned violinist Dino Cavalli. Dino is both crazy and a genius. When he decides to revive his career by composing new music and agreeing to put on a long awaited concert, things go from bad to worse. Living with him changes Cassie's life, just as a tornado changes a landscape.

Dino is always erratic, egotistic and bullying. Now he is also paranoid, unable to sleep, and chain smokes instead of eating. Cassie's mother, Daniela, who is in constant contact with Dino's doctor, has become more of a keeper than a wife. Daniela explains that Dino has gone off his medication so that he can compose. Everything will go back to normal after the concert. Cassie is afraid they are living with a time bomb.

Dino takes on his first student, a promising young violinist who is Cassie's age. Cassie is attracted to Ian Walker from the moment she sees him ride up to the house on his bicycle in a flowing black coat with his violin case in a side compartment. Dino warns Cassie not to become involved with Ian. Ian's concentration should not be broken while he prepares for a music school scholarship at a highly regarded school in Philadelphia.

Throughout the book, Cassie compares Dino to other self-destructive geniuses such as Edgar Allan Poe who watched his mother bleed from the mouth as she died from consumption, or Hemingway who committed suicide with the same gun his father used for the same purpose. Wild Roses is a love story, and the suspenseful account of a young girl's desperate desire to support her mother and cope with things beyond her control.

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