The Secret of the Rose – Michael Phillips

What’s not to like?

A beautiful German family, a pair of American diplomats, and a mansion with hidden passages combine for good in the face of the chaos erupting in Europe that has since been called WWII.  But the lasting impressions I have from reading Michael Phillips’ “Secret of the Rose” series are as much spiritual as anything else.

Baron von Dortman and his family are kindred spirits, while I wish that their Frülingsgarten was more than an imagined picture in my mind’s eye.  Yet I know that the Baron himself would tell me that the mysteries of life grow in my own backyard as well, so all I’m really missing are the abundant roses.  Ahh, roses!  I’ve plenty enough German blood in my veins to appreciate roses the way Sabina von Dortman does, and I sympathized with her when the Baron says that the Secret of the Rose is something she’ll have to find out for herself.

The most striking passages of these four books, however, are not about the Dortmans, their friends, their home, or even their roses, but about God.  I found myself raising an amen many times as the Baron shared his vision of our mutual Heavenly Father.  Of course, as a friend to Deitrich Bonhoeffer, albeit fictional, I would expect the Baron to hold rather uncommon ideas.   Prepare to be challenged, encouraged, and blessed by your encounters with this saint.

Don’t let the size of these books intimidate you into putting off reading them, either.  Each volume is thick, but Phillips writes in a easy style, and while the spiritual content may require you to slow down and digest, the books are worth the effort.  A final warning: once you start reading these books, you won’t be able to stop.  The story is left only half told unless you read all four books, and each builds on the themes of the last.

So, what is the Secret of the Rose?

Ahh, that’s something you’ll have to discover for yourself!

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One Comment on “The Secret of the Rose – Michael Phillips”

  1. Sister Says:

    I read the first book recently, and now I regret that I didn’t start reading the series earlier in the summer so I’d have a chance to read them all before I go back to college! It is a beautiful book, well-crafted with deep thoughts. Bravo, Michael Phillips! Encore! 🙂


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