A winter rose scarfed in snow, pushing through a seam of stone. That was the picture that I clung to as I began pouring out the story for my latest novel.

As our world was wrestling through the pandemic, this rose in my mind—an exquisite, determined, seemingly fragile flower—was undaunted by the wind and cold. It kept growing in spite of the storms, unwavering in its stand against the elements. And the simple strength of it filled me with hope.

During the pandemic, I wanted to—needed to, really—search for beauty in the brokenness of life. As I began writing my book, I invited readers to summit the most difficult of mountains with me, in the most arduous of conditions, and see what we could find together on our journey.

We’ve all faced impossibilities over the past two years. Most of us have experienced the deep loneliness that comes from isolation and grieved milestone events as we’ve missed celebrating with family and friends. Many of us felt excruciating pain as we lost loved ones and livelihoods and often our own health, all while tumbling through the emotional turmoil of the unknown.

That’s where I wanted to go in this story. Not into a pandemic—we’ve already been there—but I wanted to step into the hardest of places and find the beauty growing there. Discover the miracles, God’s gifts, among the stones.

During the COVID crisis, I spent time each week writing down the things that brought joy into my life. Even though it was easy to ruminate over the difficulties, I discovered that it was hard for me to remember the many roses growing in the midst.

As I struggled to mentally unwrap the gifts in my world, the most wonderful thing started to happen. I began looking for roses everywhere! And as I searched for them, words of thankfulness flowed from my pen. I recorded dozens and then hundreds and finally a thousand God gifts. While I still saw the boulders in my path, I also saw the flowers. And some days, when I was focused intently on the roses, the stones in my mind faded away.

The Winter Rose eventually became the title of my novel, and the story is all about restoring and repurposing the brokenness in our life into something beautiful. It’s about discovering God’s goodness in the midst.

My heart is overflowing today as I remember how God loves to give gifts to His kids. I’m so thankful to be on this journey along the rugged path of life with Him.


Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of more than twenty historical romance, suspense, and time-slip novels. Five of her novels have won Carol Awards; Catching the Wind and Memories of Glass were nominated for a Christy Award in the historical fiction category; Catching the Wind won an Audie Award in the inspirational fiction category; and The Black Cloister won the Foreword magazine Religious Fiction Book of the Year. Melanie is the former corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family and owner of the publicity firm Dobson Media Group. When she isn’t writing, Melanie enjoys teaching both writing and public relations classes. Melanie and her husband, Jon, have two daughters and live near Portland, Oregon.

For more information about Melanie, visit her website and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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